Northshore Focus

Biweekly

The Northshore Focus is an ongoing feature series produced by WWNO looking at issues and the people and organizations making a difference across the Northshore region.

Northshore Focus is made possible with the support from the Northshore Community Foundation.

Volunteers help a group of children on a field trip make prints of local fish at the Northlake Nature Center.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

With thousands of acres of wildlife refuges along Lake Pontchartrain and the Bogue Chitto River, the Northshore is known for its natural beauty.

The volunteers at one small park near Mandeville are working to provide opportunities for people to get involved and develop a deeper understanding of the local ecosystem. At the Northlake Nature Center, that appreciation begins with children.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

A nonprofit organization in Hammond called OPTIONS aims to help people with disabilities find meaningful work, and to also facilitate meaningful community relationships.
 

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Rafael and Beth Salcedo have a mission — to help underage victims of human trafficking. They started a shelter to help young girls across the south.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge is between Slidell and Mandeville. Founded in the 1990s, it protects endangered birds and combats coastal land loss. It’s not just wildlife that thrives at Big Branch. The park’s volunteer program brings people of all ages and backgrounds together.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in 2016 here. 

 

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Homelessness is a big issue in the New Orleans region, one that extends to the Northshore. Winter is particularly hard — shelters fill up, it is cold, and there is often nowhere to go. It can be especially hard for single men, and one organization is Slidell is trying to help.

Mark McVille has been homeless for two years. He has worked as a tugboat captain and construction worker, and was in the army for a while. He always had a pretty good job and had no problem supporting his kids.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

When you are down on your luck in Louisiana, dental care can be hard to come by. Medicare doesn’t cover it for adults, so many low-income people have to rely on volunteer dentists and special clinics that often have long waitlists. In Covington, the Food Bank has made helping these people a priority.

The Food Bank provides food for those in need, but they also have a thrift store, an emergency assistance center and a dental clinic. They call these their “core ministries,” and hope the services target the community’s primary needs.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Anointed Hands Boxing Gym on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell is a modest facility, filled with loud music and kids. It is kind of like a community center — the coach taught a group of kids how to hit the boxing bags while others played on gym equipment and parents joked at the front desk.
 

 It is not necessarily what you would expect at a boxing gym. That could be because the owners, Dupre and Shedee Strickland, aim to do more than offer training for aspiring boxers — they want to help.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in St. Tammany Parish is trying something a little new: training people who have mental illnesses to help people with similar problems.

Roxanne Skal is a Peer Support Specialist. She works with a variety of people, both in community support groups and at the Northlake Behavioral Health Center in Mandeville. A couple times a week, she drives from her office on one side of Northlake’s campus to a little brown brick house on the other side, where she leads a group for recovering alcoholics.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

It turns out Louisiana's climate is a lot like Sub-Saharan Africa's. So it makes some sense you’d see animals usually spotted on safari at Global Wildlife -- an animal refuge on the Northshore in Folsom. There, visitors can learn about 4,000 exotic, endangered and threatened animals from all over the world.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

When a child witnesses or is the victim of a crime their testimony is often necessary in order to find out the truth and press charges. But getting them to talk and participate in a very adult process can be difficult and they need to be protected. A Covington-based nonprofit works with law enforcement and parents to sort it all out.
 

Hope House looks like a house, and it feels like one too. Located on a quiet back street, its offices are inside of a renovated home, with a tidy yard and pinwheels leading up to the front door.

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