National Mentoring Month
New Orleans, LA - January 7, 2011 -
In the coming month, Councilmember Fielkow looks forward to the many planned community
events, activities and initiatives including the Weekend of Peace honoring Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day, volunteer opportunities celebrating National Mentoring Month,
and performances by members of a local youth performing arts program.
New Orleans, LA - January 7, 2011 -
As always, the holidays provided respite from our busy schedules and the fuel to begin afresh in the New Year. The sense of purpose felt throughout the City is palpable, from the excitement of the Sugar Bowl to the reflection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. One of the most inspiring ways to celebrate January 2011 is by recognizing National Mentoring Month. TKOP (Teaching Knowledge Of Principles), a nonprofit organization based in Central City, is using this month to raise awareness and create interest in mentoring. Their Circle of Courage Mentoring Program is currently in five schools in the Recovery School District and has demonstrated success in transforming the lives of the highest at-risk youth in New Orleans . I was a mentor for several years, and my mentee became, and remains, an enriching part of my family. I encourage you to participate in the Mentor for a Day event on Friday, January 21. For more information on the event and how to become a mentor, please visit www.tkoponline.org.
Another fantastic boon to the City of New Orleans is The Crescent City Lights Youth Theater. Affiliated with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, the program is dedicated to providing quality performing arts opportunities for young people while teaching them life and job skills. This month, they are performing Captain Louie, a musical based on the book The Trip by Ezra Jack Keats. Set to music and lyrics composed by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin), the play is performed by a 15 member cast of youth ranging in age from 9-15 and representing all five Council Districts. The cast will travel to Atlanta , GA from January 14-16 for the National Junior Theater Festival. Partially funded with contributions from myself and Councilmember Clarkson through Harrah's Community Funding, the competition will be their first national festival appearance. The musical, which is making its New Orleans debut tonight, can be seen through January 30 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. (no shows from January 14 16) at the NORD Ty Tracy Theatre on the 1st Floor of Gallier Hall, 545 St. Charles Ave (click here for map). Tickets are $15 general admission and available online at www.crescentcitylights.org.
An initiative that I hold very near to my heart is the Weekend of Peace, which takes place over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Five years ago I helped lead the first Weekend of Peace which brings together Touro Synagogue and Masjidur Raheem. The idea is to develop interfaith understanding through discussion and community service. The weekend's events include a January 15 community service event jointly hosted by both congregations. Volunteers will serve a hot meal, distribute canned goods and clothing and offer primary health screenings, including dental screenings, mental health screenings and services from the NO AIDS taskforce. Additionally, there will be entertainment for both children and adults, including participation from the New Orleans Hornets as well as music by the Hot 8 Brass Band. On January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, congregants from both faiths will march from the steps of City Hall to the Bust of Dr. King on Claiborne Avenue under one banner, proclaiming "Many Religions, One Community". All are welcome to join.
This week, Gentilly celebrated the transformation of Donnelly Park , which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The Allstate Foundation, which has contributed to numerous park and playground builds throughout the City, was the primary sponsor of this project. Several non-profits contributed as well. The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission provided the soft mat foundation at Donnelly Park . Thus, the Donnelly Park rebuild is a great example of the public private partnership for recreation that was recently formed through a vote of the people. It is encouraging to see private companies, non-profits and government joining forces for the sake of recreation.
These are just a few of the many positive steps that the City is taking to improve overall quality of life. There are obviously many challenges still to be met, but 2011 already holds great promise.
I wish you all a great Carnival season.
Your City Council President,