Today my group took part in Green Light New Orleans, which is a nonprofit organization that takes out lightbulbs in resident homes and replace them with Mercury free bulbs in order to decrease the amount carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere. Along with the lightbulbs, GRNO puts in small gardens into backyards to takes New Orleans residents the importance of building self-sustaining gardens. This is my second time doing AWB in NOLA and this is probably my favorite service project because it really allows us to interact with the home owners; speaking with them about their life, about their encounter with Hurricane Katrina, etc. It was really amazing to talk to Mrs. Margaret about how she ended up in New Orleans because she fell in love. She said “when you fall in love with a man from New Orleans, you are with them for the rest of your life”. It is moments like these where you really get to connect with the people you are helping out. Also, I was so happy to see Mrs. Margaret help us with the finishing touches of the garden construction because it shows how interested she actually is in invested time to maintain her garden. Overall, I am having an amazing time on AWB NOLA for the second time and am thoroughly enjoying the service projects as well as the pulsing culture that NOLA has to offer.
~ Matthew Kaplan is from Atlanta, Georgia and attend the University of Georgia