Community service projects help beautify, rebuild homes
A group of AAOS staff members stayed in New Orleans to give back to the community after the 2010 AAOS Annual Meeting came to a successful close. In conjunction with two non-profit organizations—Beacon of Hope and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity—staff members helped clean up and landscape one neighborhood and participated in building another home.
The volunteers’ efforts continued the Academy’s relationship with Habitat for Humanity, a partnership that began after Hurricane Katrina forced the shift of the AAOS Annual Meeting from New Orleans to Chicago in 2006. The Academy was one of three organizations that participated in a program with the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and local hotels that raised approximately $900,000 for relief efforts. The AAOS, the largest of the three associations that participated in the effort, was responsible for generating more than $600,000 of the funds.
Half the money went to scholarships for students in the hospitality industry (See “Fun, food, and all that jazz,” AAOS Now, October 2009). The other half was donated to construct homes for families of hospitality industry workers displaced by the storm.
Beautifying with Beacon, rebuilding with Habitat
The work began on Monday, March 15, in the Gentilly Woods neighborhood of the Gentilly District, a section of the city that was badly damaged by the flooding that followed Katrina. AAOS staff members, as well as some of their friends and family members, worked with representatives of Beacon of Hope to till soil, dig up roots, plant new flowers and shrubbery, level dirt, plant grass seed, and remove debris in the yards of homes, some of which were still boarded up.
“Many residents simply ran out of money and lack the resources to fully complete their renovations,” said Randy Copeland, project coordinator at Beacon of Hope. “Volunteers from organizations such as the AAOS may be unskilled, but they have the energy to provide free labor and smiles to make a home feel like a home again. Replanting gardens, painting the exterior of homes, and performing light rebuilding projects are the things that allow residents to return and live with dignity.”
After completing all the projects with Beacon of Hope, the group began working with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. On Tuesday and part of Wednesday, the AAOS volunteers helped construct one of five homes the Academy helped sponsor through donations. The group’s main duties were to measure, cut, and nail siding onto the house, as well as to frame windows.
AAOS CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE, is proud of the work Academy staff members performed to aid the people of New Orleans.
“Their degree of participation reflects the staff’s strong commitment to volunteerism,” she said. “The volunteer effort ‘closed the loop’ by putting the last of the donations from the 2006 meeting to work.”
AAOS President John J. Callaghan, MD, also praised AAOS staff members who gave their time and energy to give back to the people of New Orleans.
“AAOS member volunteers recognize the efforts of staff to support the Academy’s mission and its various projects,” said Dr. Callaghan. “Their volunteer work in New Orleans was an example of how staff members often go beyond the call of duty to serve as excellent ambassadors of the AAOS.”
Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at email@example.com