Youth and Education

If you're passionate about today's youth, you can make an impact while you're in New Orleans, and these organizations will show you how.   

Caps for Kids

Contact: Kathleen McCulla, National Executive Director

Caps for Kids, founded in New Orleans in 1993, now reaching pediatric cancer patients all across the United States and Canada. Caps for Kids provides celebrity autographed caps for children who have lost their hair from medical treatments. Suddenly, a hat becomes more than just a gift - it becomes a symbol of hope!

Choice Foundation - Exemplary Public Charter Schools

Contact: Lynn Loewy 

The Choice Foundation operates tuition-free, open-enrollment elementary schools in the South Carrollton, Mid-City, and Treme neighborhoods. The schools give their students - of whom more than 90% receive free or reduced lunch - a rigorous academic education that is enriched by a variety of technology, fine arts, athletics, and social services programs. For their work improving public elementary education in the New Orleans Recovery School District, the schools have received awards and/or grants from the U.S. Department of Education, MetLife, and the Walton Family Foundation, among others.

The schools rely heavily on volunteers, and welcome volunteer assistance in almost any form. Immediate needs, however, include: help repainting basketball courts, volleyball courts, and classroom numbers; help developing the school libraries; help in the Esperanza Charter School garden; assistance with annual Book Fair; assistance with annual students' "Holiday Superstore"; and help with administrative filing in the Special Education Office.

City Year

Contact: Melissa Manuselis 
504-561-1290; (email is the best way to make initial contact)

City Year is a group of young people dedicating a year of life to service in New Orleans, as it
relates to recovery and education. We can help to identify opportunities for service and
coordinate activities at various locations around the city, including schools and other
organizations with needs. We do charge a fee per head to cover cost of equipment,
transportation, catering, etc. In addition, City Year annually recruits volunteers for large scale
community service days that celebrate National Make a Difference Day, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. Day, and Global Youth Service Day. For the academic year 2010-2011, City Year plans on
focusing primarily on the needs of the Recovery Schools District.

Homer A. Plessy Community School

Contact: Meghan Raychaudhuri

Homer A. Plessy Community School is an open enrollment arts-integrated public elementary charter school serving children in New Orleans. The school was founded by a group of concerned citizens, including parents and teachers, who, in response to the rebuilding of the public school system in New Orleans, organized to create a diverse public charter school with a mission of developing students who think critically and act responsibly as citizens. While the majority of Plessy's students come from low-income backgrounds, it is one of only four public schools in New Orleans where racial diversity is representative of the City's demographics.

Plessy employs an arts-integrated model to teach all subjects. A curriculum rich in arts-integrated activities has been linked to across the board achievement and retention increases. Plessy believes creativity is a 21st century skill that should be fostered in children at all grade levels and we work every day to foster that creativity.

Plessy welcomes contributions of funding, skilled labor and professional services.


Contact: Alejandro Cardemil

KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in North America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its signature community build model to bring together business, foundation and community interests to construct over 2,000 new play spaces and in communities where they are needed most. Benefits to working with KaBOOM!:
Involve 150 employees or more in a high-impact, engaging and rewarding service day
Showcase the unique philanthropic spirit of your company and its commitment to the communities in
which your employees live and work.
Create proud, loyal, engaged employee teams through a unique, hands-on shared service experience
Strengthen key business and community relationships by engaging elected officials, key clients, VIPs,
community leaders, local media and more to help lead kick-off and ribbon cutting programs
Generate media coverage and create a strong PR story.
Enable thousands of children to be smarter, healthier, happier and more social by building a great place
for them to PLAY!

KaBOOM!'s track record of creating playspaces and affecting social change is reflected in the following milestones:

  • Led 340,000+ corporate, Foundation and community volunteers to invest 2.7 million hours of their time
  • Built over 2,000 new, kid-designed playgrounds through our signature community-build process in the communities that need them the most
  • Winner of the Cause Marketing Forum's Golden Halo Award and the Director's Award from the
  • Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy Excellence
  • Channeled into communities $200 million of corporate financial resources from our Funding Partners

Our done-in-a-day playgrounds are inspirational, results-driven events that our Funding Partners come back for again and again. The community-build process kicks off with Design Day where local children help design the new play space, and adult volunteers from the community begin the planning process. Each week following the Design Day, a KaBOOM! Project Manager works with the planning committee (made up largely of community volunteers, along with representatives from the Funding Partner) to help them organize logistics for the day of the build. This 10-week planning period culminates in Build Day, where 200 community and corporate volunteers work side-by-side to build a shiny, new, kid-designed playground... all in a single day!
These KaBOOM!-led projects are proven models of how building a playground can strengthen people's faith in themselves and in their communities. Not only is a space transformed, but the people who made it possible also change because of the experience - and they walk away knowing that they have the skills to tackle other issues and make a difference in their communities. KaBOOM! It Starts With a Playground.

Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp

Contact: Jackie Harris, Executive Director, Producer

All donations will directly assist the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp - creating a future of Jazz for the World. With an all star line up of alumni, the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp is a pre-eminent jazz education program developing the next generation of Jazz artists and preserving the great American art form. By honoring Jazz in its birthplace and fostering greater appreciation of this art form, our programs provide youth education that develops the whole person raises self-esteem and teaches leadership, teamwork, problem solving skills, good citizenship and respect for culture. 

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC)

Contact: Chentrell Brown, Volunteer Coordinator

The mission of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission is to advance the physical, mental, and social well-being of New Orleanians by providing safe and welcoming environments for recreational, athletic, and cultural experiences.

NORDC offers four types of volunteer opportunities: Athletic Volunteers, Rec Center Volunteers, Special Event Volunteers, and Volunteer Groups.

  • Rec Center: There are short-term and long-term volunteer opportunities in our recreation centers. Opportunities include but are not limited to administrative assistance, program instructing, and program assistance.
  • Special Events: Volunteers are needed throughout the year to assist with seasonal, or one-time special events.
  • Athletic Volunteer: Volunteer coaches serve as positive role models for our youth athletics participants and are needed year-round. Assistance is also needed for game operations.
  • Volunteer Groups: Community members, organizations, or organized groups of 5 or more are welcome to spearhead a specific volunteer project, program, or assist with special events. Volunteers may help clean up and restore parks and playspots.

For donations, contact the NORD Foundation at or (504) 919-6049.

Operation Hope

Contact: Bill Norris

Operation Hope is a national organization that promotes financial literacy empowerment for youth and financial capability for communities. Operation Hope was founded in 1992 and has served more than 2 million individuals. HOPE has also directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to America's low-wealth communities, maintains a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. HOPE Inside is located in New Orleans and provides a 12 week entrepreneurial training program and individual financial counseling to help local businesses and entrepreneurs to launch and grow their business enterprises.

700 Credit Scores Initiative: Instant approval to clients seeking assistance, commit to the resolution of primary credit denial factors, and work to raise credit scores on average 120 points over 18 months of active counseling.

  • Home Buyers Program
  • Foreclosure Counseling
  • Small Business Program

HOPE Inside provides the community with 3 ways to become active within the organization:

  • Serve: Go to to fill out an application.
  • Partner: Fill out an inquiry at if you are interested in partnership with HOPE Inside.
  • Give: Cash donations as low as $50.

ReNEW-Reinventing Education (ReNEW Schools)

Contact: Barbara Schuler

ReNEW Schools provides a rigorous, college preparatory education to historically underserved students. ReNEW transforms the city's lowest performing schools and reopens them as public charter schools serving the same students and families. Our three schools in the Irish Channel Neighborhood and two in New Orleans East have ongoing needs for volunteer groups large and small. Typical volunteer activities include leveling library books, assisting teachers and administrators, preparing progress charts and learning materials, gardening, and touch-up painting. To learn more about ReNEW, visit

Start the Adventure in Reading (STAIR)

Contact: Anne Elizabeth Fuselier, Development Director

We teach children to read!

Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) is a local, volunteer-based non-profit literacy program that provides volunteers from throughout the community to tutor and mentor public school students who need help learning to read and are in danger of academic failure. STAIR's overall mission is to improve the reading skills and self-esteem of lower elementary school students.

Our History

Since its founding in 1985, STAIR has made a difference in the lives of more than 6,500 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students from Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parish public elementary schools. Over the past 30 years, hundreds of community volunteers have donated their time and talents to serve as reading tutors, testers and workday helpers. Despite Hurricane Katrina and a re-organized public school system, the STAIR program has maintained its preeminence as one of the most effective children's literacy programs for participants, parents and guardians, family members, teachers and principals in the New Orleans area.

Our Program
STAIR uses a step-by-step professionally detailed program designed to enhance the curriculum of the public schools. STAIR supplies the students with reading practice booklets, workbooks, and basic supplies such as pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and flashcards; free books and a dictionary also are provided. For many children, these are the only books for their reading level in the home.

For an hour and a half Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday after school (2 and a half hours on Saturday mornings), STAIR tutors work with their students to complete the lessons included in 8 units of reading instruction. The volunteer tutor and child read together, play word games, practice phonics and write stories. A bond is forged between tutor and student, and learning occurs in a safe, nurturing environment. The hundreds of individuals who volunteer their time and talent for this program understand that the single most important aspect of a young child's early academic development is the ability to read and comprehend.

STAIR relies strictly on support from the community. We do not receive ANY government funding- City, State or Federal. Please consider donating to STAIR with either dollars or various school supplies we furnish to all of the students who attend our program.

Monetary donations can be made online at or mailed to STAIR, 1545 State Street, New Orleans, LA 70118.

Supply donation can be made by contacting Anne Fuselier at

  • New #2 pencils
  • New 24 count boxed crayons
  • New 3x5 white index cards
  • New drilled white loose leaf paper
  • New dry erase markers
  • New glue sticks

unCommon Construction

Contact: Stephen Barkan, Programs Associate & Volunteer Coordinator 

unCommon Construction is a nonprofit that uses the build process to enhance learning and empower youth to lead the workforce after high school or college. Since it's founding in 2015, unCommon Construction has hired more than 40 students through it's selective apprenticeship program, in which students from different high schools join a diverse team to earn hourly pay and school credit for building a house in a semester. In the process, youth gain technical skills and transferrable experience in a real world learning environment.

Volunteer days with unCommon Construction are high-energy, impactful experiences in which volunteers spend the day building alongside and under the leadership of New Orleans high school students. Together, Apprentices and volunteers complete a full phase of construction over the course of the day. Your volunteerism empowers Apprentices to lead and learn while creating a tangible, collective impact on their futures and communities. During the lunch break, volunteers participate in various structured and informal activities with Apprentices, for the benefit of their experience and to further engage with youth.

Volunteer day details:

  • Volunteers stay on site from 8:30-4:00pm
  • uCC provides all tools and equipment
  • No prior construction experience is required or expected
  • Volunteers will be trained and supervised on site by uCC's skilled staff and Apprentices
  • uCC can accommodate large groups of up to 40 volunteers
  • All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age
  • Volunteers are asked to stay on site for the duration of the day, including joining Apprentices for lunch
  • Groups can coordinate a catered boxed lunch with the organization or can bring their own.


Learn more through a short videovolunteer FAQ, or recent media here.