Offering a Helping Hand

If she’s asked to do something, Caviar does it: grabbing a bag of ice from downstairs; prepping food; counting drinks.

“I get to it and I just get it finished,” says the 16-year-old New Orleans native who is one of our youth at Juma NOLA. If a co-worker is running late to the Smoothie King Center because of the bus—something Caviar knows all too well as a fellow bus rider—she says, “They call and I’ll prep their cart for them so that it’ll be ready when they get here. We look out for each other.”

It’s no wonder that Caviar was honored with Juma NOLA’s Helping Hands Award this past year. Never mind that she’s the youngest team member at Juma, has been on the job only four months, and that she found it challenging at first. Not knowing anybody. Trying to get to work on time despite that bus. Figuring out how everything worked. But, she says, “Once you teach it to me, I’m a fast learner.”

At Juma, Caviar says she felt welcomed. “And if you don’t know something,” she adds, “they inform you of it.” She also liked the teamwork among the fifteen or so fellow co-workers. “Someone’s down you pick them back up.  We’re like a family. If there’s a problem between one of us, we try to fix it.”

As for her hopes beyond Juma and the arena, Caviar has her sights set on becoming a certified sign language interpreter. This summer she plans on getting an ASL associate degree at nearby Delgado Community College. And after completing her college admissions tests in June, she has hopes of applying to Miami University in Ohio to study criminal justice to help deaf crime victims.  

It’s just another big way that Caviar wants to help with her hands.