Leadership Graduates in New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina

Legacy Leadership Graduates in New Orleans

In the WorldLegacy Leadership Program, I learned, experientially, that giving is a way of life, not a thing to do. I also learned that on levels I can’t always see or touch, I am connected to all of humanity. We are a big family.  WorldLegacy is a coaching company with a vision.  WorldLegacy has leadership  trainings and personal effectiveness programs.  Thanksgiving, November 2005, I had the privilege of traveling to New Orleans with several leadership program graduates to partner up with Operation Nehemiah and continue the work of rebuilding homes lost during Hurricane Katrina. Inspired by the vision and heart of Annie Garic, NC 89 and a New Orleans native, we all piled in a van and made the 16-hour trek to a devastated city. It was a chance to meet, give to, and grow from some members of our human family. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there, and what I experienced was unbelievable. Watching something on the news and seeing and feeling it live are two different things. Street after street of rubbish, caved in homes, boarded up buildings, and black and gray everywhere. Our partner at Operation Nehemiah told us that many people had been separated from their families, lost their jobs, and had money stolen from contractors who had been hired to begin rebuilding. For many people, the outer devastation reflected an inner crumbling–a loss of hope, and a deep resignation. Our team was assigned two families to assist: a beautiful 103 year-old woman named Rose and a family of three: mom, dad, 8 year old son. As we worked, we opened up our lives with each other, and continued to focus our conversation on possibilities: What will life be like in this new house? Given that you have this chance to start from scratch, what will you do with it? What are the lessons of this Katrina experience?  We also had great fun just talking about nothing–laughing, joking, infusing vibrancy into dark corners of people’s houses and hearts. In the trainings, I learned that, at the end of the day, no matter what happens, I will always carry with me my love and the power to interpret life in a way that inspires me and those around me. My team and I brought this foundation with us to New Orleans and made a conscious decision, daily, to connect the people we encountered with their own power to author their lives–giving them, as best we could, the gift we were given through the trainings. We were assisting people to rebuild not only their homes, but also their spirits. Through the experience, we were inspired by their courage and fortitude. A lesson in giving and receiving. Members of the human family lifting up one another to tap into something greater than us. Dawnelle Hyland, NC 19, 31, 38, 50, 55, 89, PhD 1

We Are all One Family–Hurricane Katrina

252_neworl400What NC83 Leadership graduates experienced:

It did not matter that we were not the ‘best’ carpenters, painters, or craftsmen, what matters is that our Neighbors in New Orleans felt loved, appreciated and cared for.  What I learned on this project is that living the commandment to ‘love one another’ creates positive change in the world.  Leigh

My experience of our Thanksgiving to remember is one of joy, peace and unconditional love!  It was absolutely the best Thanksgiving I have ever had to date.  Ann

New Orleans, now my New Orleans, was a perfect experience of transformation for individuals, families, communities and the world – created by a few intentional people standing for empowerment, commitment, trust and love.  Thelma

Although I didn’t have the words in the beginning, by the end of the first day, it was no longer a “project” outside of me with a beginning, middle and end.  It was my life and Rose, Wes, Tina and all those tens of thousands impacted were my family.  Joseph

Margaret Mead put it perfectly when she said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Everyone who volunteered their time, energy, money, and spirit embodied the soul of this quote.   I am in tears of joy and honor to have shared this experience with such giving, caring, loving people.  This world, as dark as it seems at times, can be brightened by the flame that burns deep in each of us. The memory of this project will always keep that furnace burning bright in my soul.  Torin