The Hurricane Katrina experience “taught me what is most important in life,” says Cynthia Hayes. So when Tulane staff, faculty and alumni head into the community on Aug. 27 for the Wave of Green service day, Hayes will be in that number.
The director of alumni relations for the Tulane School of Medicine, Hayes lost her Lakeview home in Katrina's aftermath. She and her family ended up in Dallas, and thanks to the generous support of friends and family, they put their lives back together and returned to New Orleans.
Hayes began “giving back” by getting involved in community projects. She served as chair of the Staff Advisory Council at Tulane and organized a paint rally at Lusher School in summer 2006 that was crucial in helping the school reopen that fall.
Community involvement became a regular activity, from pulling weeds at New Orleans City Park to adopting needy families during the holiday season.
“Assisting with rebuilding efforts helps me as a person. The intrinsic reward is something that can't be matched,” she says.
The Wave of Green service day, organized in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the storm, will send volunteers from the Tulane community to work sites such as City Park and Habitat for Humanity home building projects.
Registration for the service day is now under way. Volunteers will check in at the Wilson Center on the uptown campus at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 27.
Buses will take volunteers to their work sites and return at 3 p.m. to bring them back to campus, where a party held near Turchin Stadium will offer refreshments and food.
Those staff, faculty and alumni who can't participate on Aug. 27 can join Tulane students on their traditional day of service, Outreach Tulane, on Saturday, Aug. 28.
Hayes hopes both service days have a large turnout of volunteers. “We're five years stronger but we still have a long way to go,” she says.