United Saints Long-Term Volunteer: Phoebe Hunt
“New Orleans has a way of grabbing hold of every last heart string and tugging just enough so that even 2,000 miles away from it, I can [still] feel the reverberations. I could open my door at any given time to echoes of a second line, dirty brass and heavy drum beats. Walking down the block, there was no doubt I would receive a kind smile and a “How ya’ll doin?” [Then turn] the corner to the distinct smell of a crawfish boil [taking place] in a backyard. These are just some of the small pieces of beauty that make New Orleans so unique and need to be preserved.
When I came down to the city, I wanted to help make a difference. [Now] after my three months of working with United Saints, I have learned so much more about my reasons for being here. Being a team leader for projects, I was able to witness growth and compassion in a wide range of ages and lifestyles.
Volunteering is about so much more than yourself or the single project.
Working together with strangers and uniting to create something, even if just for a work day, can bring so much into perspective.
I co-lead the Krescent City Kids Learning Academy mural project which involved designing and painting murals in a large newly created pre-school. It was the most fulfilling job I have ever done. [It] was life changing to realize that children from all different backgrounds in the area would be inspired and learn from the exciting paint strokes on the walls.
Learning first-hand how disasters have affected lives can be a humbling experience for anyone. The traumatic effects of such catastrophes are capable of plaguing great cities like New Orleans. There are a lot of hardships and [there will always be] the chance of another hurricane bringing more devastation & heartache. [However], the youth of NOLA will witness all of it and [be able to] grow in these culturally rich neighborhoods. My hope is that Krescent City Kids will be a place for them to express their creativity and strengthen their roots. I am so thankful to have been a part of that endeavor.
I have endless respect and admiration for United Saints, an organization which understands that able bodied volunteers can do so much for impoverished communities.”