Tag Archives: children

Make a Christmas Wish Come True!

e-_blog-october_lighthouse_christmas_2013_websiteStart dusting off your Santa hats and breaking out the gift wrap! Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans is gearing up for our 15th Annual Christmas Wish Project to spread some holiday cheer to those in need this season. But we can’t do it without you!

How can you HELP? We are currently serving more than 55,000 individuals in need and over 1,000 will not receive a gift for Christmas. Help us make wishes come true by purchasing a present for one or more people in our programs! To see the joy your gift brings, check out pictures of last year’s Christmas Wish Project.

How can you GET INVOLVED? Let us know how many people you would like to adopt and we will send you their Wish List. We have asked those on the Christmas list to choose reasonably priced gifts they most need. Presents will need to be wrapped, labeled and delivered to our office by Tuesday, December 6th.

Don’t have time to SHOP? Make a monetary donation to the Christmas Wish Project by Wednesday, November 30, and we’ll do all the work for you! When entering your donation, please be sure to select “Christmas Wish Project” in the Gift Designation menu.

JOIN THE FUN! Email Victoria King, Community Outreach Coordinator, or call at (504) 486-8699.

Your support spreads Christmas joy! Thank you!

Adoption Helps Families Grow & Blossom

We are proud to share the story of staff member Lori Arceneaux North, LCSW, BACS. Lori serves as the Program Manager of our Adoption & Maternity Services program, and she is also an adoptive parent. 

Lori (left) with her daughter  and husband

Lori (left) with her daughter and husband

“Adoption has tremendously impacted my life on both a professional and a personal level. After working for Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans’ adoption program, my husband and I felt compelled to turn to adoption to begin our family. We soon became foster/adoptive parents with the state. Our daughter joined our family in 2010. We have since adopted her. Through my personal experience with adoption, this has driven me to help other children like my daughter who need a forever family of their own. Currently, I serve as the chair of the Louisiana Adoption Advisory Board, a non-profit that consists of adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoption professionals. We seek to promote understanding and education about adoption-related issues. Also, I’m the secretary of NOLA Hope, a local foster/adoptive parent support group. We support, educate and advocate for both foster and adoptive parents and for children in foster care too.

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Lori’s daughter

It’s been an incredible experience to see my daughter blossom over the last four years since she joined our family. Sadly, there are so many other children just like her in Louisiana that need the same opportunity to thrive in an adoptive family. We hope to expand our family again through adoption in a couple of years. This firsthand experience with adoption has helped me to become a better social worker and to better assist the people we serve in our program. I can draw on my personal experiences to better understand their perspectives and assist them on their individual adoption journey.”

As a licensed adoption agency and a respected pioneer in issues such as open adoption, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans’ Adoption Program has united thousands of families over many decades. We place infants in adoptive homes, counsel birth parents and adoptive parents and reach out to both groups with a variety of helping services that range from crisis counseling for pregnant women to home studies for adoptive couples. To learn more, visit our website,  email us or call (504) 835-3005.

You could be the lucky winner of a 2015 Mercedes CLA250 in our raffle benefiting our Adoption Program! It’s an amazing prize with a life-changing cause. Don’t miss out–get your tickets here.

Donald and Vanessa Welcome Home Giovanni Caleb

After trying to have a child for nearly their entire eight year of marriage, Donald and Vanessa contacted Volunteers of America’s Maternity and Adoption Program to inquire about adoption. Vanessa was familiar with Volunteers of America as her father has volunteered for many years with our agency. Donald and Vanessa were overjoyed when an expectant mother selected them.  Their little guy arrived a few weeks early and had to spend some in the NICU, but is now very healthy. Donald and Vanessa were thrilled to welcome home their son, Giovanni Caleb (pictured left).

Lori Arceneaux-North is the Program Coordinator of the Maternity and Adoption program.  She can be contacted at larceneaux@voagno.or. Please visit our Adoption and Maternity Services page to learn more.

“Porgy” Debuts July 21

Students in Volunteers of America’s Lighthouse Summer School Program will be appearing in the DuBose Heyward play “Porgy” at Dillard University’s Cook Performing Arts Center July 21-23.  Students participating in the production are from the charter schools Lighthouse serves (Medard Nelson Charter School, Thurgood Marshall Early College High School, Pierre Capdau Charter School, and Gentilly Terrace Elementary).

This year Lighthouse is teaming with Dillard University Theatre, Tulane University Department of Dance and Theatre, and the New Orleans Recreation Department to host the 2nd annual Introduction to Professional Theater Summer Camp.  Held June 6th through July 29th, this eight week class provides free theater training and experience to New Orleans area youth, ages 8-18.  “Porgy” will be the culminating project of the theater camp.

The New Orleans Opera opened its 2010-2011 season with George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. “Porgy” is the precursor to the Gershwin opera.  “Porgy” was written by DuBose Heyward in 1925.  The story takes place in the black tenements of Charleston, South Carolina in the 1920s and focuses on the life of a crippled beggar named Porgy and his love for Bess.   “Porgy” was the first Broadway production to depict a realistic version of black life.  The play opened on Broadway in 1927 and was a great success, running for 367 performances.  This is the first time “Porgy” has been performed in New Orleans.

The Professional Theatre Summer Camp continues Lighthouse’s mission to provide character-building, academic support, and cultural enrichment for at-risk youth in New Orleans.

“Porgy” will be presented at the Samuel DuBois Cook Performing Arts Center at Dillard University on Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23 at 8:00 p.m.  Two matinees will be presented for the benefit of summer youth programs.  Ticket prices are $17.50 for the general public, $12.50 for seniors and students.  Summer Camp Kids matinee tickets are $5.00 for students and their escorts.  Samuel DuBois Cook Performing Arts Center is located at 2601 Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70122.

For more information please call director Ed Bishop at (504) 459-9445, or the Samuel DuBois Cook Performing Arts Center at (504) 816-4857.

Adoption and Maternity Services on WWL

This morning Lori Arceneaux was featured on WWL with Sally-Ann Roberts. Lori is the Program Coordinator of Volunteers of America’s Adoption and Maternity program. Volunteers of America began operating maternity homes in 1915 and was one of the first adoption agencies to become licensed in the state of Louisiana in the late 1940s. Over the last several decades this program has been helping to unite families in the New Orleans area. Read more below…

Read more here:

Sally-Ann invited Lori and two adoptive parents to talk about their experience with Volunteers of America’s adoption services. When Jennifer and Neal found out they couldn’t have children naturally, they turned to Volunteers of America to help them adopt a child. They were ecstatic that the adoption process went smoothly and were relieved to have Lori there to help them through each step. When they adopted their son at 3 weeks old, it felt natural and bonding came instantly. Volunteers of America promotes openness in adoption but supports the birth mother in what’s best for her. As Lori explains, “We’re there to provide counseling and support to all members of the adoption triad: composed of  adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted child. Serving since the 1900’s provides stability to help throughout a child’s life. It’s very common that we receive calls long after the adoption for help or support and we’re here for as long as people need us to assist them.”

Volunteers of America has also partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program that seeks to find loving, permanent homes for both younger and older children in foster care. Lori wants people to know that “facing infertility and struggling to create their family doesn’t have to end in not having a child. There are lots of options out there.” To find out more about Volunteers of America’s Adoption Services call Lori Arceneaux at (504) 836-8714 or e-mail larceneaux@voagno.org.  For more information from our website, click here.