northshore

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

St. Tammany Parish has one of the highest rates of suicide in the state. It’s a problem that advocates are trying to solve and officials are trying to understand.

St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide, or STOPS, is determined to get the community talking about this problem, and to help those impacted. The 46 suicides in St Tammany Parish last year was a new record. But it’s an old problem. Parish resident Ricky Bryant is part of a long list that stretches back a few decades.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Raising kids is hard work. The St. Tammany Parish Parenting Center in Covington helps parents from all backgrounds face those challenges and take pride in the role they play in their children’s lives, and it’s also a place to socialize and find camaraderie.

On a recent weekday evening toys were scattered across the carpet and children played while parents filed in after work to support each other and learn how to be the best parents they can be.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Churches of several denominations are coming together to address an often invisible problem on the Northshore: family homelessness.

Nineteen churches decided to pool their resources and host homeless families in need. They take turns hosting the families at each church and rotate every week, providing food, childcare, counseling services and transportation, to help the family get back on their feet.

Well, technically it’s 13 for now, there’s a baby on the way.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Thrifty shoppers often seek hidden treasures and surprises at thrift stores. But visitors at one store outside New Orleans can also help stray animals.

The St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store offers a unique gathering place for the Mandeville community — a room full of happy cats.
 

Sometimes customers are surprised when they notice one corner of the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store is screened off. It holds about 20 cats, who lounge around and play with one another while volunteers sit in recliners and pet them.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Every week in Old Mandeville, the gray stucco train depot comes alive for the Mandeville Trailhead Community Market. Sponsored by the city, it saw about 24,000 visitors last year and hosts about 60 vendors every Saturday.

The market is a place to buy local crafts, soap, honey, baked goods and plants. Plus, it provides many with companionship and community.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

It’s not easy finding a job, especially one you really love. It can be even harder for those with physical and mental disabilities.

An organization in St. Tammany Parish aims to help people gain independence through work.

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. Their newly-licensed shelter is intended to help young girls across the south.

 

Rafael Salcedo used to work as a counselor for the Department of Family and Children’s services. A few years ago he started to see young clients who had been victims of sex trafficking. It was disturbing to him and his wife Beth.

 

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.
 

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