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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
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St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Service Learning

Service Learning

New Orleans: Spring Break 06

New Orleans

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Nine Eckerd College students and one faculty member traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana this spring break for a week of service in one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.

The group spent their time working with Earl Antwine, who heads a remarkable program called God's Vineyard. The mission of God's Vineyard is to tutor underprivileged students with the hope that they will be able to graduate high school and go on to college. The boys involved not only learn skills for the classroom but also help Mr. Earl in the garden, where they plant peppers for their hot sauce, which they make and sell themselves in order to raise money for the organization. The boys also work in the kitchen where they make and serve lunch to the surrounding community.

We spent our days helping the boys and other volunteers in the garden, weeding, tilling, and preparing it for this year's crop of peppers. We also cleared a fence in the front yard which had become very overgrown since Katrina. Most days our group would divide, with some working to clean out the garden or revamp a neglected house on the property while others would cook massive quantities of food for the surrounding community. One day was also spent making and bottling the hot sauce which the boys sell at farmers markets around the area.

Traveling to New Orleans brought with it many new experiences. We were able to travel throughout parts of the city which are already coming back to life such as Bourbon Street, the waterfront and the French Quarter as well as through places which still remain destroyed. Our last day in the city was our chance to visit the Ninth Ward, the area hardest hit by the flooding. Seeing the destruction that still remained made us all grateful for what we have and also for our ability to reach out and try to help a small part of the community.

View photos from New Orleans

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