Staff spotlight: Murph

He’s in the flag football Hall of Fame, has worked with the Saints equipment department for over 40 years, taught learning disabled students in New Orleans schools for more than 30, and now, at least for the next year, is the construction manager at Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. Meet Ken “Murph” Whitman, storyteller extraordinaire. But wait.  Isn’t “Murph” normally a nickname for someone named Murphy? “My great grandmother had over 150 great grandchildren,” Whitman recently explained at YRNO’s rebuild site on South Salcedo.  “She had 13 children and then she adopted a guy—Uncle Lawrence—and he lived on the porch, so […]

Community Service from an Intern Perspective

Over the past several months, I have been working with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans as an intern. I chose to work with the organization for several reasons. First, being a native of New Orleans, I wanted to work on something that would make an impact in the community around me. I had heard about the organization back in high school in the years after Hurricane Katrina and had heard nothing but positive experiences about volunteering. The organization has allowed thousands of youth volunteers to get involved with the rebirth of New Orleans. Also, YRNO helps many different sets of stakeholders […]

Guiding Light Leads to New Orleans

The cast of “Guiding Light,” a multiple Emmy award-winning daytime soap opera and longest running daytime drama in history, descended on New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They were more than famous actors; they were the face of volunteering. They embarked on a new kind of volunteer work called voluntourism, where people come to aid the locals and spend time soaking up local culture. And in New Orleans, culture reigns supreme. Brass bands and second lines randomly sprout like wildflowers under the city’s majestic Cypress trees. Fortunetellers and street magicians are a hop away from our famous streetcars. […]

Three Reasons You Should Join Us in Rebuilding New Orleans

If you live in the area, why not join in the effort to rebuild New Orleans? You’ll be joining thousands of people who chip in a few hours once a week or even a whole Saturday or Sunday once a month. There’s no limit to how little or how much time you spend with us, and your strength, skills, and manpower goes towards a great cause! Need more inspiration to join us as we rebuild New Orleans? Check out these three reasons you may not have considered before. 1) The damage from Hurricane Katrina lives on. Though this devastating hurricane […]

Three Unique Benefits of Volunteering

Everyone knows that volunteering is a positive way to spend your time. You’re doing something positive for a person or cause that really needs the help, which in turn makes you feel good. It’s a win-win for everyone, right? Did you know that there are actually a lot of scientifically proven benefits, too? Take a look at these three unique benefits, you may be inspired to sign up today! 1) It’s a great networking opportunity. When you help a charitable cause or organization, you’re rarely in it alone. It’s more likely that you’ll be working alongside others, chatting and even […]

Community Service: The Backbone of America

At just 6-years old, one of America’s greatest minds stood on a Boston street in 1736 peering through a thick haze of smoke and ash to watch in shock as a raging inferno obliterated everything in its path. Lacking the manpower, equipment, and skill set, the townspeople were helpless. They watched, wide-eyed and trembling. By days end, roughly 100 homes were decimated. People clamored for an answer. The little boy, who Americans later learned was the famous inventor Benjamin Franklin, had an answer: community service. He introduced the first all-volunteer fire department to combat future fires, and in doing so, […]

The Nature Of Volunteerism

Deep inside all of us is an innate longing to help others. We see it daily, but if you blink, you may miss it. Kind acts are not always sexy, and therefore are not always front page headlines. But there is no denying the power of volunteerism. But why is volunteering so important? The answer is simple: volunteering is in our nature. Psychologists recently identified six different motives that underlie volunteerism: prosocial, belonging, self enhancement, self-protective, developmental, and career. Like a good cup of coffee that gets you out of bed in the morning, these motives get volunteers working. One […]

Spring Into Action With An Alternative Spring Break

Spring break is approaching and if you’re ready for a new experience, YRNO has the answer: An alternative spring break. Since the 1980s such alternatives have surged in popularity. As students become more socially conscious, they’re realizing the traditional spring break spent lounging on a beach can be unfulfilling, and that donating time on the front lines of social issues is much more compelling. Breakaway, a national alternative break network based in Atlanta, connects such spring break programs with 175 colleges and universities across the country. In 2012, it estimated its alternative spring break members gave more than 600,000 service […]

It’s Hard, but Rewarding: The Top 10 Things you Didn’t Know about Volunteers

It’s hot, the work is hard, and your feet and arms hurt, but you keep plugging away. You wipe the sweat from your brow and take one more deep breath, hammer one more nail and hoist up one more board. The job is almost done. The volunteer organization you pledged to help build houses for was right. The work is rewarding. You smile. The pain is worth it. You have just built a lifetime of memories for a total stranger. Meanwhile, without even knowing it, you’ve built your own memories to last a lifetime. Those who participate in a volunteer […]