Roughly two days into the start of a new school year, classes were abruptly canceled from what many south Louisiana natives are calling, “One of the worst natural disasters in Louisiana’s history.” As the Great Flood of 2016 vastly inundated many homes throughout St. Helena Parish, some residents are faced with a new reality of temporarily living in a shelter. A local Red Cross representative stated that there are no immediate plans to move flood victims from the Multi-purpose Center that sits right on the Tangipahoa Parish line, but is in St. Helena Parish’s Fifth District. The representative also stated that they have explored the option of hotel vouchers, but did not want to create other obstacles for those who do not have access to transportation to get to work and school.
The shelters population consist of youth who will undoubtedly begin to have homework, and could potentially have other stressors due to their lack of resources or homelessness. Through the use of the Southern University Ag Center’s Youth Educational Support Program (Y.E.S.), displaced families can be assured that the SU Ag Center has Youth Development Agents to meet their educational needs.
“I’ve actually been in talks with police jurors and school board officials prior to the natural disaster about starting an after-school program at the multi-purpose center…Under these extenuating circumstances the YES Program can definitely address some of the immediate needs, like assisting with homework and providing ancillary activities to keep their minds off their temporary living arrangement,” said Nicolette Gordon, assistant area agent.
Gordon will conduct a needs assessment, and will begin building a team of volunteers who will help throughout the duration of the temporary after-school program.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Nicolette Gordon in the St. Helena Parish Extension office on Tuesday & Thursday at 225.222.4136 or via email at email@example.com.