Service Coalition holds nonprofit fair


A student gets information from a nonprofit at the fair.

Ariell Reed, Reporter

On Thursday, Sept. 7, the University of New Orleans Service Coalition hosted a service fair outside the University Center featuring various nonprofits.

EdNavigator, Second Harvest Food Bank and STAIR were among the nonprofit organizations recruiting students for volunteer and internship opportunities.



EdNavigator is a program that helps families navigate the school system. Two former executive team members of the New Teacher Project created the program because they realized parent engagement wasn’t a priority in the school system. Most of EdNavigator’s staff has an education background, serving as principals, teachers and counselors. The diverse team includes educators with a variety of specialties and backgrounds. For example, Ileana Ortiz serves as the Spanish interpreter, having had previous experience working for the Public Defender’s office as a client advocate and Spanish interpreter.

Navigators bridge the gap between home and school to encourage students’ academic success. “We don’t come up with goals for kids, the parents does,” Ortiz said. The program assists families with school selection, finding institutions that are a good fit for both the parent and child. Navigators also help students achieve higher math and reading levels.

“They drive our work,” said Ortiz, explaining the goal of informing parents about their children’s rights and opportunities in the school system. EdNavigator strives to be the equivalent of a doctor to a patient for people who have questions about the school system and are struggling to find guidance. Services include foreign language interpretation, accommodations for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and help with healthy home routines, among many other services.

EdNavigator partners with employers like Marriott, Sheraton, Tulane University and International House Hotel to offer personalized educational assistance. Free access to EdNavigator is available to any and all employees of these corporations.

EdNavigator is currently seeking tutors and volunteers. To get involved, contact Ileana Ortiz at [email protected].


Second Harvest Food Bank

One in five households are in jeopardy of becoming food insecure. Serving 23 parishes from Mississippi to Texas, Second Harvest Food Bank is the largest food bank in south Louisiana. This nonprofit organization has a single, well-defined goal in mind: to feed people in south Louisiana who may otherwise go hungry.

Assistance comes from more than  500 partner agencies that distribute food and assist with disaster relief. Donations for nonperishable products such as water, canned goods and personal hygiene products are accepted at the main warehouse at 700 Edwards Ave. in Elmwood. A Second Harvest warehouse in Lafayette and the Northshore Food Bank in Covington also are accepting donations. Much like their beneficiaries, these food banks are always ready to receive assistance.

Those interested in making a monetary donation or submitting a volunteer application can visit Volunteers are needed to assist with events like the Oct. 21 food show, where tasks include sorting fresh produce.

Since 1983, Second Harvest Food Bank has serviced the local community, and it maintains a positive reputation. “People trust us and [trust] that we’re true to our mission,” said Community Outreach Coordinator Crystal B. Harris.


Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR)

STAIR was founded to improve the self-esteem and reading skills of elementary students, specifically those in lower elementary school who struggle with reading. To help these children become proficient readers, the nonprofit provides reading and tutoring services.

“Many college students are tutors on Tulane and Dillard University campuses,” Executive Director Veronica Reed said. “We recruit from UNO, Loyola, and Xavier as well. … We are particularly looking for commuter students that live in New Orleans East for the internships because they can act as a wonderful example for students being tutored in the East.”

On Nov. 9, STAIR hosts its annual STAIR Affair fundraising event. Proceeds  fund the nonprofit program, which offers assistance free of charge to students and families.

“We know that we make a difference in children’s lives and their futures, and the future of our communities,” Reed said.

STAIR is seeking college students to volunteer. The nearest location, situated in New Orleans East, offers paid internships. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit