Learn to Build Communities

25 Years With Mt. Carmel Academy Volunteers

This past year, Mt. Carmel Academy celebrated their 25th year with New Orleans Habitat. In 1996, a group of students approached Sue Buras, Director of Student Activities, with a desire for a more engaged, direct community service. After seeing a local commercial for Habitat, Sue decided to reach out, and ever since, Mt. Carmel Academy has sent teams of students out many times each year to help build and repair homes.

The students at Mt. Carmel Academy have kept the tradition alive. “The girls love it. Once they volunteer, they spread the word and more students want to volunteer,” said Buras.

For the students, it’s a learning experience. “My greatest memories are seeing how pleased the students are when they learn to hammer, use a saw, paint an entire house, mix cement, or put-up molding or siding. They have never experienced these types of activities,” she said.

Students’ experiences with NOLA Habitat foster a lifelong interest in giving back and connect them with community members who they may not otherwise encounter in day-to-day life. Experiences with public service and leadership can be transformative, especially for young women, by providing them with much needed boosts in selfesteem and social skills and helping them to think about who they would like to be as they grow up and what role they want to play in bettering their communities.

“Our experiences with Habitat just keep getting better,” she said. “Our students love to serve the community and Habitat is the perfect venue for them to do this. [Volunteering with Habitat] reinforces what they learn in the classroom. We need to contribute to the New Orleans community to help our city grow and thrive. I want our students to be educated not just in academics but the world in general. Habitat helps with this.”