Wolf Pack gives back to the community

Zayn Abidin

From repainting walls to putting turf on a playground, Loyola students and alumni did it all to honor the Ignatian values of giving back to the community during Wolves on the Prowl.

The event, which is Loyola’s national day of community service, was held at the Bricolage Academy in Mid-city on Nov. 14. The volunteers spent the day trying to beautify the school in an effort to make the place more welcoming and safer for the students. The school has just moved into its new location in Mid-city and needs a lot of renovations.

Josh Densen, founder of Bricolage Academy, said that he found it amazing to walk in and see the volunteers ready to give their time to help improve the school.

“To see that they are helping a school that they will likely not have much of a contact with before or after, and it’s just that pure giving and pure generosity that is really inspiring,” Densen said.

Alex Owens, teacher of a class called “innovation” at the academy, said that it’s great to have the extra set of hands to help out, since the faculty and staff are busy managing 250 students during the week.

“Just to have people coming in and giving us that relief of organizing, sorting, cleaning, and repainting is extremely valuable and it’s going to pay off for the kids in the long run,” Owens said.

Before the start of the service day, volunteers were divided into at least 10 groups and were given different tasks to complete. The tasks included repainting walls in the offices and bathrooms, washing the cafeteria windows and cleaning the bleachers and the stage in the gym.

Each group had a project leader who oversaw the progress of their designated task and made sure that it was completed on time.

Alexa Bilich, project leader and criminal justice senior, has been involved with Wolves on the Prowl since her freshman year and said that she has always been passionate about community service.

“I just think that at Loyola, with our Jesuit ideals, being a more well rounded person and being able to see New Orleans outside of just Loyola and giving back to the community that has given us so much is important,” Bilich said.

Wolves on the Prowl was started by a group of students 16 years ago. After the students graduated, they wanted to continue the community service efforts in the cities that they went to by joining hands with the alumni association at Loyola.

According to Laurie Leiva, A’03, director of alumni relations, as the program grew, it became a collaboration between Mission and Ministry, Student Government Association and the Alumni Association.

“The role of the Alumni Association is working with the alumni chapters, Mission and Ministry, which is the sponsor of Loyola Community Action Program, plays a role in finding the service site and student government association really helps in promoting the event to the students and get student involvement,” Leiva said.

Bea Forlano, A’04, community service co-chair for Wolves on the Prowl, said that the event is a great way to network and also do something special in the community.

“It’s a great time to get the broader Loyola community together, so alumni and students working side-by-side, and we definitely stand for something as a Jesuit university, men and women with and for others, you know this is a great way to impact the community in which the university is located,” Forlano said.

There were 15 other alumni chapters across the country in places such as New York, Boston, Orlando, Dallas and Chicago who participated in this program on the same day.

“They all do something a little bit different, for example doing a project at a food depository or project at a Jesuit high school,” Leiva said.

She said students and alumni get numerous opportunities to do community service work throughout the year with other organizations outside of Loyola, but with this event, everyone comes together as one community.

“There is something special about being able to gather as a Loyola community and to do something together and saying that, this is Loyola, this is what we are about and this is what we are doing today. And to know that there are other Loyola alumni chapters doing the same thing, at the same time is really neat,” Leiva said.