Common Ground Relief believes in learning service not Service Learning. We want our volunteers to learn about the issues and people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Our programs are structured to help the volunteer increase their ability to effect change in the future while providing solidarity and support for our coastal communities. We hope that volunteers gain experience, perspective and skills while they are with us.
Volunteer in New Orleans
We are a community-initiated volunteer organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support. This work gives hope to communities by working with them, providing for their immediate needs and emphasizes people working together to rebuild their lives in sustainable ways.
Common Ground Relief rose out of the immediate crisis created by Hurricane Katrina when tens of thousands of residents lost their homes, their possessions and their way of life. In the Lower Ninth Ward where approximately 14,000 people lived and 4,800 homes were located, this devastation represented the loss of a community where over 54% of the residents had lived at 25 years and roots in the neighborhood had resulted in the highest percentage of African American home ownership of any city in the United States. The loss of these homes represented the disappearance of a family’s major asset, economic livelihood and, as a result, their future.
Things you can do on your Learning Service trip to New Orleans
Rebuild New Orleans
Through Common Ground Relief, we have provided a vehicle for over 47,000 people of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer in the recovery of the area. We have gutted over 3,000 homes, provided for the basic needs of thousands of New Orleans residents and founded a, now independent, health clinic and women’s shelter. We meet the residents who need help in rebuilding their flood damaged homes and offer assistance for new construction in New Orleans at our Anita Roddick Advocacy Center.
Through our community gardening program, Common Ground Relief and our team of volunteers conduct soil testing, build raised garden beds for residents, organize local garden clubs, and provide gardening advice throughout various communities in New Orleans. Our wetlands restoration program strives to rebuild the destroyed buffer of wetlands of coastal Louisiana and create awareness of its historic importance to local residents. We have established a tree farm to grow hardwood trees and grasses for wetlands plantings and landscape plants for the yards of returning residents.
Finally, our job training program with our contractor partner is teaching construction skills to residents.
With your support, Common Ground Relief will continue to provide grassroots, environmentally aware and politically conscious assistance to this recovering community and allow us to help this important area not only survive, but thrive.
Thank you for your generous support.