It’s One Big Gumbo: Lending a Hand New Orleans

D’Youville College has been making volunteer community service trips to New Orleans since 2004. It all started when Rev. Jan Mahle (Associate Campus Minister at D’Youville) found out a there was a need for volunteers, through Father Tony, a former priest at D’Youville. The rest is history.
Today, Lending A Hand is a week-long community service experience that happens at the end of the fall semester each year. The travel group typically consists of 25 to 35 students plus faculty/staff. The trip is coordinated by D’Youville’s Campus Ministry. I’m proud to say that I participated in the 2010 Lending a Hand New Orleans trip, which was an amazing time. Meeting new people and enjoying the New Orleans culture was filled with memories I won’t ever forget.

Lending a Hand New orleans D'Youville College

Cost for Student Volunteers

The cost of the trip is about $350 dollars for a week stay. However, students can fundraise to earn money for transportation, hotel, food, and some recreational activities. When I participated in 2010, I was able to fundraise the entire cost of my trip.

What are the Student Volunteers doing?
When I went to New Orleans, we helped rebuild two houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This year the trip will work on the wetlands because this is a natural defense from hurricanes. Along with working in a soup kitchen, the team will also put energy-efficient  light bulbs in various houses.  New Orleans is pushing to go green in its rebuilding process . In addition the group will be working in a food bank and a shelter for runaways.

More than Volunteering

Beignets from New Orleans' famous Cafe DuMonde

Beignets from New Orleans’ famous Cafe DuMonde

This past year, the 2012 volunteer group was able to attend a Saints game and being in the Super Dome, Rev Jan said was, “amazing.” When I went to NOLA in 2010, I was able to attend an NBA game (for the first time) and I was ecstatic. Seeing Chris Paul hit a game winning shot was exciting.

Remember this trip involves a no-drinking policy. Which in my opinion made for better a bonding experience and allowed everyone to enjoy responsible fun. Something you can also expect is a scavenger hunt in the French Quarter. You’ll also experience the amazing food in New Orleans like red beans and rice, as well as muffulettas  which is a mix between a panini and a sub. Of course you can’t go to New Orleans without getting a beignet, or two or three.

See it for yourself
So if great food, making a positive change, meeting new people,  along with enjoying New Orleans interests you, contact Rev Jane in KAB 120, Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30pm .This amazing trip has about 35 spots available.

When asked what year was her favorite year Rev Jan commented “every year is.” Stating “every trip is filled with memories and stories she won’t ever forget.”




About the author


Major: History/Education
Where I’m from: Buffalo area
When I graduate: I’d like to teach high school social studies.

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