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Why I love working in Louisiana!

Yesterday, we gave you a glimpse of the organizations that are hiring in Louisiana. But what’s it like to work there? Here are some members of our Idealist.org LinkedIn Group, telling us why they love living, working, and giving back in Louisiana. Learn more about posting jobs and finding jobs in Louisiana.

Starleen L.Starleen Lewis, public health researcher at Tulane University, the GROWH Project:
There is so much that goes on in this region, with all the natural disasters that can affect this area, like the storm that came through last year, Isaac. The population is always treading water. You can’t really move forward if, every year, something is pushing you back. This is the place for people who want to make a difference. A lot of the transplants that have come down here have started opening and building nonprofits. There is a sense of community and helping.

I’m from the West Coast of Canada originally, and my favorite part about Louisiana is getting out into the Bayou, down in the fishing communities. In the whole gulf south, the land in the lower parishes is really pretty.

Sara RossSara Ross, team leader at City Year Baton Rouge:
I like to think that I’m a example of Louisianans giving back. I’ve lived in Baton Rouge my entire life. I graduated from Baton Rouge High and LSU. After college, I didn’t go off and get an average 9-to-5 job; I joined City Year. I’m a full-time volunteer in public schools. Our goal is to tackle the drop-out rate. I’m able to make a difference in the school system where I was educated.

I love the culture and the weather. I’m from Louisiana, so I’m accustomed to our fabulous southern way of life. Most of all, I love southern hospitality. When I’m out, I smile at strangers and they smile back.  My friends from other regions of the country always make it a point to mention that that is behavior not exhibited in their neck of the woods. We are all proud of the Great State of Louisiana. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

KCorson1Dr. Kimberly Corson, assistant professor at Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA:
I would have to say my number one love is the students at Louisiana Tech. They are inquisitive, passionate about learning, and highly engaged with academic dialogue. That combination is the trifecta for a university professor.

I work in the Family and Child Studies department, so I am fortunate to not only work with students who want to go into childcare environments, social service fields, hospital settings, and nonprofit administration, but our department also partners with local service organizations for our practica sites and for parishwide events such as anti-bullying campaigns, parenting education, domestic violence awareness, and other arenas. It is very nice to work at a university that has such good partnerships with local service organizations. Many of our students graduate and remain in the area to work at these sites, and it is a good feeling to watch them use their degrees in order to give back to the community or surrounding communities.

Jermaine SmithJermaine L. Smith, development officer for the United Negro College Fund, New Orleans, Louisiana:
I appreciate the love that the residents in Louisiana have for their communities. I have lived in several cities, both large and small, and I don’t believe that I have ever experienced this level of loyalty. Being a city older than the country itself, New Orleans is absolutely bubbling over with reasons to stay engaged not only on a state or city level, but even within your neighborhood. Every few blocks has a story all its own and our great residents are always eager to tell it!

We are not without our problems by any means, but we own them and, most importantly, we own the challenge of addressing those problems. That is probably the most compelling narrative about our nonprofits: many sprang from problems that neither the government nor the private sector were addressing. Nonprofits are a perfect solution to that situation.

I am generally partial to nonprofits that serve a very local problem. I am particularly fond of the work that the Bridge House does because I believe that their services are absolutely essential in New Orleans, especially post-Katrina. I am also a supporter and board member for the Young Leadership Council, which does an excellent job of attracting young professionals to New Orleans, engaging them through service and retaining their talents.

Are you working in Louisiana or hiring? Share your questions and experiences below and click here to learn more about how we’re supporting nonprofits in Louisiana!