Riverdale Country School has found kindred spirits in New Orleans.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Middle School students organized a dance-athon to help with disaster relief, but they wanted to do more. So the next spring, Middle School Head Milton Sipp organized a group to go down and work.
They went back the next year, and the next, and formed personal connections with community organizers who were trying to rebuild the city. Now, a decade leader, the New Orleans trip is one of the school’s most popular service-learning opportunities. Riverdale emphasizes character education in its mission, and some of the school’s core character strengths – such as grit, optimism, zest, gratitude — can be seen in action as New Orleans continues to recover.
“It’s not us coming in on a white horse and saying we are going to rescue New Orleans, “ Sipp says. “It is really about our humanity towards each other. These are are friends of ours, they are family, they are fellow human beings and citizens, and so I walk away each year from New Orleans having learned a lot more about the people and myself. “