On Thursday, October 20th, 2011 Foreign Ambassadors and their spouses initiated change during their “Experiencing America” excursion in New Orleans by introducing the Blessings in a Backpack program to Arise Academy students. The day began with introductions to Arise Academy students and facilty as well as the brief presentations from key educational leaders around the city regarding New Orleans' education background and goals.  Following the introductions, the Ambassadors and their spouses learned more about New Orleans' culture from the students.   Once the students finished their presentations, a Q & A session began.  This session allowed for the eagar students to learn about their special visitors' countries.  The interaction was extraordinary - not only for the students but also for the bright eyed Ambassadors and their spouses!


After leaving the classrooms, the Ambassadors and their spouses entered the school library to find an assembly line set up with food and letter-writing stations for Blessings in a Backpack. The groups divided & conquered!  They filled 351 bags with food and notes for Arise Academy scholars to take home over the weekend.  Each bag included food items that the children could prepare on their own at home.  The Ambassadors and their spouses took time to write inspirational and motivational notes to leave in the bags hoping that they would impact the lives of each studen.


BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK - Blessings in a Backpack is a unique program designed to feed elementary school children that   qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal program, and have little to no food on the weekends. Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of this program. $80 feeds a child in the program for an entire school year. Every Friday, students in the program receive their backpacks and return on Monday ready to learn.  In New Orleans alone there are nearly 40,000 children on free or reduced lunch programs which is indicative of these same children typically not having food on the weekends. 

- Projects List