Non-Profit Spotlight: High Voltage
Founded in 2003, High Voltage is a volunteer nonprofit organization providing educational and recreational programs for economically-disadvantaged youth and senior citizens. This organization works to build collaborations and partnerships with organizations that serve the community’s youth. High Voltage’s core values include diversity and inclusion, community, excellence, integrity, and respect—and they actively work to ensure that these values are upheld and adopted.
High Voltage has collaborated with other nonprofit organizations that also serve New Orleans youth in order to reach more young people within the community. Examples of these organizations include Positive Impact; the Joseph A Cuillier, Sr. Career Center; and the New Orleans Video Access Center. The students enrolled in their programs are eligible for high school community service credits and college credits. Every year they strive to offer programs that will help build self-esteem, social responsibility, critical thinking skills, and healthy lifestyles. They also look to provide therapeutic recreational opportunities.
There are several programs offered year round by High Voltage that look to assist those in need. One example is the Bags of Hope campaign, which aims to provide toiletries, PPE, books, games, toys, and fun activities to various nonprofit agencies that serve the New Orleans homeless population. High Voltage also offers environmental services through a partnership with HandsOn New Orleans, the City of New Orleans, and the NOLA Trash Mob, which works to clean up the Treme-Lafitte Neighborhood and improve its environmental quality of life.
During the holidays, children ages 3-12 and their parents can attend different arts and crafts workshops, which typically occur at the New Orleans Public Library, Office Depot, Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center, and Broad Street Community Connections. Due to the pandemic, however, High Voltage has provided online and take-home art projects to ensure everyone has access to these programs.
From June to October, a significant High Voltage project is the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project, which is offered for children ages 8 to 11. This interactive program helps increase awareness of natural hazards and teaches safety, emotional coping skills, and personal preparedness. Instructors teach students how to best stay safe during an emergency or disaster and assist in creating an emergency supply kit with essential items. Students also have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases while sharing what they’ve learned with their friends and family.
High Voltage also coordinates school supply giveaways from June to December, thanks to the generous donations of the Amax Corporation, Office Depot, and individual donors just like you. High Voltage then gives these school supplies to nonprofit organizations that serve those experiencing homelessness, as well as youth in foster care. High Voltage also gives away school supplies during the Healthy Blue School Supply Giveaway, AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana School Supply Giveaway, and the Success Preparatory Academy at Thurgood Marshall School. Through these giveaways, economically disadvantaged youth can access essential supplies that they need to succeed in the classroom.
Especially over the summer, students who come from lower socioeconomic households find themselves at a significant educational disadvantage compared to those with more resources available. With the help of High Voltage’s summer programs, these students can stay on track with other students. In the summer of 2020, High Voltage coordinated a DIY Summer Reading Camp for about 40 families with the help of generous donors. The program helps students retain literacy skills over the summer and will be offered again with Judge Terri Love this summer from June 14 to July 16. This summer, High Voltage is partnering with the New Orleans Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Boys Town of Louisiana, and Raintree Children and Family Services to offer another summer reading program, as well.
In honor of the volunteers and community members who donated their time to support High Voltage, they sponsor a free spring and fall celebration for the entire family. Their fall celebration promotes family celebration and celebrates the rich history and culture of New Orleans. Lastly, High Voltage helps provide holiday meals to support the Senior Day Program at the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center. These holiday meals are served for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Senior Appreciation Day, and Thanksgiving. High Voltage also provides meals to the general public when their funds permit it.
New Orleans is a city that profoundly values family and community, and High Voltage exemplifies that value. Through these programs, High Voltage can support the community that we all care so much about and receive support back from it. None of it would be possible without the help of volunteers and donors just like you. To learn more about how to get involved with High Voltage, you can donate here or learn more about how to become a volunteer. New Orleans embraces its own, and High Voltage works hard to be a catalyst for positive change in our city during a time when we need it more than ever.