Livingstone students, faculty and staff helping out in New Orleans
Livingstone College News Service
In a trip that’s the first of its kind for the institution and the brainchild of President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr., 35 Livingstone College students will travel to New Orleans this week for an experience designed to highlight civic responsibility, activism and reward students for being leaders on their campus.
It’s being billed as “The New Orleans Work Project” and will give students a chance to experience New Orleans while pitching in to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, among the worst in U.S. history.
New Orleans native Ashton Language, a Presidential Scholar and rising sophomore at Livingstone, will join his colleagues in Louisiana. The 2008 graduate of Helen Cox High School in Harvey, La., is spending his summer working in Houston for Two Men and a Truck.
Language said he’s looking forward to laboring side by side with his classmates as the college helps New Orleans residents who were devastated by the 2005 storm that left more than 1,000 dead and countless others displaced. He’s also excited about the meal he and his mother, Daphne Language, have planned for the Livingstone contingent.
The students are staying at Dillard University and have an itinerary that includes a city tour, a day of volunteering at The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, a day performing light construction, debris removal, painting and landscaping in the St. Bernard Parish District and Sunday worship services at an AME Zion Church.
Students will have some fun as they jazz it up at the Ninth Annual Satchmo SummerFest, which runs through Sunday. The event, one of New Orleans’ premier festivals, highlights the legacy of native son Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.
Volunteer Coordinator Bebe Williams said organizers look forward to having the Livingstone students work the festival.
Liz Williams, president of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, said the students will help renovate a mid-19th century bar, paint, work in construction and organize in the collections area during their day at the museum. In fact, Williams credits Livingstone students with helping advance museum efforts because their work will allow for the opening of a new exhibition area that has been underused.
During their weeklong stay, Livingstone students, faculty and staff will have lunch with Dillard University biology professor Dr. Ruby Broadway, in an event that will give students a firsthand look at what lies ahead if they continue doing well at Livingstone. Broadway is a 1976 graduate of Livingstone.
“The students traveling to New Orleans have demonstrated strong leadership skills or a potential to lead and will represent the college in an exemplary fashion as they assist people whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina,” President Jenkins said.
“Likewise, they will serve as ambassadors and recruit other talented young men and women to come to Livingstone. It is my sincere plan that this endeavor be only the first of many for Livingstone College and its deserving students.”
Terri Stevenson, director of student activities, said the trip has taken a lot of planning but knows its rewards will far outweigh the hard work required to make it happen. She said President Jenkins’ creation of a “Holistic College” at Livingstone will instill in students a philanthropic spirit that leads them to lifelong giving. New Orleans, especially after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, is the perfect place to start that giving, she said.
Community service is nothing new to Livingstone students, as it is required for graduation. The college’s curriculum mandates that all students complete 80 hours of community service before obtaining their degrees. In Salisbury, students already volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Rowan Helping Ministries and The American Red Cross, among others.