United Way for the
Greater New Orleans Area 
Live United - United Way

Summer Camps and Programs Kick Off for Thousands of Kids


From left to right: Loren Blanchard, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Xavier University; Michael Williamson, Chief Operating Officer, United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area; Toni Graham, Art Department Graduate Student, Xavier University; Howard Miller, Chief of the Creole Wild West Tribe;  Walter Landry, Chief of the Black Mohawks Tribe; Darryl Montana, Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe; Rashida Ferdinand, Director of Community Arts Program, Xavier University; Kenneth St. Charles, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Xavier University; Kristin Shannon, Executive Director, Emeril Lagasse Foundation; and Dr. Kenneth Boutte, Associate Dean of Summer Programs and External Initiatives, Xavier University.

On Monday, June 6th, Unified Summer Grants partners United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation announced that they are providing funding to 34 summer programs, totaling just under $250,000, and serving more than 5,000 low-income children and youth in our seven parish region.

The Unified Summer Grants Collaborative began in 2006 with a goal of increasing summer program availability in the region, since so many recreational facilities were damaged or destroyed in 2005.

“In that immediate post-Katrina environment, there was a dire need for summer programming,” says Kristin Shannon, Executive Director of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, one of the founding members of the Collaborative, which donated $100,000 this year. “Communities prosper when our public spaces are safe, fun and nurturing. Summer is one of the most important seasons for learning, and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation is committed to funding innovative and educational programs for our city’s youth,”

The Xavier University Mardi Gras Indian Summer Arts (XUMIA) program is a full immersion experience for youth in the greater New Orleans area focused on Mardi Gras Indian art and culture. During hands‐on sessions with the city's leading bearers of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, students learn about Indian suit design and how to sew in both the "Uptown" and "Downtown" styles.

Now, five years after its conception, the Unified Summer Grants Collaborative is still making a difference. With names like ‘Gators, Games & Gumbo!’ and ‘COPS for Kids’, funded programs run the gamut from literacy to sports to fine arts and more. The camps benefit children from pre-school age through their teens, and give participants access to fun, safe and educational activities while schools are out of session.

The Xavier University Mardi Gras Indian Summer Arts (XUMIA) program is a cultural enrichment and hands on colorful, creative costume design program taught by Darryl Montana, Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe and Walter Landry, Chief of the Black Mohawks Tribe. Students learn about some of the unique traditions of African American culture in New Orleans and the responsibilities involved in working as a team. "XUMIA provides a fun and enriching opportunity for children to learn about the history and culture of Mardi Gras Indians,” says Rashida Ferdinand, Director of Xavier’s Community Arts Program. “Kids are introduced to the unique art of sewing and beadwork used to create Mardi Gras Indian suits, but they also learn all about basic art techniques, like use of color, texture and space.” Students who complete the workshop may become artists who create the elaborate suits and mask with Indian groups as well as informed citizens who can articulate and advocate for the importance of the tradition.

“Research shows two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities,” says Michael Williamson, Chief Operating Officer of United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area. “Summer is a great time to experiment with new teaching techniques and environments that may encourage deeper learning and greater retention of information.”

For more information on the Unified Summer Grants, or to see a full list of funded programs, contact Marti Dumas at 504.827.6829 or martid@unitedwaynola.org.

XUMIA camp-goers are all smiles at the June 6th media event for the Unified Summer Grants Collaborative.
Camper Taylor Sanders (far right) shows other campers the replica Indian shoes she has made.







All Souls Church & Community Center
All Souls Summer Enrichment Camp

New Orleans Ballet Association
NOBA Summer Programs

A's & Aces
A's & Aces Summer Reading and Tennis Camp

New Orleans Outreach
Summer Academic and Cultural Enrichment

Breakthrough New Orleans
Breakthrough New Orleans, Students Teaching Students

New Orleans Police and Justice Fdn.
COPS for Kids

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans
Summer Witness

Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Ogden Museum Summer Teenage Docent Program

Crossroads Institute
Creative Forces League

Pentecost Baptist Church Educational and Outreach Program
Learning Outside the Classroom

Desire Street Ministries
Desire Freedom School

Reconcile New Orleans, Inc.
Sustainability and Life Skills Project

Dryades YMCA
Dryades YMCA Summer Enrichment Camp

Noah's ARC Summer Program

Excel Star, Inc.
Excel Star Summer Enrichment Camp

The Chartwell Center
Chartwell Summer Camp for Autistic Students

Freret Neighborhood Center of Neighborhood Housing Services
Outer Space/Inner Space Summer Enrichment 2011

The Salvation Army in Greater New Orleans
Emerge Summer Learning Day Camp

Friends of LOOP
LOOP Leadership Camp

The Tremé Cultural Heritage Foundation
Success Oriented Achievement Resource Program (SOAR!)

Girls First
Girls First Summer Camp

Trinity Educational Enrichment Program (TEEP)
Trinity Educational Enrichment Program (TEEP)

Healing Hearts for Community Development
St Bernard Learning Adventure Camp

Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training
VIET's Summer Adventure Program 2011

Jefferson Youth Foundation, Inc.
'Gators, Games and Gumbo!

Xavier University of Louisiana
Xavier University Mardi Gras Indian Summer Arts Program 2011 (XUMIA 2011)


YMCA of Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Plaquemines YMCA Summer Program

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools
Rethink VI

YMCA & YWCA Art Camp

Kingsley House, Inc
Kingsley House Youth Summer Programs

Young Audiences
Young Audiences

Liberty City Community Development Corporation
Liberty City CDC Summer Camp

YWCA of Bogalusa , LA
YWCA Summer Camps 2011

United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area
serving Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines,
St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa 
and Washington Parishes
2515 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119