2011 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The New Orleans Division is pleased to honor Herreast Harrison for her efforts to promote literacy and cultural diversity. Ms. Harrison founded the Guardians Institute, a youth development program that focuses on literacy, physical fitness, and cultural arts.
The Guardians Institute is located in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward, a community ravished by poverty and high crime. After the destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the organization became a safe haven for African-American youth. Volunteers at the Guardians Institute take guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education and teach underprivileged children business finance, management skills, history, art, music, and literacy.Ms. Harrison’s efforts have helped to provide at-risk children a chance to succeed. The program recently broke ground on a new community center, which will include classrooms, music and dance auditoriums, and a library that will have more than 25,000 books. The facility has been named a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization site.