The mission at the Welcoming Project is to provide each of their fellows (system-involved youth) with the tools and support they need to pursue their passion, develop their social, academic, and employment skills, build a rewarding life, and contribute positively to the New Orleans community.
1. What products and services do you offer?
The Welcoming Project is a community-based program for young people who are involved in the criminal justice system and are returning home after detention. Together with the Travis Hill Schools, we form Travis Hill NOLA and work to end juvenile recidivism in New Orleans. After making a 5-year commitment to each of our Fellows, we provide mentorship, academic support, connections to paid opportunities, and more. Throughout the week, we offer tutoring, community-building, and enrichment opportunities.
At the Welcoming Project, we see our students as fully worthy of our collective embrace: young people who, with love and support, will make the great city of New Orleans even better, now and in the future.
2. How long have you been in business?
We launched our program and started working with young people in September 2018. The two Travis Hill Schools, where our young people first have contact with us, have existed since 2016 and 2017 respectively.
3. How do people find you online?
4. What is lesser known about your business that you wish more people knew?
Young people involved in the justice system typically face huge challenges – some of those challenges predate their system involvement, and some are directly caused by it. Many of the young people we work with have family struggles; family members dealing with incarceration, substance abuse, or lack of resources. Some of our Fellows are themselves parents, looking after a new life when they themselves are still finding their way. Many have special education needs that are routinely not met; others deal with the effects of trauma and other mental health needs.
For kids like the ones we work with, the margin of error is very small. Mistakes and circumstances can quickly snowball out of control, and the challenges along the way can seem insurmountable. Instead of writing off these young people, condemning them to a life of poverty and cycling in and out of the system, we hope to motivate our city to instead support them. Our Fellows deserve to be embraced by the community, uplifted and nurtured as they learn to follow their passions and make choices that will put them on the road towards stability and success.
5. Lagniappe Info.
There are two ways you can get involved to support our work. First, we are always looking for new volunteers. Please reach out. Second, our fundraiser, The New Beginning, is coming up on June 19th. We’re excited to present a fun and thought-provoking event benefiting the Welcoming Project and Travis Hill NOLA. Named after Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill’s debut album, The New Beginning will be an evening of art, music, and inspiration. Attendees have the opportunity to help paint a mural, write a poem, view artwork made by our youth, and pledge to help reduce incarceration.
The New Beginning is on June 19th at 6pm, at the Capulet (3014 Dauphine St.). Tickets, sponsorship, and more information available here.
Head to their website to learn more about supporting The Welcoming Project.