Student Activist: Brenna Gourgeot

New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School & New Orleans Center for Creative Arts

Cheryl Gerber

“I’m a dreamer, mostly. I love to dream about my future and how I can create new ways of getting the word out about the injustices that are happening in this world,” says Brenna Gourgeot, a junior scheduled to graduate in May 2013.

In dual enrollment at both New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Gourgeot still finds time to volunteer with the organization Invisible Children. Invisible Children is a nonprofit organization based out of San Diego, Calif., dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of Congolese, Sudanese and Central Africa Republican children who have been devastated by Joseph Kony and his vicious Lord’s Resistance Army.

“I cannot possibly imagine living a life that isn’t dedicated to helping other people. I want my future and my career to be focused on using my talents to help other people. I would like to one day be able to use my art to enlighten people on the issues that are a part of their global or national society,” says Gourgeot.

This year, Gourgeot has worked with NOCCA to host a photography show with all the proceeds and donations going to Invisible Children. NOCCA’s visual arts students took all of the photos; the subject matter was children. Gourgeot was also able to get a video of a Ugandan refugee named Tony and played it for the students to view free of charge.

“The best part of this experience, besides raising money for an organization I love, was seeing all of my peers’ enthusiasm. My activism sparked their activism and I knew that this desire to be a part of something bigger was not just a phase for them,” says Gourgeot.

This past summer, she and friends from her church, the Vineyard of New Orleans, spent two weeks volunteering in southern Africa in Zambia with the organization Seeds of Hope International Partnerships. The two weeks of constant volunteering changed forever the way she viewed the world. Gourgeot spent the first week building bio-sand filters to bring northern Zambians clean drinking water. The second week was spent visiting schools and malnutrition clinics, where she read and played with children and handed out food and other donations to the mothers.

“The ways in which Africa can change a person are indescribable,” says Gourgeot. “You could believe that you’re going to a third-world country to ‘save’ people, but the people in that country end up saving you from yourself.”

Besides volunteering and making the world a better place, she loves art, books and traveling. She wants her future career to focus on using her talents to help other people in creative ways. Gourgeot would like to use her art to enlighten people on the issues that are part of their global or national society.

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