Ty Rhea Salvant
Founder and Executive Director, Young Scholars NOLA, NOLA Homeschoolers
How did you get to where you are today? What decisions, obstacles or milestones have defined your success?
Faith, family and friends all contribute to my success. One of my tenants is to enthusiastically say “yes” when called to serve. Without a deep bench of supportive people, I would not be able to accomplish as much as I do. My husband Derrick assists me wherever, whenever and with whatever, from manual labor or computer assistance to being my photographer or second set of hands. Likewise, my friends support my crazy ideas, work around my chaotic schedule and continuously help me to put my best foot forward. Additionally, I almost feel like my mom works harder now than she did when I was a child. Her “yes” enables me to say “yes” to so many. I am eternally grateful for those God has put in my life.
Deciding to leave my career behind almost two decades ago to be a stay-at-home mom turned homeschooler was a leap of faith that produced more fruit than I ever could have imagined. Living on one income isn’t always easy, but the opportunity to serve, educate and inspire others gets me through the challenging days.
How do you champion diversity, equity and inclusion in your daily life—personally and/or professionally? Why are these important values for our community?
I amplify diversity, equity and inclusion across multiple platforms. As a homeschool parent and leader, I offer an alternative image to the face of traditional homeschoolers, enabling others to feel more comfortable with that decision. I created a homeschool program to enable families from various backgrounds, abilities, classes and faiths to provide a high-quality education to their children. In order to better educate my children and inner circle, I seek diverse and inclusive field trips, resources, teachers, and presenters. For the past 20 years, (my husband) Derrick and I have been able to share our lives, both marital successes and failures, with engaged couples through Engaged Encounter. As a blogger for NOLA Catholic Parenting, I appreciate a platform to share how I incorporate my faith and social justice issues in my role as a parent. Likewise, participating in the Racial Harmony Committee allows me to contribute to helping the Church live out its commitment to assist all parishes, schools, administrative offices, and individual Catholics of the Archdiocese of New Orleans in faithfully learning and implementing ways to promote racial harmony so as to build a more loving, accepting and respectful community.
Exposure matters. I believe the more connected we are, the easier it will be to change hearts and to eventually make a more just and equitable society. Volunteering offers many opportunities to improve our community while connecting with others from different walks of life. Some of my closest relationships began through a mutual desire to positively impact our community.
How has the League influenced you personally and/or professionally? How has JLNO advanced DEI priorities and where do you hope to see this work evolve?
The League provided opportunities for personal and professional development, and it introduced me to a diverse group of women with a desire to improve our city. When I first joined the League, it reminded me of many of the schools I attended where I could count the number of Black people in the room with ease. Over the past few years, the League has become a much more diverse organization. Beyond creating a committee to examine policies, procedures and culture to address needed change and challenging members to do the hard work required to embrace a more inclusive population, the League continues to have a positive impact on our community.
I envision a time when membership is more reflective of our community, when young girls from every part of the city realize that the Junior League of New Orleans that served her today will embrace her as a member tomorrow. Finally, I look forward to a day when we are so interconnected and intertwined that we don’t have to think about being inclusive, that it will come as naturally as changing a diaper.
“I believe the more connected we are, the easier it will be to change hearts and to eventually make a more just and equitable society.”