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Student Affairs spreads holiday cheer to St. Bernard Parish

December 11, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans Office of Student Affairs will forgo the typical office holiday party to spend a day volunteering with the St. Bernard Project, rebuilding homes of Katrina Survivors. On Thursday, Dec. 17, 35 professional staff members will head to St. Bernard Parish as part of the project’s effort to move families Home 4 the Holidays.

Volunteers will work on two houses from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. When the work is done, the Office of Student Affairs will host a barbecue for the homeowners with food and beverages generously donated by Loyola’s food service provider Sodexo.

The St. Bernard Project is a nationally-recognized, nonprofit organization that helps Katrina survivors rebuild their homes and lives. Using volunteer labor, the St. Bernard Project takes gutted houses and makes them livable again in fewer than 12 weeks with $15,000 worth of building supplies.

M.L. “Cissy” Petty, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs and associate provost said she contacted the project because it was a perfect fit for her team members who were looking for a way to give back this holiday season.

“Student Affairs’ whole purpose at Loyola is providing a safe, comfortable environment for students to thrive,” Petty said. “Being able to help provide that same type of environment for families in the New Orleans area is a logical extension of our mission, and we are energized and humbled to be a part of the project.”

Allie Wilmes, marketing coordinator of the St. Bernard Project, said it is volunteers like those from Loyola who keep hope alive for families in the Greater New Orleans area.

“The volunteers who are investing their time in our clients today mean the world to both SBP and the homeowners we help,” Wilmes said.

Since it began rebuilding in St. Bernard Parish in July 2006, SBP has rebuilt more than 245 homes with the assistance of more than 17,000 volunteers. The organization has expanded its rebuilding model into several areas of New Orleans, including the Lower 9th Ward, Gentilly and New Orleans East and will replicate these services nationwide for post-disaster recovery.

In addition to the home rebuilding program, SBP has opened a community wellness and mental health center and has begun an affordable senior housing program to address unmet needs in the area.

For more information on the St. Bernard Project, contact Wilmes at 816-248-6486, allie.wilmes@stbernardproject.org. For more information or to schedule interviews the day of the event, contact Catherine Koppel in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or ckoppel@loyno.edu.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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