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#OneRouge Friday Community Check-In (Weeks 51-53)

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a

cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


'Homeless & Reentry Workforce'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

Courtney Scott (Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Mayor Broome’s Office)

  • BR Vaccine rollout...We are asking you to be ambassadors

  • Sitting between 26-27% of community vaccination

  • Launched the Geaux Get Vaccinated campaign April 16

  • Effort in partnership with Louisiana Dept of Health, FEMA, and GOHSEP. We are one of 12 sites in our country selected to be a FEMA site at Bon Carre Business Center

  • Set up there with a full free vaccination site with Pfizer. No insurance requirements, no appointment needed. Make it as easy as possible to drive/walk/bike through. Goal was 3,000 per day, but also doing community outreach vaccination sites to meet the people where they are.

  • We need help! Partner or share with events, set up a site yourself through your organization. We come out to you, set up promotion, provide radio, and any audience/entity you serve can get vaccinated. Workplace, church, outside or inside, we are set up to support and encourage everyone to go get vaccinated.

Gwen Hamilton (New Schools for Baton Rouge)

  • Has there been any research or information getting to the bottom of why people are hesitant so that strategies can be developed around those issues?

Courtney Scott

  • Canvassing and collecting data to bring together and hopefully get a report on LPHI

  • We are seeing: - Hesitation due to what’s considered lack of research/the fact that this is a new vaccination. While it’s something that was publicized and rolled out quickly, we know this has been in the works over time and has been tested on other variations of SARS. But not everyone receives that well. - Maternal health and concerns around fertility. Recently had an IG Live on Mayor Broome’s page with a female African American doctor trying to get out as much information as possible. No formal studies I know about but trying to collect that data real time and share that education.

Kenny Lynch (Director of Target Populations Employer Outreach, Louisiana Workforce Commission)

  • Statewide reentry program - Caddo, Orleans, Jefferson, Baton Rouge, St. Tammany

  • Case managers working to assist people upon release

  • Currently working on statewide program initiative with the Dept of Corrections to pay for training prior to release, a statewide pilot where they get a CBA (industry based credential) in welding, ASW within auto mechanics

  • Starting with two prisons, one in Caddo and one in the LaSalle area

  • April is Second Chance Month: partnering with DOC and Urban League for a statewide virtual Job Fair on April 28. Anyone can log on. 70 employers involved right now.

Ann Zanders (Board Member, Reentry Alliance for Louisiana)

  • Volunteering for the last 9 years with Reentry Alliance for Louisiana

  • Very clear we needed a mechanism to communicate and connect people doing reentry across the state

  • ‘Reentry’ - had been just a word without real collective substance - everybody was doing things within their own pockets

  • Homelessness and employment are two of the biggest challenges for currently incarcerated persons and formerly incarcerated persons

  • We’re finding inreach is one of the biggest strategies to help deal with that

  • Women are the largest population that cannot find housing once they get out unless they have family infrastructure to go to

  • A bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday and the DOC is hopefully going to have the first women’s transitional housing in Baton Rouge

  • This is big that DOC understands the challenges women have

  • In addition to employment I’m excited to hear what Kenny just said - we had our symposium Tuesday and our now trying to work with the next generation of reentry leaders

  • Even today, formerly incarcerated persons are having trouble accessing employment

  • Lots of FIPs don’t like the word ‘felon’ but these companies are open to hiring formerly incarcerated persons

  • Currently incarcerated people have to have a plan to come out, but how do we as a reentry community provide the resources to them?

  • These are some of the challenge we have: we’ve got to get the information to them

  • Verna Bradley Jackson of One Touch Ministry is a housing specialist in Baton Rouge, in business for 23 years. Started housing sex offenders: understanding the reality of the charges...there are levels but not many people know what those levels are.

  • Across the southern region there are over 400 men in DOC right now who can’t get out because they are sex offenders although they have completed their time, just some of the realities we hear

  • Another new ministry called Heavenly Hope Ministries. They’re doing employment preparation, housing...but they’re a new group so not many people know about them. I think housing and employment...we have a lot going on but we’ve got to get the information out.

  • Going back to the Reentry Alliance, that’s our purpose. We want to make those connections.

Kaitlyn Joshua (Community Organizer, Power Coalition)

  • We are a statewide civic engagement table. We operate from the people’s agenda that folks should always have the opportunity to participate in equitable and fair elections, people closest to the problem are closest to the solution, and we need to hold our elected officials accountable.

  • Serve as the faith organizer

  • Knee-deep in legislative session, doing lots of work on the local level for Fair Chance in Hiring

  • Continuing to build out coalitions across the state because not all of our parishes have this

  • Excited to say that Matt Willard out of New Orleans is sponsoring HB 480, making it a requirement of city government and private sector jobs to ban the box

  • In terms of events, doing a lot around Fair Chance - Shiloh Baptist has an event tomorrow to get the word out

  • I invite everyone on this call to do that work with us. We have flyers, petitions...give them the support they need to find great jobs and livable wages.

  • City council member Shawna Banks of District II is going to sponsor a resolution for us to ban the box, require contract jobs that allow formerly incarcerated persons to get that contract with them city

  • In terms of housing we organize from a proactive perspective. Try to work with the local housing authority to advocate for moratoriums, especially during the pandemic. Our job during COVID has been organizing from a sense of urgency. Talking to the mayors, talking to the governor

  • The COVID Relief Package we are currently discussing with Governor Edwards includes a component of rental assistance.

  • Bill tracker on our Power Coalition website. Able to update in real time. Power Coalition is active with the Bring Back Louisiana campaign - have people volunteering to do that canvassing. Lastly we are looking to build out that Fair Chance Committee in Baton Rouge

Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones (ACAO, Mayor Broome's Homelessness Prevention Coalition)

  • The coalition started back in July of last year

  • Come together to educate and bring awareness

  • Working with over 85 different constituent groups, about 22 coalition members, nearly 65 nonprofits throughout the city

  • Siloes have been broken and we’re truly coming together to eradicate homelessness

  • The work groups came together as a result of identifying all the different constituent groups

  • We also work with law enforcement, both BRPD and the sheriff’s office serve on the HPC

  • 10 Work Groups developed with 8 core goals

    • Capacity database and inventory to understand how many homeless reside in BR - 359, likely increased to a little over 400 now because of hurricanes, COVID, etc. Talking about prisons, formerly incarcerated individuals.

    • Outreach and case management

    • Transitional and permanent affordable housing

    • Community homeless education campaign

    • Addressing formerly incarcerated individuals and working with reentry groups

    • Behavioral health training

    • Panhandling task force

    • Peer to peer mentoring group

  • Meet once a month

  • One of the things I’m most proud of is partnering with great organizations to do investigative work

  • Mayor’s Recast Program did a pilot program assessing the level of behavioral health and trauma that homeless folks encounter and what actually brought them to the point of being on the street

  • Partnered with CARP for a pilot program with our panhandling population. Who’s out there, what are their needs and struggles, how do we navigate them back into society.

  • Went further into looking at best practices across the state and into other states. The sheriffs office along with BRPD have allowed us to do 72 hour touch points along with our faith based groups. We will not clean up and clear out an area without giving them forewarning and sharing resources.

  • Put partners in place, partner with CAUW in our signage to help educate the community to help with public safety as well as littering

  • Developed our website - - to steer individuals to help give contributions to our nonprofit partners

  • Program called Housing Heroes - landlords with safe affordable housing for homeless individuals to move into

  • Help us spread awareness and education and compassion to the needs of homeless people. Helping individuals get off the street, get into society with lucrative jobs. The city will be hosting a job fair in the coming month in collaboration with St. Vincent de Paul and One Stop to offer employment through the city with our maintenance department and seasonal work. Our next meeting is April 30.

Rev. Dr. Brian Sleeth (Executive Director, The Christian Outreach Center of Baton Rouge)

  • 30th anniversary of COC, been with the organization since 2013

  • All about the partnerships

  • Started out as a ministry of St. Joseph Cathedral with volunteer work and overtime churches downtown got together to provide a centralized place to send people in need of basic services

  • Provide triage services for the homeless - bus passes and IDs have been the biggest thing in addition to food, hygiene, etc.

  • CATS is going to start charging again in May. Nonprofits should still be able to get a discount on bus passes.

  • Working on a referral system so that more and more churches and organizations can refer people directly to us through a coordinated system so that we can share what we were able to do to help

  • Had to pivot during COVID - restructured ourselves staff wise

  • Now have an employment case manager, been doing job training classes for the past six years

  • Working with think tank Chalmers Center. How do we approach poverty from a biblical perspective? What is poverty? When you ask people worldwide, the answer is different. I myself was homeless in a fashion, basically couch surfing with relatives back in 2009. Poverty means anxiety, depression, isolation, lack of community. The impact of poverty is vast and significant. This think tank also produces materials. We are switching over to their new curriculum in the fall which will include exciting things like a greater emphasis on prison reentry, trauma response, and a strong push towards trades.

  • Grant from United Way for providing employment training for people in the ALICE population

Karen Stagg (Director, Connections For Life)

  • Work with formerly incarcerated women - guide them through a 12 month intense training program including housing, training, job readiness and placement, reconnecting with families, financial management, etc.

  • Look under the rocks and take care of old issues so that when they complete their year with us they can live independently

  • When someone is released from prison, if they don’t have a place to go they are at very high risk of being homeless

  • We seek to serve women most in need, meaning they don’t have a stable support system to return to

  • Small but mighty nonprofit, work closely with lots of other providers. OneRouge, Reentry, Ann’s team...we all work closely together to do the wraparound services they need.

  • We take the holistic approach - getting women counseling, mental health care, medical assistance

  • 22nd year, looking to strategically expand. Always looking for partners - housing providers, employers

  • Our experience that once we have an opportunity with an employer, that’s all we need. The ladies work so hard.

  • When our clients leave us, we stay very connected to them.

  • We fund our program through a little thrift store over by LSU.

Coalition Discussion

Reverend Anderson (PREACH)

  • The definition of homelessness is much bigger than we’ve ever thought of and we have to start redefining how we are addressing this. People are often zoned out of housing. School districts have a good accounting of children under the McKinney-Vento Act. Oftentimes we aren’t talking to those systems. The Dept of Health...Most of our children are in the Medicaid program. There is some very good data that can show us what the actual homeless population is. Ann made the point that having any interaction with the criminal system puts you on the trajectory for homelessness. Somebody incarcerated for even three days has the chance of losing everything. One of the things I was saying is we have to take a step back, go all the way back to zoning policies, policies criminalizing poverty as well as quality of life issues. In the work that everybody is doing, this is a particularly important legislative session. There are some really important bills and we need the community to know how impactful it would be for people in the community to say they support breaking down some of these barriers.

Tristi Charpentier (Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation)

  • Ann mentioned and I wanted to elevate that April is Second Chance month. The DOC has actually launched a new campaign called Return for Good. The website includes information about why it’s good for business to hire returning citizens, links to webinars around fidelity bonding, on the job training, etc.

  • Workforce portal - employers can set up open positions they’d like to hire returning citizens for and returning citizens can submit applications. It’s a work in progress but doing this new campaign is so important.

Casey Phillips (Walls Project)

  • If we’re talking about upstream solutions, the Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience year round...if you don’t put teenagers on the path to employment early on, that’s part of this prison pipeline and housing vulnerability. The application period is opening if you work with youth.

Jan Ross (Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation)

  • When it comes to reentry, about 93% of those incarcerated are returning to their communities. Whether their community is ready for them or not guides recidivation. Over the last 10+ years there has been greater and greater awareness. It all goes to the recognition that the formerly incarcerated are coming back to their communities and can be productive citizens with assistance.

Casey Phillips

  • Dr. Jones, you talked about - this is the first time I’ve heard of it. Could you explain it a little further?

Dr. Jones

  • Collaborative Effort with CAUW with different pillars, falls under the basic needs pillar. They are able to be the conduit to funnel funds from the community into other non profits also represented on the Mayor’s Homeless Prevention Coalition. All contributions go straight to the nonprofits and they are the administrators for us.

Reginald Brown (Gardere Initiative)

  • I said a while ago that we need to do McDonalds style advertising. We need to get the word out...any contacts with Lamar to pursue a series of charitable contributions?

Helen Frink (Mayor Broome’s Office)

  • Mr. Brown, email me - we have a direct connection, I’d be happy to pass that along.

  • Like Casey said, Youth Employment applications are open now, serving middle up to out of school youth. Primarily virtual summer program but with some in person options. Also have our Emergency Rental Assistance program. If you know individuals at risk for being evicted now, please have them call the hotline.

Pam Wall

  • Our congressional delegation is adamantly opposed to having housing in the infrastructure bills being debated right now. That is absolutely not a good policy.

  • Also, HUD is totally changing its focus. HUD has been building homes for the poorest families in our communities since the Depression. We have been mostly spending federal money to redo, rebuild, and not add more but sustain and maintain what we have to be more livable and appealing. The philosophy behind that is to get private investors...that’s the Louisiana Housing Corporation, the tax credits, all the incentives out there to build affordable housing…. That’s part of the concept here that if we can get more private investors we wouldn't have this great divide between people who need subsidies for housing and the people building those units. We have a couple thousand people on the waiting list. The only thing legally that HUD has said that keeps people from public housing is sex crimes and if they broke a law and went to prison while living in public housing. Those people are not eligible. But the big problem is there’s not enough units for poor people with several children, transportation issues, etc. Just wanted to get you excited about the housing discussion next week.

Alfreda Tillman Bester (Southern University)

  • The Vulnerable Communities and Peoples Initiative studies public policy that precludes barriers to people moving out of poverty. One of the discussions I am noticing is people starting to talk not so much about private investment in public housing but moving away from the model that has been traditionally set forth...we would like to see more public dollars invested in ownership as opposed to subsidizing large developers instead of helping the people the program was originally mean to assist. The transition or investment being focused more on the people the program was meant to serve rather than already rich developers.

Brain Sleeth

  • Wanted to briefly mention that we have a third Purple Cow store opening in Denham Springs thanks to the Huey and Angelina Wilson and Lamar Foundations leading to workforce development. Working to bring a furniture bank to Baton Rouge. We have Hand Up, a cross sector project with EmployBR, Louisiana Workforce, DOC, Probation Parole, Uplifted and ourselves focusing on moderate to high risk individuals with more intensive case management and job training. And finally I’ve just been elected the community co-chair of LA-PR, part of the capital area Reentry Coalition.

Reverend Anderson

  • One announcement...on May 6, National Day of Prayer, the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition is having a virtual free breakfast to educate people on solitary confinement and why it needs to end. The way that we change the trajectory of marginalized people is to stop putting them on the sidelines and put them in the mainstream. One of our goals with CAUW is to eventually be able to dial 211 to get information about incarceration. I want to encourage everybody to please make sure CAUW has those tools to share with people that interact with them.

D’Adario Conway (Ascent Project)

  • HUD is expecting an increase in homelessness due to the pandemic. I am working on the ground with them and Jay (Daniels) - I’ve just gone to Atlanta to visit with our leadership team and see what the outcome looks like twenty years later. That’s what I’m expecting Ardenwood Village to look like. I could not tell that these apartment complexes had affordable units there. It becomes a market rate, a tax credit, and there’s a small percentage still leased to residents with low income. Comes from the Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant, the federal funds that the Obama Administration evolved the Hope 6 Grant into. Eradicating homelessness is a daunting task but I see the efforts and what these units and neighborhoods look like once the work has been done.

Sherreta Harrison (MetroMorphosis)

  • This systemic response and coordination with those of you doing this work on a daily basis, just being thoughtful about how we create awareness and lift up the issue while also making sure it is connected to things beyond good vibes and the goodness of our hearts. That connection between homelessness and a livable wage - people working who are one or two crises away from being homeless. A very real solution is to increase the minimum wage. Thinking about what that looks like from a personal action’s one thing to address homelessness but then what does that look like from an advocacy standpoint and in the voting booth? As 501-C3s we have to tread that lightly.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV)

  • One other thing...a lot of resources online how to take people to the next level. It would be great if we could bring those resources together to deal with the homeless incarcerated for the probably 5,000 jobs coming from Amazon. Those same people getting $2.15 for servers, $7 an hour being moved into $15 an hour jobs now...look how many people we could check off that list!

Zoom Chat

08:31:03 From Tyler Litt to Everyone: Good Morning, y’all!

08:31:45 From Manny Patole to Everyone: Good Morning all. I will have to hop off today in a few minutes as I am attending another work-related call. Get people vaccinated and let me know how I can support from afar.

08:31:59 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Good Morning Tyler & Manny!

08:32:17 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Double Jabs Here!

08:32:18 From Walls Project to Everyone: I got the shots!

08:32:18 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: I got the shot!

08:32:22 From Zoe Haddad (she/her) to Everyone: Got the shot!

08:32:22 From Aimee Moles to Everyone: i got the shots!!

08:32:23 From Chelsea to Everyone: I got the shot!

08:32:28 From Trey Godfrey | 100 Black Men to Everyone: I got the shot

08:32:29 From Katherina McGraw to Everyone: I am vaccinated woot woot

08:32:30 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: I got the shot

08:32:33 From Summer Steib (she/her) to Everyone: Got both shots!

08:32:34 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: Fully immunized!

08:32:36 From Christopher Spalatin to Everyone: I got my 2nd Moderna on 4/3

08:32:38 From Mary Wilkinson to Everyone: I got the shot

08:32:38 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone: I got the shot

08:32:41 From Brian Sleeth to Everyone: Good morning! I got the shot!

08:32:43 From Karen Stagg to Everyone: I got the shot and our staff has all gotten their shots too!

08:32:48 From Kenny Lynch to Everyone: I got both shots

08:32:51 From PCEJ to Everyone: I got the shot!

08:32:55 From David Summers to Everyone: As for me and my house, we are vaccinated!

08:32:55 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone: I got the shot! Also...For vaccine info highlighting the Mayor's vaccine location you can text LACOVID 898-211

08:32:59 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: I got moderna, plus 3 weeks now! I’ve also signed up friends for appointments who had not signed up.

08:33:01 From Summer Steib (she/her) to Everyone: ZACXD?’

08:33:09 From Leslie Clay to Everyone: Great morning Fully immunized!!!

08:33:24 From Rhonda Robinson to Everyone: Fully Vaccinated.

08:33:24 From Stacey Howell-Metro Y to Everyone: Me and Bea got both shots!

08:33:30 From Summer Steib (she/her) to Everyone: Sorry y;all, I have a new kitten and she wanted to share

08:34:56 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone: My family is fully vaccinated!

08:35:21 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: How do I sign up my site?

08:35:29 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone: Talking with our folks who have been canvassing North Baton Rouge, one of the concerns that came up was the National Guard, in uniform, make immigrants and other folks nervous. I think it is great that the National Guard is doing the vaccinations, and it made me comfortable, but there is another population that brings fear. IS it possible that they can do vaccines without their uniforms on?

08:35:46 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Call or email me at 225-427-5005

08:36:20 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Helen, can you answer Rodneyna and Jennifer’s questions in the chat?

Here is social content you can use!

08:38:17 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Jennifer, that is something we are conscious of and are working to make folks more comfortable and assuring them that the guard is there exclusively to put shots in arms

08:38:30 From Karen Stagg to Everyone: If you will email me a flyer - We have a thrift store and can promote to our customers.

08:38:42 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Sending now Karen!! Thank you!

08:38:44 From Courtney Scott to Everyone: @Jennifer YES! We have a 3rd party strike team that can support. We understand the concern around military participation.

08:40:43 From Courtney Scott to Everyone: We actually have outreach leads, Dr. Nicole Thomas, Donna Collins Lewis, and our own Lauren Hebert that are connecting with populations to address partnerships that work best for them.

08:42:17 From Kaitlyn Joshua to Everyone: so cool!

08:43:20 From Courtney Scott to Everyone: Thanks to everyone that has been vaccinated! Please continue to be an ambassador to dispel myths and educate others!

08:44:27 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you Courtney for all you do!

08:44:55 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: This is awesome news!!!

08:48:29 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Ann, if you are able to put these org names and contact info into the chat we will reach out to One Touch and Heavenly Hope Ministries to invite them to come speak to the coalition later in the summer.

08:48:58 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: I love this woman!

08:49:31 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Awesome work Ms Ann

08:49:46 From Brian Sleeth to Everyone: Ann is awesome!

08:50:11 From Karen Stagg to Everyone: Thank you Ann! Appreciate all you do!

08:52:57 From Ann Zanders to Everyone: My email is REAL's website is You can also email us there.

08:56:23 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: Ann - what's the bill number for the women's transitional housing?

08:56:51 From Helen Frink to Everyone: If I have to hop before we get to the open floor, Summer Youth applications are open!!!

08:57:43 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Also, emergency rental assistance applications at

If you know someone at risk of being evicted, going to court, etc. please have them apply and then call the hotline to alert the staff of that timeline

08:58:33 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you Helen. I will make both of these announcements after our speakers.

08:59:13 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: I'm meeting with a nonprofit in Calcasieu on behalf of pk-12 students so I have to run. Excellent as usual. Thank you.

08:59:34 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you Judith!

09:01:17 From Rinaldi to Everyone: Dr. Jones how can landlords provide transitional housing. who do call

09:02:47 From Rinaldi to Everyone: Does Louisiana Housing Corporation provide financing for building transitional housing?

09:03:42 From Pam Wall to Everyone: It is so positive that the Mayor's Office has had a focus on the homeless. Much housing is transitional (case managers and activities to stabilize and provide mental and other healthcare and job searches, etc.). We need permanent housing for chronically homeless folks--there are tiny home models and other models where all residents pay rent and all work in jobs associated with maintaining and enriching the lives of residents or jobs in the outside community.

09:04:44 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: With all due respect homelessness is much more than living under the underpass. Couch surfers, aging out foster youth, seriously mentally ill, those who are tagged as sexual offenders, PTSD veterans (both good discharges and bad discharges), severely transitory housing (the transit motels). Our homeless population is well over 2,000. This doesn't even address dangerously insecure housing individuals (no utilities, lead based, etc)

09:07:13 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Please include your contact in the chat

09:07:15 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: We almost never address the hidden issue of rural homelessness and the racial divide which plays out through zoning and not in my backyard.

09:08:55 From Alfreda Tillman Bester to Everyone: Alfreda Tillman Bester, Southern University Law Center's Vulnerable Communities & Peoples Initiative,

09:09:33 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you for joining us today Alfreda. Please pass along my hellos to Chancellor Pierre

09:09:44 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Rev Anderson and Ms Pam Wall you could not be more correct. We are working with the Housing First Alliance to prioritize those groups and provide wrap around services

We are also soon announcing our Lead Hazard program, we have received $2 mil to identify and remedy housing with lead

09:10:35 From Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones to Everyone: Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones 225.250.7038 to provide contributions: To post vacancies for housing visit: or dial 1-877-428-8844

09:11:13 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: Are they going to drop the 9 person limit?

09:11:55 From Jennifer Dobies to Everyone: I believe it will be 16 people per bus

09:15:03 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: That's still a huge problem

09:16:33 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone: Brian, you could come work for CAUW with that explanation of ALICE! If anyone would like to learn more, you can download the report at

09:17:23 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Brian, will you email me that info? Would like to send to our emergency rental assistance program applicants

09:17:29 From Helen Frink to Everyone:

09:17:36 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: No one should be eligible for tax incentives without supporting live wage and pro -incarcerated impacted population hiring policies.

09:19:34 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: One of the biggest challenges for formerly incarcerated is the overwhelming fine and fees that the criminal system extract sometimes for years.

09:22:26 From Brian Sleeth to Everyone: Hey - my contact info is cell 225-614-3292

09:22:32 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: Housing insecurities must recognize the Alice challenges. Rental markets are very tight and rents are increasing. Those with children are often terrified to let anyone know they are homeless because they can lose their children. We must stop building policies that actually increase homelessness.

09:22:41 From Reginald Brown to Everyone: Vaccination at IDEA School, 7800 Innovation, April 24 Saturday 10 am - 2 pm. by City & St George Fire Dept. Vaccination in Hartley Vey Park, 1702 Gardere Lane, April 30 Friday 5-9 pm.

09:23:12 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: Love what you do!

09:24:50 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone: JAC and SELC will be hosting a clinic tomorrow providing Free Legal Services to Formerly Incarcerated Citizens

Saturday, April 24th at the EBR Main Library at 10AM

For more information contact or 225-362-0433

Please share with your network and on social media

09:26:29 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: April is Second Chance Month. To celebrate, DOC has launched a new microsite on employment: It includes a Workforce Portal where employers can post openings and receive applications from formerly incarcerated persons. They've also been holding Webinar Wednesdays around various issues regarding reentry employment.

09:27:18 From SHERRETA HARRISON to Everyone: Echoing the comments about the connection between policy and homelessness/ lack of employment. Many times we support FIPs and fair housing and don't see how voting for or against certain issues make the work difficult.

09:27:40 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Please place any questions in the chat or signal you would like to ask

09:28:46 From Helen Frink to Everyone:

09:31:47 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone: Great conversation!

09:34:29 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Yes!!!

09:35:09 From Helen Frink to Everyone:

09:35:37 From Lindi Spalatin - MCDC to Everyone: Our communications manager works with Trey Roberts at Lamar.

09:35:51 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you Lindi…contact info?

09:36:16 From Karen Stagg to Everyone: Thanks Everyone! Karen Stagg, Connections For Life,, 225-439-8575 - Our thrift store is located 2286 Highland Rd. BR, 70802 -

09:36:20 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: What’s the age requirement

09:36:50 From Lindi Spalatin - MCDC to Everyone: He is the General Manager. I don't work with him directly but we go through him for our sponsorships.

09:37:20 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: Does Southeast Legal have that hotline information?

09:38:34 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone: Thank you again for all of the important information and connections. The support in our community is amazing.

09:38:55 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: And thank you Karla!

09:45:58 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Thank you ms Bester ! You are so on point ! 2 and 3 generations of high rent income to the Wealthy

09:46:29 From Alfreda Tillman Bester to Everyone: Thanks, Ms. Pat. So good to see you!

09:46:41 From Rev Anderson to Everyone: What about the property next to the Bridge Center, Brian

09:47:35 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: There is The bowling alley on Airline at Plank

09:47:50 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Yes Pat!

09:48:57 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone: thanks everyone for this discussion and info. looking forward to next week and have a great weekend!

09:48:58 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Yea!!

09:49:00 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Same with Circle Bowl on Florida and Airline

09:49:19 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: Yes it has

09:49:31 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone: Yes thank you Rev. Anderson! Please send 211 listing updates and requests to John Hutson is our full time 211 database manager.

09:49:49 From Brian Sleeth to Everyone: Thanks for the suggestions!

09:50:37 From Tina ufford to Everyone: Yes. Loving being in this call!! Glad to be involved. I’ll be gone next week but I’m alll in in May

09:51:29 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone: You can also provide us your agency information via this webform and we will reach out to get your organization listed in 211:

09:52:32 From Pam Wall to Everyone: Atlanta and other areas with a high density of multifamily housing for all incomes are easier to "blend in" subsidized housing.

09:52:34 From Reginald Brown to Everyone: The idea about connecting with Lamar is to request a long term arrangement with Lamar and the any nonprofits providing services. The goal is to ensure those who need the services, become aware of the services. Those in need might not have a computer or phone data plan for social media advertising that are not well known among those who need the services. But they might see a billboard, especially if they are homeless. Some nonprofits already advertise with them by payment or donation, but many non-profits are not able to make that connection. I will make an initial plea, but would like someone to review and ensure it makes sense

09:53:44 From Edy Addison-CAUW to Everyone: Re: Lamar...Many non-profits reach out to businesses in our community and ask them to donate their billboard space as an in-kind donation.

09:54:49 From Walls Project to Everyone: We’ve been able to acquire on occasion the digital billboards’ rotation - those are easier for them to allocate I believe

09:55:22 From Helen Frink to Everyone: Hey Sherreta!!!

09:55:59 From Jan Ross - HAWF to Everyone: Great meeting. Thanks to everyone for sharing their passion and information. Keep it going! Have a great weekend everyone.

09:56:01 From Kaitlyn Joshua to Everyone: yesssss Sherreta!

09:56:19 From Casey Phillips to Everyone: Thank you Jan!

09:57:00 From Kenny Lynch to Everyone: Great meeting everyone. I look forward to working with everyone. Have a great weekend!

09:58:06 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone: Clean Slate Louisiana HB604 will be heard on Tuesday in Committee

10:00:00 From Alfreda Tillman Bester to Everyone: Please include me on your on your notices for this coalition meeting. Apologies... moving to the next scheduled meeting.

10:00:10 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone: Standing Against Racism, event at Capitol Park Museum with YWCA tomorrow!

10:00:14 From Lindi Spalatin - MCDC to Everyone: Thank you so much for this conversation. Everyone have a great weekend.

10:00:28 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone: Headed to next meeting

10:00:39 From Luke St. John McKnight to Everyone: And thank you, Casey


'One Year Anniversary'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

Helena Williams (Director of Operations, The Walls Project)

  • OneRouge 2020 Report

  • Broken down into two segments: the report and the meeting notes addendum

  • These calls began as a reaction to the disruption of normal life because of the pandemic. Community stakeholders and nonprofits wanted to know what we could do, started these meetings to share resources

  • In Louisiana specifically we have an awesome response to disasters, we’ve done it many times with hurricanes so it’s kind of in our DNA to come together

  • Really challenged and changed what it meant to collaborate

  • Each week we had a topic of discussion and had one or more speakers - somewhere between 40 and 50 speakers

  • Saw that these topics followed the cadence of the Nine Drivers of Poverty

  • As we continued with these meetings we saw this larger need for more focused coalition work

  • We organically piloted the East Baton Rouge Food Insecurity Coalition (EBRFIC) partnering with Capital Area United Way to lead the coalition

  • Through that partnership we were able to build a structure for future coalitions

  • Really allowed us to launch the #OneRouge Coalition concept

  • Completely open and collaborative every step of the way

  • Main goal is to propel the work forward - not about who is handling the mantle but about getting the work done

  • Meeting notes are available as well as any resources shared during these meetings - there is no hoarding of information

Casey Phillips (Executive Director, The Walls Project)

  • To tie a bow on what Helena just said, so many things have happened in this last year together. I have learned so much from each of you, not just our speakers, but everyone on this call. Together we have a much deeper understanding of the work we all do on a day to day and systematic basis. The openness to share these resources and information has been inspiring. We’ve tackled some subjects that usually result in screaming matches. People are calm, deliberate and respectful. During Covid our purposes together has been of finding that middle ground solutions and escape ideological battling.

  • But today we’re talking about the future.

  • The Nine Drivers of Poverty are interconnected and systemic, preventing people from accelerating their lives and communities, not something they can take on alone

  • As of today I’m very excited to announce that MetroMorphosis and The Walls Project have come together in a formal partnership to launch over the next two years 9 coalitions around the Nine Drivers of Poverty. We are two non-profit organizations who share common goals, constituencies, and purpose in Louisiana’s capital region.

  • The OneRouge Coalition : Building Communities that Empower People to Accelerate Their Own Lives. A collaborative initiative of MetroMorphosis and The Walls Project that will foster systemic change.

  • OneRouge seeks to rebuild communities into places of safety, security, and prosperity by disrupting the drivers of poverty and replacing old notions of society (Haves v. Have Nots; Makers v. Takers, etc.) that fuel the dehumanization of people of color and the poor.

  • Fundamentally, OneRouge convenes stakeholders, identifies best practices, and builds collective action to disrupt contributors to or the drivers of poverty by:

  • 1. Envision the future and its possibilities 2. Convene key stakeholders 3. Take action 4. Evaluate, adjust, and revise when necessary 5. Curate and share

  • There was never a question that The Walls would go at this alone. Along with our partners we had to figure out how to come together, allow people/organizations to find their lane, and creatie a continuum model in place.

  • With our partners at the Capital Area United Way, Wilson Foundation, Feeding Louisiana, and Co-City BR a steering committee and coalition action council framework was created to remediate Food Insecurity in Baton Rouge. This coalition model is (Group A) Funders Circle, (Group B) Practitioners, (Group C) Data/Evaluation/Policy to work separately but together to create short, medium, and long term goals together around each Driver of Poverty.

  • In closing, OneRouge envisions a community where residents can chart a course of action and exercise reasonable control over the outcomes of their lives. Facilitating this requires creating programs and refining systems that will disrupt current debilitating conditions and take down barriers that deny access to paths of opportunity.

Raymond Jetson (Chief Executive Catalyst, MetroMorphosis)

  • I must begin by commending you and the team at The Walls Project for initiating this work and sustaining it for 52 weeks

  • Kept the energy, created a safe space, a container where people can come and connect with other folks, share their thoughts without being criticized or shut down

  • As you say, that is the past and I am excited about what is ahead

  • Time to amplify the work people on this call are doing on a daily basis

  • Build some cartilage between work that is happening in the community around these drivers of poverty and how do we connect and build containers that coordinate their efforts in ways that create greater impact

  • I want to put you on the spot: you talk about the emotions you’ve experienced, what does it feel like for you to be sitting in this seat a year later when you think back on what has transpired and what it has positioned this group of people to be?

Casey Phillips

  • The thing that comes up to me is that this is part of the reason why I’ve committed to continuing the work in Baton Rouge.

  • When I started the Walls Project in 2012 we discussed a ten year plan and moving back out west after my son graduated high school

  • Truth is I’ve fallen back in love with my hometown and look forward to continuing the work here together over the next 5 years.

  • I don’t feel the weight of the work anymore because it feels like the flow - as we sit here at the end of this year of COVID, I keep those who are no longer with us in my heart but I’m excited to continue the Walls Project but to me now the opportunity to work on the systematic work shoulder to shoulder with you on things also outside the purview of the Walls...I’m bursting with excitement

Raymond Jetson

  • So if our work connects, if the efforts we have committed ourselves to work, what does that look like five years from now?

Casey Phillips

  • One of the big Annual drop in the number of people in our city living in poverty, envisioning solutions together, convening stakeholders and bringing cohesion with the short, medium and long term goals...the “take action area” is where I like to thrive. When you take action it’s not always going to be perfect. Constantly have to evaluate, adjust. Just like Mayor Broome says: our goal is safe, healthy, hopeful. Want to see the indicators that matter drastically improve. Sharing that with other communities across our state, across the country. If we find something that works, share it.

Raymond Jetson

  • The reality is you have been the energy that has called people to this space week after week. What would you ask them to do for the next year? What’s next?

Casey Phillips

  • Without hitting everybody with a broad brush, this ask is easier for some than others...I would ask people to do what Jan has done with HAWF and Adonica has done with BR Alliance, to step out of just the work of your organization and be a community leader working on issues beyond your immediate focus. What I need from everybody is your time and your talents. Not just be present but lead, even if you’re not used to it. We need to find which of those nine coalitions you are passionate about and throw everything you’ve got into. You need to realize that our city needs you.

Raymond Jetson

  • Manny, I love “from safe space to brave space” and I want to agree again with Reverend Anderson that what you’ve put before us is a powerful ask. Anything other than a powerful ask perpetuates the status quo. The reason people keep coming back to this space is that the work we’ve done apart from each other has been wholly insufficient to enact change. Anything less that transformative change isn’t really worth our time and our effort. I want to share that what Metromorphosis does is designing engagements and collaborative working strategies that allow people to do what they do in partnership with others and in ways that are beyond their individual efforts to do it. We are excited to lift up these coalitions and begin to collectively make this place what we know it can be.

  • One statement I will make that may borrow some folks is that there is not a single system in Baton Rouge that is broken. Everything is performing exactly as it should for those who benefit. There will be resistance. There will be difficulties. But I believe in the people I have seen and heard on this call...that which is necessary to begin change is present.

Questions and Discussion

Jan Ross (HAWF)

  • These calls have been instrumental in introducing me to many of you all that I have not had the privilege of being introduced to face to face. This has been such a great benefit to me. I’m with the HAWF in the EBRFIC funders group. Over the years there have been conversations on encouraging mergers between organizations, and conversations that have continued about collaborations and working together. There have been times when that happens and then backs off. Each and every natural disaster or market dislocation we experience…we’ve seen the need to work together. But through COVID it has been a huge wake up call to us...but it came at the right time, a time where people were looking for information and avenues to connect with each other and were willing to work together. For us now, we’ve heard the information, but what do we do with that information? Do we soak it in and keep it to ourselves? Do we share it? By reaching out and taking that next step for these gatherings, seeing how you can connect with each other and that to me is the beauty of these weekly calls….there’s so much captured information and it’s up to us to take it and do something with it and connect with others.

  • I do want to say this has been one of the most valuable things for our city that has come out of COVID. It’s something we have needed for a long time and it’s a moment to get it right. Something about this space is so refreshing and so powerful as we go forward...there are such huge challenges but I’m so grateful to have partners who are doing the work and celebrate those who are here.

  • One of the things that has been so important to me this year is...the work that you all do is so exemplary to young people. They finally see the ability to create consensus rather than division. Finally positive momentum for solutions. In the case of OneRouge and the FIC, it's been so heartwarming to witness an ARCH class developing an entire semester to food insecurity. These are going to be the future planners building our cities. We see civil engineering classes looking at water problems in underserved neighborhoods. On one site The Walls Project has five classes looking at the challenges of Howell Park. Those kinds of life lesson opportunities are going to be so much more available through this continued coalition. I’m so inspired by it and I’m thrilled that the people coming behind it will have it as their foundation.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV)

  • This brave space...I don’t even have words to explain how this has made me feel and how this has helped my community. People don’t know the whole story, they don’t know what people go through. Just to be here with these fifty, sixty people that can actually do something about it...we have the power and everything we need to make a difference in the lives of people who need us. We sit back and think a little dab’ll do. And the little dab is just not going to do. Collectively, I’ve found out what I’ve been saying all these years, we have everything we need to make a difference in the lives of people who need us. We can change the world. We can set the stage for how it needs to happen. Keep it going and gage ourselves, to say at the end of every month where do we make a difference. We’ve talked about it enough. Now it’s time to make things happen.

  • I was born and raised in Baton Rouge and I left fifteen years ago with the expectation that I would never return. I was very worried coming back, and I’m saying that with a place of privilege. I thought we didn’t have the leadership but these phone calls and the work I do at McMains have made it clear that we do. Like Mr. Jeston said, the institutions are working the way they were created to work. It is very encouraging to know there are people working to dismantle those systems. This community give some ideas to bring back to my space, to take care of the kids and show people they don’t have to leave to have quality of life. There’s a problem with brain drain all over the south and I worry a lot about that but I’m so proud to see and be a part of a community that is working to make Louisiana as beautiful as we know it to be. Otherwise we’d all leave and never come back. But...I came back!

Dean Donald Andrews (SU College of Business)

  • Just want to compliment you and Raymond in terms of this initiative and moving forward. I work at a university and I see universities as opportunities for societal impact. We’re supposed to be about problem solving, helping consumers. Sometimes we don’t get it exactly right...but that has changed. Society has changed. We are now required by our crediting body to have engagement and societal impact. Business schools and business are a force for good in society. We never had that standard before. I really want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of this because it really helps us fulfill the mission of business being a component for good. Whatever we can do with the resources we have here at the College of Business...they’re at your disposal.

Casey Phillips

  • Right now there’s about 250 leaders with about 75 core leaders on these Friday calls and an additional hundred or so that come in and out...but that’s not enough. If we’re talking about widespread, systematic change, we need all the voices at the table and all the people shouldered behind the work. I'd now like to introduce Sherreta Harrison of MetroMorphosis to introduce the #OneRouge Work Document.

Sherreta Harrison (Sustainability Catalyst, MetroMorphosis)

  • I really want to echo some of the comments not only congratulating Casey for sustaining this work over the last year, but also the comments that have been speaking the truth about our city that everybody knows but we don't say often enough. We have everything we need to make it a thriving place. At Metromorphosis we talk a lot about asset framing and getting away from deficit thinking, that something is missing in our community…we have these thriving ecosystems, these pockets of good things happening in this city. To bring them together, to work strategically on some very big goals is important. Something else that everyone has been saying along those lines is that if we have any real chance or hope of disrupting those things that are driving poverty in our city, we have to begin with the people on this call. Those of us driving change in our city. That’s our greatest asset. What I think needs to happen now is we need to continue to identify those people who are driving change, who can flank - people who are serving and are committed to reducing poverty and getting rid of it all together. If you click on the OneRouge document, you’ll see that some of it is already populated because we’ve taken some of the information we’ve gotten over the last weeks and some of the things we know working with you all in the community, but we don’t know everything. We need your help to identify people, organizations that are working on these different areas and we want you to start with yourselves. Where does it look like you can contribute? Do you know other organizations that might be able to fit in this area? You’ll notice there are different tabs. If you have some desire you can spend some time on this sheet and fill in this information, with member info if you have a point of the spirit of collaboration and sharing knowledge, as much as you can add to this will be helpful as we move forward for future calls.

Reverend Alexis Anderson (Founder, PREACH)

  • These calls have been magical. The impossible becomes possible. I primarily work in low and no wealth and those caught up in mass incarceration. One of the things this call has been so magical for me about is that I've always known these issues are communal and it’s always been hard to get other people to see that. I still was one of the calls where the FIC was reporting back and they mentioned they wanted to do something with the jail. That was so powerful to me. We’ve always had the resources we need, how do we put them all together, how do make people see they’re part of a solution. The other thing I wanted to share was something Sherreta did that she may not remember. I got an email from her not long ago and she was looking for some information. I do that a thousand times now. Information, tidbits of knowledge from this call I can now infuse in places that you don’t realize, Casey, that you’ve impacted. I can take the power, the knowledge from this group into the spaces I go into. The challenge is how do we change fast enough to stop the brain drain? How do we get our young people to believe that the impossible is now a trajectory to the possible?

Casey Phillips

  • The work continues off camera. It’s been a pleasure to connect with many of you for this larger work. Sherreta shared the link in the chat. What Sherreta just hit on...You all are making moves in the community and speaking to people some of us have never had come across our radar...there is going to be a separate team whose job is to do outreach with all nine coalitions to reach out and get people to come into this work. We’re going to follow up on every single one of those organizations in the spreadsheet.

Raymond Jetson

  • I’m excited for what the future holds and I invite the people on this call to hold us accountable for progress and not just promises.


Liz Smith (Baton Rouge Alliance for Students)

  • The Baton Rouge Alliance for Students and Exxonmobil are offering a $2,000 high school scholarship for North Baton Rouge students. Applications are open now and will close April 30. Please share with your networks.

Pat LeDuff

  • There’s another round of money for rental and mortgage assistance. Please be sure to share that in the community!

Chris Spalatin (LSU)

  • Have our elected officials been included in this work? I’m very interested in the political aspect - I would love to get more involved in that scene.

Casey Phillips

  • I’ve reached out to every city council member to make them aware of what we’re doing. Moving forward each one of those coalitions has to be working with state, local and federal partners as far as policies.

Manny Patole (Co-City Baton Rouge)

  • I’ll provide a firmer date in the next couple weeks, but to showcase the positive work we’re doing and not just highlighting the stuff that’s negative, the FIC will be presenting a round table discussion on the creation and next steps of the FIC in June - discussing sharing our knowledge and building our networks outside of Baton Rouge.

Korey Patty (Feeding Louisiana)

  • It feels very powerful that all these people and organizations have come to recognize just how interconnected all of our work is. We have a tendency to get mired down in it but to pick our heads up and see the connections and see the value of this network, helping each other is really powerful. Feeding Louisiana is hosting Anti-Hunger day May 5 with a webinar featuring legislators, stakeholders, the governor talking about this last year and food insecurity as it relates to COVID.


'Pathways to Higher Ed in Louisiana'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

Heather Freeman (Executive Director of Admissions, Southern University)

  • Brief overview of SU:

  • Known for our nursing school (consistently ranked #1 for HBCU), our law program is #1 in Louisiana with the most affordable tuition cost, we have partnerships with DXC Technology and Entergy and have a combined $3.5 million in scholarship funds giving to students, STEAM majors, and classrooms

  • Computer science has cyber security partnerships with Quantico and the FBI

  • College of Business has amazing programs with concentrations in finance, accounting, management

  • Only HBCU to offer degree in philanthropy

  • Students interested in attending SU - Fall ‘21 still test optional due to some issues students have had taking ACT and SAT, students can gain access with a 12th grade schedule and high school transcript and be administered our test for placement

  • Access program for students below our 2.0 GPA required for admission

  • Can gain access through SUBR SUSLA Connect Program - Take classes on main campus but would be a student of our Shreveport campus before transferring to our main campus after meeting requirements

  • Have something for everyone, committed to help students reach their goals

Christian DeJesus (Office of Admissions, LSU)

  • Asst. Director of Multicultural Recruitment

  • We are a flagship institution

  • One of 24 institutions that has a Land Sea and Space Grant Institution (professors come from around the world to teach here, mainly because of research)

  • Students involved in research, some have even won Nobel Peace Prizes

  • Professors teach concept, curriculum, and prepare you for the real road ahead of you

  • 330+ academic programs

  • Popular programs include Pre-Med, Pre-Nursing, Engineering, Business, Psychology and Kinesiology

  • Completely different culture over the last 5 years

  • New administration over the last 3 years have brought in record breaking classes, the most diverse in LSU history

  • I always tell students and parents that once you step foot on this campus you start to feel the atmosphere, have that tiger pride

Sandy Summers (Technology Recruiting Manager, Southeastern Louisiana University)

  • Part of a new program called the Workforce Talent Initiative, a grant program funded through LED

  • Connect our students with companies in the region looking for tech talent

  • Two years ago we decided we wanted to leverage some of our grant dollars to provide scholarships to our students, specifically the Computer Science and Information Technology students in a meaningful way

  • Gaps - wanted to provide opportunities for students who might otherwise not have access to higher ed

  • Scholarship programs rolled out a couple semesters ago taking a close look at students’ financial situations and reaching those with the greatest need:

    • Underserved Populations in Technology (females, low income, racial, socioeconomic, minorities, first gen college students)

    • Readmit for Veterans, includes veterans and their dependents

    • Transfer students - may be coming from a community college, coming from another four year institution and tire kicking about which university to choose

    • Graduate Students - ISAT program (Integrated Science and Technology Grad level degree)...good fit for those working professionally wanting to take their skills to the next level

  • Be very intentional about who these funds are for...not a scholarship for those with TOPS, really looking for students looking for emergency funds

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • You can’t have a conversation about the Capital Area Promise or pathways to higher ed without talking about our friends at BRCC, wanted to hold up the cup for Phil Smith, one of the biggest champions of our program with the Futures Fund

  • Girard, would you like to share anything about BRCC’s admissions process and who the coalition can reach out to?

Girard Melancon (BRCC)

  • Moving forward for fall semester - visit for classes

  • Doing face to face and virtual classes

  • New high flex technology implementation across the board

  • Automotive training, process technology, IT and STEM have grown, transfer classes, virtual counseling (face to face available to schedule), workforce classes (not offering too many summer sessions but will have evening classes in the fall)

  • Reach out to Girard or Dr. Barlow for more information

Scott Burke (LOSFA - Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance)

  • LOSFA has a deep menu of resources beyond just TOPS

  • Partnerships with all these universities - FAFSA completion events, preview days, Gear Up programs where students going on campus earning certificate credits

  • Promote and provide college access across the board

  • Work with students, let them know how important it is to submit FAFSA, but the main goal is to cover all our bases of financial aid, get that cost down as close to zero as possible

  • State programs through FAFSA, Go Grant - $300 to $3,000 each year depending on FAFSA numbers

  • Chafee voucher for those aging out of foster care

  • Start Saving Program, 529 with tax incentive and free money matching

  • Darius Spurlock with GEAR UP program, the mentoring aspect really helps

  • Just finished our FLY tour (Financial Literacy for You), typically have students go to college campuses and put on a theatrical production where it relates them to different college aspects, they can go on tours, connect with faculty and staff (virtual this year)

Casey Phillips

  • Private scholarships - all these “hidden” scholarship opportunities are difficult for ALL to access.

  • Guidance counselors can really work more with individualizing when there aren’t hundreds of students to one counselor

  • A barrier to equity and access - that should be open source information

  • Start Saving Program, a 529 savings account is the key - parents and guardians starting at 1st - 6th can get up to 15,000 a year and it’s tax deductible saving for students' futures and investing in a fund giving the state operating capital to continue moving forward

Coalition Questions

Casey Phillips: In person vs. virtual...we’ll talk about that more in July but will in person resume for the fall semester?

  • Heather Freeman: Everything is pointing to as traditional as possible, we will still have virtual options available and we do have an online program. The majority of our students will have the traditional opportunity this fall.

  • Sandy Summers: Same here. SELU will still have hybrid options. Most folks are ready to get back to the norm and that’s what we’re striving to do.

  • Christian DeJesus: LSU is making that transition right now. Classes over 100 students will likely be hybrid. Accommodations are available for students with disabilities who need in person instruction.

Reginald Brown (Gardere Initiative): There is a false narrative in communities where there is high amounts of generational poverty that there is not enough federal financial aid and scholarships to allow people to attend college. How can that narrative be changed?

  • Heather Freeman: I’m a parent of a college student so I can definitely understand the limits in place for what students can borrow...they’re trying to make it a better process for parents and students. There are things like the Go Grant scholarships, federal aid that students can receive. We do try to find ways to make it more affordable. Our state offers students a lot of scholarship funding but those schools are priced much higher that SU (receiving $30k for a $70k tuition, for example)

Casey Phillips: There are several questions clustered together in the chat...can you address the misnomer that there’s not enough scholarship and financial aid out there, what is LOSFA doing to reach everything from day cares to middle schools to get guardians and the general populace to understand getting a head start on savings programs?

  • Scott Burke: We tell the students you’ve got to cover all your bases or you’ll leave dollars on the table. It really starts with that FAFSA. There are dollars out there for students. You can go to college. But you might have to do a little work. FAFSA is the one stop. Talk to the colleges, they might have scholarships for your ACT, might have scholarships for hours in your major, so on. As far as the start program, it’s a really good program doing a little bit of everything over the past 20 years. We’ve done billboards, partnered with hospitals, radio ads, etc

Casey Phillips: Aptitude tests...why are students waiting until their senior year when they are filling out the FAFSA? Are they filling out aptitude tests to match their passions and what they’re good at to career paths?

  • Leslie Negrotto Gilliland: We are trying to start in sixth grade...We’ve really pushed partnerships with organizations that can come in and work with schools so that individuals don’t have to wait until 12th grade to talk about how to pay for schools

  • Pam Wall: I worked in the Governor’s office and we were looking at the assessment we give in state funded centers for people looking for work. We are all born with aptitudes and yet we ask kids would you rather spend the day outside or inside...we ask about what they like, which in a way is important, but if they discover they’re really good with mechanical skills and think it’s more expensive to study...I find in Louisiana that we often use the cost to not do the right thing. There may be something new out there but I think we ought to examine how we assess aptitudes vs. interest and maybe more kids would want to go to college.

  • Mary Bergeron: Along with what Pam said, I think a lot of people at the time had limited technology so you were kind of forcing people into certain jobs and categories. I remember thinking if you have aptitude your job is going to be easier for you. That messaging can also be really helpful for someone, they could really start broadening their view of what they can do especially if it comes naturally to them.

Kim Mosby: What obligation does the college have for these young people who have paid anywhere from $60-100,000 into the university to get an education, what programs are in place to put them in jobs?

  • Sandy Summers: I pause in using the word placement because it goes from a responsibility to a requirement. We do have a responsibility to make sure our students and alums have the tools they need to do well. We have a database, Handshake, which is our career portal where students can upload resumes and employers can post job fairs and opportunities. At the same time, we have 14,000 students and one career counselor assigned to the students. With that said, we have coaches who work with the freshmen and sophomores and career coaches focused on juniors and seniors. An opportunity to do more

  • Christian DeJesus: For students coming into LSU, we have the connection with the Career Center. Prepares students for the assessment they take. From there expands on different behaviors and personalities. Have an app called Navigate for students, faculty and administrators. Dial in on each student to know what their process is like. We are here to support them. We don’t push it to all but some majors and senior colleges do.

Casey Phillips: What kind of data tracking does LSU have on job placement after graduation?

  • Judith Rhodes: What LSU is really doing with this new diverse class, there are so many supports for those incoming freshmen. They are closely tracking their progress. I don’t know the extent of the postgraduate occupational attainment.

  • Christian DeJesus: Senior colleges may have some of that data

  • Liz Smith: That data is something we struggle with in Louisiana. We have some of the most stringent data privacy laws making it difficult for agencies to share data between each other allowing for individualized types of data. One of the things we don’t really see in LA is data sharing between say the Board of Regents and the Louisiana Workforce Commission or Department of Revenue who would have data on people who are employed. Work this session to try to loosen up that ability to data share. Once there is a bill number for that I’ll be happy to share with everybody here.

  • Casey Phillips: The universities don’t have a hard time tracking their alumni to send them fundraising letters so if there was the will to track this information it is possible. It would be fascinating if there was actually a five-year study on starting salaries/median household incomes comparing peers who attend Louisiana universities and those that do not pursue higher ed. If you can demonstrate with data, that could be one of the most powerful tools for admissions.

  • Heather Freeman: At SU, we’ve found that a lot of students know they want to go to college but don’t know what they want to do when they get here. Students get in the second or third year of a program before realizing they don’t want to do that. We administer an assessment to students in their first year to open up to areas they may be more interested in exploring. Matches them to occupations that may be a better fit for them.

Casey Phillips: Next week is our one year…. Sharing the document our team has been working on on how to create this community. Living document to set the path forward for what MetroMorphosis and the Walls Project will be doing together in the remainder of 21 and 22, including the meeting notes. Few more discussion points...Rodneyna can you share what your experience is in the process of going back to school?

Rodneyna Hart (Capitol Park Museum): Decided to do an online MBA to sharpen those skills, the application process was going smoothly but there’s some kind of hold up. It’s great to start with FAFSA, one document where you understand federally where you lie. Go grants are a great resource but it’s not as organized by who qualifies for which thing, you have to take the time to do that research. If you are a working student with a full time job, it’s very difficult to make all of this happen and make time. Then you learn about a scholarship that a fellow student has and wonder how they knew it’s not a transparent process. It would be lovely if it were as easy as the financial aid document.

Luke St. John McKnight (MetroMorphosis): Also pursuing an MBA and was curious as to how students knew opportunities existed, what I may qualify for that I may not be aware of.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV): Where’s the list where you can go in and see what you can get a career in?

  • Sandy Summers: For SELU, each department has a subpage that says what you can do with that major. A lot of biology students start with pre-med intentions and realize along the way they don’t want to pursue that path. I like it and dislike it because in some ways it puts you in a box but at the same time it does give you an outlook of what the opportunities are. The Office of Career Services and Admissions are working together to make sure that list is up to date.

Rhonda Robinson (Upward Bound/TRIO): Listening to all the conversations, we’re involved in every aspect of it but from a younger age. The TRIO program starts in the sixth grade. Start talking about financial literacy, financial aid, various programs you have spoken about at a very early age. When our kids come to us in Upward Bound a lot of times they have no information. They’re hearing that college is a possibility for them for the first time. We do put that thought in their head that learning is a lifelong process. Educate kids and families to change that dynamic and have them become lifelong learners and earners. Many parents have decided to go to college after their students have gone through our program.

Reverend Anderson (PREACH): My two points were primarily that we have a disproportionately large percentage of our population impacted by incarceration meaning they’ve been locked out of many opportunities for financial tools. We sometimes look in the middle instead of looking foundational. My second one has to do with the fact that we are an aging population and many of us are in career transitions. Higher education might be more about lifelong learning opportunities, not necessarily looking for a degree. Are we looking in these nontraditional ways? I’d like to see us not lose the lessons of the pandemic. For some people, virtual learning was a great tool. How do we think non traditionally across the board? How do we stop thinking about yesterday's industries and start promoting new technologies and thought patterns? Louisiana should be looking at cutting edge technology and environmental projects. How do we push these down to the most at risk populations and rethink learning as not a destination to a degree but to economic empowerment?

Rinaldi Jacobs (Scotlandville CDC): Couple quick questions. While I was on the call, I got a call from a cousin in prison. Rev. Anderson - do they have access to online learning? When they get out of the prison system, convicted felons can’t apply for financial aid. I hope this group will continue to focus on individuals not necessarily going to a four year college.

  • Reverend Anderson: Most of your local facilities and 50% of the people being held in DOC are in local jails, not state run facilities. They do not have access. What little is provided is typically community based. Some DOC facilities do, some don’t. How do we use tools of empowerment and build them in? They don’t exist but they CAN. I have one son with a law degree and one who is a carpenter. The carpenter is closer to being a millionaire than the one in law school. Both careers are necessary. And typically you cannot get grants once you’ve been released but those are policy decisions. Talk to federal and state officials (going into session April 12!) to take out these requirements. With very few exceptions those with felonies are locked out completely. We have codified disenfranchisement, particularly against African Americans, keeping people from education who have drug charges. We’ve got to work to get those caveats taken out of legislation. Advocate and vote to have those things removed.

  • Girard Melancon: There’s a Second Chance Pell Grant for those who were previously incarcerated that was reinstated.

Zoom Chat

08:51:58 From Darius Spurlock to Everyone : Great to be here!

08:52:35 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : Please talk about the general notion among families in the community that there are not enough Federal financial aid and scholarships. Talk about why that is false and that there is enough for the family in severe generational poverty.

08:52:47 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Coalition members, please begin putting your questions in the chat for questions with our college admissions representatives and LOSFA

08:56:06 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone : With the dwindling number of high school counselors assigned specifically to college entrance...can you talk about programs or relationships with k-12 to prepare students early for college entrance and success,

08:56:30 From Pam Wall to Everyone : Higher education really starts with early childhood and school readiness. I am glad to see both the local and state superintendents with some focus on early literacy. Another issue is the cost of college....Louisiana does not rank well in the financial support of higher ed, thereby pushing the costs down to families.

08:57:18 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone : Here Here!

08:57:53 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : To the speakers: All this information about applying to higher ed is wonderful! I'm curious about available programming that may help a student identify and assess talents, abilities, etc. to help them think about what directions they may want to go and areas of study they may want to pursue. I recall DoD used to sponsor tests to identify talents in high school students, for recruitment purposes. Do you have those types of assessments at your various campuses or recommend resources online to help guide prospective student interest?

08:57:58 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Scott, Do you have contacts with middle schools so preparation can begin?

08:58:11 From Sandy Summers to Everyone :

08:58:56 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : 529 should be talked about at Super Tax Day events.

08:59:22 From Darius Spurlock to Everyone : @Rev. Anderson, Yes- we start working with students in the 6th grade that are apart of the LOSFA- LFOS/LGU program.

08:59:52 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : A 501(c)(3) charitable organization can set up a 529 account as part of a scholarship program. It can be flexible as to scholarship recipient as the organization does not have to name a beneficiary until it decides to make a scholarship distribution somewhere down the road.

09:00:08 From Katherina McGraw to Everyone : Awesome chat today I will have to leave because of another meeting but awesome informational session today

09:00:37 From Pam Wall to Everyone : Mary Bergeron...right on. We need to test more students on aptitude tests rather than interest inventories. Who is doing that? We are born with aptitudes and die with them....interests are based on what you see and like. More aptitude tests are really needed to shift the possibilities that students consider.

09:01:05 From Kendra Hendricks to Everyone : Scott, how is the word spread about START program? Is it sent to daycare centers so that parents can start preparing early?

09:01:39 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : I hope educational facilities don't lose the lessons of virtual. There were great opportunities in that option.

09:01:46 From Sandy Summers to Everyone : @Mary - yes our campus uses a program called TypeFocus to assess student interests/skills to better identify their career fit/major. Students work with a career coach to guide this exploration.

09:02:35 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : Don't forget that LED FastStart provides money associated with the new businesses and industries that come to LA. Some of this money goes to improving academic programs and some is used for scholarships for specific programs. Goal is to increase the skill level of LA workforce.

09:03:36 From Scott Burke-LOSFA to Everyone : @Kendra, We have events at hospitals like Women's on Airline, billboards and radio ads, financial advisors

09:05:36 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : Pam Wall...Yes! I love seeing the look on people's faces when they DISCOVER they're naturally good at something. Those kinds of realizations can redirect interests and change educational and career trajectories.

09:05:56 From Heather Freeman-Southern University to Everyone : @Mary Bergeron yes, we do provide an assessment available to all of our first year students which helps identify and assess career interests, values, skills, and abilities

09:06:42 From Heather Freeman-Southern University to Everyone : We administer the SIGI3 assessment.

09:07:10 From Manny Patole to Everyone : I know many on the call are helping with this but many HS students need to know the terms in a financial package for higher education mean. We should not raise a generation of kids who need education who start off their life in debt.

09:07:23 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : What about aptitude assessments BEFORE enrollment?

09:07:27 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : What programs exist to help graduates find jobs after school? Another narrative in society is that even with a college education there are no opportunities or jobs with decent wages.

09:08:08 From Manny Patole to Everyone : +1 Mary, what are the other transferrable skills these students have when entering higher ed.

09:08:09 From Leslie Negrotto Gilliland to Everyone : LDOE has also been supporting partnerships between school systems and financial aid planning organizations

09:08:44 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : Manny Patole: AMEN on student debt comment

09:09:13 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : We have a huge population that has been disenfranchised from federal and state education by virtual of being incarceration impacted. As we attempt to move to a restorative justice model do any of the schools have plans to engage in carceral education in local jails as well as DOC facilities?

09:10:10 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Great point Rev Anderson - having a record many times disqualifies one from eligibility for aid/scholarships.

09:11:14 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : Rev Anderson: Brilliant!

09:12:55 From Pam Wall to Everyone : I was told years ago that reliable and valid aptitude tests are more expensive than interest inventories and skills assessments.

09:15:28 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure.

09:15:47 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Knowing that people transition among careers throughout their lives, education should find a way of emphasizing how skills are transferrable among careers/positions. How do we leverage our experiences to new areas?

09:19:55 From SHERRETA HARRISON to Everyone : As is the case with most things, aptitude tests come with valid viewpoints both for and against them. What is critical is how they are implemented and how information is used.

09:21:23 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : Sandy - very well said, thank you!!

09:21:38 From Perry Sholes to Everyone : At CILI. we are using Behavioral Assessments in our Internship Leadership Development program as a "self-awareness" and "development tool". We build our programs to help our Fellows understand their aptitudes and how they apply to career success.

09:23:20 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Not to walk it back, but just because you have an aptitude for something does not mean you want to do that as a career. And your first job is not your only job for the rest of your life. I think there is a lot of generational pressure where the myth of a singular job for your entire life. This is not the case now and has not been for a while. Students should also understand each job they take is a stepping stone towards developing new skills towards a future career.

09:24:24 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : We are an aging population and a transitional economy. Louisiana should be looking to next century technologies and the drop-in/ transitional education requirements of a changing economy, not necessarily a degree seeking 18 year old.

09:26:21 From Sandy Summers to Everyone : @Manny I agree. What we really want to find for a student is their "sweet spot". This is the area where what they like/love to do intersect with what they are skilled at.

09:26:36 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : As a person reentering school as a working adult, the whole process of finding grants/scholarships ect is confusing and often shroweded in cloaks and daggers.

09:29:17 From Manny Patole to Everyone : That data is usually limited because it depends if the students find jobs through the respective institution’s career services and have opted in to reporting.

09:29:20 From Rinaldi to Everyone : a neurosurgeon calls at plumber on a cold rainy weekend to deal with his problem. upon completion he hands the doctor his bill. The doctor says I don't make this as a surgeon. The plumber replied neither did I when was a neurosurgeon. Funny but true

09:30:08 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Rodneyna Hart - I agree. In addition as a adult student with children - working unpaid internships wasn't an option. Those who don't fit in the typical model of "who a student is" often have a harder time finding success with the programs that do exist.

09:31:07 From Lindi Spalatin to Everyone : There is often a stigma that physical or developmental delays mean there mental delay, which, as we know, is not always the case. We have a program here that is explicitly for kids with significant and/or multiple disabilities that further their education and therapy. I know LSU and Southern have Disability Services, but I'm curious what is being done on the college level so kids aren't left behind in their education and their career paths.

09:31:08 From Perry Sholes to Everyone : This report is from the College Track program

09:31:32 From Liz Smith to Everyone : Dr. Stephen Barnes at the Blanco Center at ULL is a really good person to talk to about the data

09:31:35 From Manny Patole to Everyone : No

09:31:40 From Liz Smith to Everyone : Or lack thereof and its impact

09:31:50 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Sorry, the M&E for this and to do what is not worth the lift.

09:32:00 From Kim Mosby to Everyone : Thanks for the great convo today! I have to run to the next meeting. Have a great weekend.

09:34:18 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : The credit reporting agencies have great employment data and are starting to work with colleges to provide post graduate job and salary information. They are hampered by the privacy req

09:34:39 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Our education system needs reassessment. Everything we are talking about is great and needed but not looking at the structural issues causing these issues.

09:35:25 From Renee Craft to Everyone : Another great discussion. Thanks to all.

09:35:45 From Christian DeJesus to Everyone :

09:36:01 From Heather Freeman-Southern University to Everyone : I can be reached at with any follow-up questions.

09:36:04 From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone : Such informational, educational and inspirational discussions every week and here's to the one year of Friday sessions! Thank you speakers today for the work you do and the impacts you have.

09:36:20 From Heather Freeman-Southern University to Everyone : Thank you for a robust conversation!

09:36:25 From Sandy Summers to Everyone : Enjoyed the session!

09:36:38 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : yep

09:37:15 From Christian DeJesus to Everyone : Thank you all! Enjoy the rest of your day!!

09:37:20 From Rinaldi to Everyone : Cleanup this weekend

I'll be out of town

Meeting at Banks Elementary 8:30

09:37:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Heading out. Great to hear from everyone.

09:38:20 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Great points today Manny

09:38:38 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Great points Rev. Anderson and Lindi, will address these in a future session

09:39:18 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Lou thank you for the points as well.

09:39:38 From Judith Rhodes to Everyone : Thanks all. Let me know if you'd like Stephen Barnes to join this call one week and talk about LA Workforce Commission. Happy weekend.

09:40:02 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Yes please Judith!

09:41:27 From Rinaldi to Everyone : Ap ril 10 Clean up in Rowdy Gaudet. Cleve Dunn Carolyn Coleman and Laurie Adam will take place tomorrow.

09:42:10 From Lindi Spalatin to Everyone : Thank you for this talk. I look forward to the rest. Heading to my next meeting.

09:42:55 From Leslie Negrotto Gilliland to Everyone : I have been working with several college planning partners and some ideas for you, re: the scholarships and grants. Text me @ 985-502-7331 if you like.

09:42:59 From Mary Bergeron to Everyone : In the past, I've found that the US Dept of Labor has some information on career options, but it's at the national level and can be overwhelming

09:43:35 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : Friday, April 16 at 11:00 AM we have a Zoom call on DEI. Carla Grant Pickens, IBM Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer is on the panel. In addition DeJunne Jackson, neurodiversity expert from the Center for Development and Learning will also be there. Anyone interested just drop me a note and I will add you to the invitation. lou.guthrie@LA.Gov

09:45:02 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : TRIO and Upward Bound are amazing!

09:45:10 From Reginald Brown to Everyone : I use, Workers are classified into occupational categories based upon the work they perform and their skills, education, training, and credentials. Two examples of occupations are accountants and auditors and janitors and cleaners. Some occupations are found in just one or two industries, but many occupations are found in a large number of industries.

09:45:11 From Rinaldi to Everyone : Financial Literary is equally as important as the degree Casey Phillips

09:47:56 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Perry, thank you for the work you do as well sir & placing the resources in the chat

09:48:50 From Luke St. John McKnight to Everyone : Thank you for you holding this discussion. Have a great day, all.

09:49:24 From Sandy Summers to Everyone : Hey yall I have a 10am. Thanks for a great discussion!

09:49:25 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : Florida Shines is a good website to help with getting ready for college.

09:49:40 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : Thanks for a great discussion today!

09:59:12 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Thank you Darius

09:59:26 From Lou Guthrie to Everyone : Great session all. Thanks for participating.

09:59:51 From Rodneyna Hart to Everyone : Goodbye all, thank you!

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