Megan Barra

Acadiana Outreach Center

Grant Awarded: $5,800

Acadiana Outreach Center is dedicated to helping transform the lives and restore the dignity of poor and homeless people in crisis.

Tossed and Found is a brand name for the social enterprise program at Acadiana Outreach Center teaching marketable vocational skills leading to self-sufficiency, through the production of artistic functional furniture and art made from reclaimed hurricane debris and salvaged building materials. These furniture and art items will be sold to the public and the resulting funds will go back to the clients that created the projects as well as to sustain the program.

A Tossed and Found brochure and product tags will help promote the program, market the products and increase sales and thereby help the lives of the clients of the Acadiana Outreach Center that create the products. The brochure will describe the program and how it will change lives, illustrate the product line, and basically tell the story of how the art and furniture were created.

It begins as a learning tool for university architecture students who design the art and furniture prototype and in turn help teach the Acadiana Outreach Center's clients the woodworking and art skills to create the finished products. In addition to learning these new skills, the clients that create the products gain self-esteem, learn what it is like to complete a project, and increase their value to potential employers. The program will also benefit the customer that buys the product for their home. The finished pieces are beautiful, functional and since they are made from hurricane debris and other reclaimed materials it has a positive impact on the environment.

As the project grows with the support from the people of Sappi, more clients of Acadiana Outreach will realize that they have skills and talents that will improve their self-esteem and will afford them more opportunities for employment. Some clients will eventually be steadily employed with the program itself.