Oasis Community Food Pantry Update # 3

Oasis Community Food Pantry Update # 3

Dear Oasis Community,

It’s happening. IT’S HERE! The Oasis Food Pantry started as a vision to sow into our community and serve as an additional resource to our residents. We wrote the vision, made it plain, pitched our plan, got funded – and pushed forward to the finish line. We’re on the last leg now. Our pantry has been constructed and painted; we’re just waiting on the finishing touches. Soon the Oasis Food Pantry’s signage will be added along with some landscaping for beautification.

The food pantry will house non-perishable food items and small toiletries, free and at no cost to our community. As you visit the pantry, take what you need, but remember to also give when you can. This is a community initiative so we invite Oasis Community residents to get involved.

In closing, we’d like to send a huge THANK YOU to the community partners who helped to bring our vision to life!

▪ Pantry construction – Brian Oliver (Oasis Community Member)

▪ Pantry doors – Acadian Woodworks

▪ Landscaping – Faulk’s Lawncare

▪ Paint – Unique Painting

▪ Pantry wrap/signage – Pixus Digital Printing

▪ Food donation – Seasons the Green Leaf + All4One Foundation

▪ Toiletries – All4One Foundation

Of course, we’ll be introducing the pantry in style! The Oasis Community Board will host a ribbon cutting ceremony this month, August 2022, to celebrate the opening of the pantry. In the meantime, here are a few photos to show the pantry’s progress thus far.

We hope to see you at the ribbon cutting!

In Service to our community,

Oasis Community Board

Humbly,

Team Oasis Food Pantry

Creole Garson Update #3

Creole Garson Update #3

Dear Community,

We have exciting news! We have selected our inaugural class of Creole Garsons and their mentors. And guess what? We have exceeded our goal of 10 garsons and now have 11! Wow! This summer, we hosted two virtual meetings with the boys where they were introduced to most of the mentors. During these meetings their mentors shared a little about themselves and their art disciplines. This year, we have 7 talented and wonderful professionals that are joining us as mentors. These individuals include a journalist, photographer, videographer, visual artist, music producer, creative designer, and dancer/youth mentor specialist!

This Saturday we will have our in person retreat from 10am – 3pm. At the retreat each of the mentors will present an interactive lesson in their area of expertise. The participants will then choose two disciplines to complete an apprenticeship under their mentors for the following months. From September to November, the garsons will meet with mentors 1 – 2x each month. We also plan to complete community service hours and a whole group arts-based field trip.

Our total budget was $3300. Our funds are from 24 Hour Citizen Project ($2500) and The Creole Nutcracker. With these funds we will pay our mentors as they are also operating as teaching artists and must be compensated for their sessions at the retreat as well as the monthly meet ups with their mentees. We are also supplying our garsons with t-shirts. We have recently expanded our budget to $4000 as we had more edits than anticipated for our logo and also have to account for the additional young man joining our program! Our current budget covers costumes for any garsons who may choose dance as their discipline. Their apprenticeship will consist of attending rehearsals and performing as a cast member of The 5th Anniversary Creole Nutcracker. We are also covering field trip expenses for our whole group trip to Studio Be in New Orleans. We hope to still come in under budget by the end of the program. We will work to be much closer to our original budget. Thankfully, Kelsey Sanders of Eat, Fuel, Fleurish has agreed to sponsor lunch for all of our mentors and mentees for our retreat. One of our goals is to convince more community leaders and business owners along the way to contribute their resources to our program and help us pour into the leaders of our future.

In the coming months, our goal is to document the boys’ experience, so that we can share these moments with you all! We also need confirmation from Studio Be for our requested dates. We truly believe in the power of exposure to the arts. We know when a child believes and knows who they are they can boldly go into the world ready and prepared. The arts have the power to do that and so much more.

Thanks for all of your support! Team Creole Garsons

Mad Thinkers Update #1

Mad Thinkers Update #1

Dear Community,

Mad Thinkers are moving and grooving in our process of creating our interactive theatre workshop. We are currently in “scheduling mode,” meaning we are scheduling our writing sessions, and our first workshop with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

During 24 Hour Citizen Project, we met with Danielle Moroux. She is a previous recipient of 24HCP funding and has worked with children at New Hope for many years. We are working side by side with her to receive guidance and input to create a strong foundation for our program. She will assist both creatively and as an advisor.

Once we have our script written and ready, we will purchase sets, props, costumes and prepare to take our workshop on the road! We have a select group of instructors that will be trained and prepared to work with youth! We are on target to reach our goals and are excited to see the project come to life!

Our team would like to thank 24HCP and the community for the support we’ve received. We look forward to fulfilling our goals and serving the youth of Acadiana through our love of the arts!

Many thanks,
Allison Brandon & The Mad Thinkers

Saturday School Update #5

Saturday School Update #5

Dear Community,

As I mentioned during my prior Dear Community Letter, we were happy to announce that we successfully completed the GOT IT (Saturday School) program where we were able to provide a variety of educational programs to juniors and seniors. I also mentioned that we had remaining funds ($2,100) in the budget to spend on educational programs for the upcoming school year. To utilize the remaining funds, we’ve launched the “Building Literacy” program through The EdD Series. Details regarding the program are below:

The EdD Series Presents: Building Literacy
As an education non-profit, The EdD Series works with emerging organizations, schools, as well as stakeholders to improve the quality of education for minority students in low socioeconomic neighborhoods and schools. The EdD Series would like to work with J.W. Faulk Elementary School to promote student literacy and character development through the purchase of a children’s book for all students in grades Pre-K and Kindergarten. In addition to the purchase of the book, The EdD Series would like to involve prominent leaders in the Northside community to read the book(s) to each class as he/she encourages students to read.

The Objective: to increase literacy skills as well as students love for reading in grades Pre-K and Kindergarten.

The Plan: The EdD Series will provide all students in Kindergarten and Pre-K with a book to promote literacy skills as well as character development.

The Book: The following books have been chosen due to their content and reading level. Availability will determine which book(s) are chosen for purchase:

  1. All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold and Suzane Kaufman
  2. I am Human: A Book of Empathy – Susan Verde
  3. I Promise- Lebron James

The Cost: There will be no fee for the child nor the school. The book will be provided by The EdD Series to all students in grades Pre-K and Kindergarten

The Date and Time: We’re currently working out timelines, but will be determined soon by the principal at J.W. Faulk.

Thanks for your continued support, and we’ll continue to keep the community updated as things progress.

Dr. Brandi L. Clay
(Team Lead)

Creole Garson Update #1

Creole Garson Update #1

Dear Community,

It has been a little over a month since we won the support of the backers for our project “Creole Garçons”. And we are still riding on cloud 9! We’re feeling energized, encouraged, empowered, and equipped. Thank you backers, 24 Hour Citizen Project, and YOU community.

The 24 Hour Citizen project happened right in the middle of a very busy season for us. As some of you may know, we are the creators of The Creole Nutcracker. And since August of this year, we have been very busy working on this production. Well on Sunday, December 5th we had our 4th annual performance of The Creole Nutcracker. It was our big return to the stage after the pandemic and it was actually our most attended show!

The Creole Nutcracker 2021 featured 4 young men including our Nutcracker Prince. At the show, we highlighted 3 of the young men and announced the upcoming launch of our “Creole Garçons” program. The exciting news is not only did we raise additional funds for our program through apparel sales but we also received several emails from the community about potential sponsors, partnerships, instructors, and most significantly young men wanting to sign up!

Now that our 2021 Creole Nutcracker program and performance has concluded, we can focus more on completing our next steps to launch Creole Garçons in 2022. Our first step is to solidify our project timeline and programming. It is important that we choose a timeline that works best for our participants’ and our own current commitments. And of course, we want to ensure that our programming successfully meets our goal of educating our young men in as many facets of the arts as possible. Next, we will work to finalize partnerships with youth organizations. There are many organizations in Lafayette that already have the time and attention of young men who would greatly benefit from our arts education program. We will coordinate visits and/or classes with the intention of recruiting participants for Creole Garçons. Lastly, in 2021 we are working to secure male professional artists to teach our workshops and mentor our young men. As three black women, we know the value of representation. Hence, we are adamant that the young men in our program work primarily with professionals who look like future versions of them.

We believe in the necessity and sustainability of this program. We are excited to begin working and look forward to impacting more boys in Acadiana. ART SAVES LIVES! Thanks again for your support!

Sincerely,
Leigha Porter and Jazmyn Jones
Team Creole Garçons