In 2016, the New Orleans & Back Community Action Program (NOLA) gave an anonymous survey to recently graduated program alumni. The survey prompt was as follows:
Has the NOLA program helped you in transitioning to college or work? If so, please explain.
Some selected student responses are as follows –
“Yes. It taught me how to be selfless, and how to be a leader.”
“The New Orleans and Back Program was an experience that impacted my life greatly. It opened my eyes to the injustice people face and also sparked my interest in service. Since then, I have traveled to Zambia my junior year and South Africa my sophomore year in college. Even now through Teach For America, I am able to fight against injustice in the educational system.”
“The New Orleans and Back Program has paved the way for me to get scholarships to college. It also gave me better understanding of the word ‘community’. It taught me that whatever impact you make whether its big or small, that you have done something, and made a change in someone’s life.”
“New Orleans and Back helped me grow by understanding the meaning of hard work and how one thing can play a role in many things. It also taught me how to communicate with my peers and people much older than me. This program helped me understand the meaning of respect and discipline.”
“Jobs love to hear about New Orleans and Back once you put it on a resume. More importantly though, it helps you develop leadership and people development skills that will be useful in life. I would not have gotten the job I have today if I wasn’t a part of the NOLA program.”
“The New Orleans and Back program has shaped me in such ways that have enabled me to migrate into college with ease. Due to the background surrounding the program and the assets gained through its extensive curriculum, I was able to use the skills learned through my college experience. This program has also aided me in receiving several scholarships and has been an impressive listing on all applications”
“New Orleans & Back helped me with my transition to college by preparing for the hardest working time of your life. It gave me the best work ethic and taught me to keep going and strive for what I want & what I need. New Orleans and Back showed my that nothing is handed to you but if you earn it you will receive it. That makes me GRATEFUL!”
“Being as though I’m the first person to pursue a degree in my house hold I’ve always had support by being within the New Orleans & Back family. This program alone has pushed me to limits I didn’t know I could explore while also exposing me to broader experiences. Everything that I’ve learned by being in this program has helped me to become a better professional, friend, daughter and woman.”
“It helped to remain committed to any obligation that I make and also that each of us have a responsibility to better ourselves and our community any way possible.”
The New Orleans And Back Program has helped me be more of a sociable and caring person. Being surrounded by dozens of people forces you to talk and to count on each other especially when you’re living together , you have to learn to work through situations because you’re still going to be around them whether you like it or not and you have to look at the bigger goal at hand. I’m more caring because the people that we met where so warm and welcoming and it taught me no matter what that you can overcome anything. I used that as an example no matter how much you’ve been through , you determine your character.
Being able to strategically work on something was what we did a lot in New Orleans and me being a part of the program gave me those skills that’s all needed for college and work.”
“The New Orleans and Back Program has opened my eyes to see that in order to help our community and our country, we as a society must get involved in the decisions that our government makes for us and get involved as activist for communities. In order to do so, you need to have an educational background strong enough as your willpower to fight for others and yourself. To make that difference.”