If you had to summarize your experience with Green Light in one word, what would that word be?
It doesn’t take more than a few minutes with Jude to see his dedication and belief in Green Light New Orleans. He has been in the Green Light family since May of this year (2015), volunteering twice a week to change light bulbs in homes all over New Orleans. Jude has now changed more light bulbs that any other volunteer at Green Light New Orleans.
Jude was born and raised in New Orleans. After graduating from Xavier University, he worked in Nebraska and South Carolina as Budweiser’s district manager. Now that his kids are all grown up, he is back to New Orleans for retirement (and the Po’ Boys at Parkway).
Jude was looking for something to do and a way to give back to the community. He saw an advertisement in Gambit magazine to volunteer with Green Light New Orleans and soon he was hooked. At first, he volunteered because he liked how easy it seemed and how much of an impact could be made with this simple act. “Changing light bulbs, how hard could that be?” For someone who was tired of working in an office, volunteering with Green Light seemed perfect. Jude didn’t feel like he was going to work, but he knew that he was doing something good for his fellow New Orleans community members and the environment.
“It works for me. Its easy, not a lot of pressure, and simple.”
Now that Jude has volunteered for over six months, he volunteers for other reasons as well. He loves the staff, volunteers and community that Green Light creates. He loves the nonprofit’s mission and all that it stands for. He likes how volunteering has allowed him to see more parts of New Orleans and meet interesting people living in the homes he serves. He likes how appreciative and receptive they are of the service.
This Wednesday, I had the opportunity to join Jude on one of his volunteer routes. Seeing him in action is incredible, and it’s clear to me why he keeps on coming back to volunteer. In four short hours, we visited four houses and changed a total of 84 light bulbs. At each home, Jude shared the impact created by switching to CFL light bulbs. Here is the combined total of savings over the lifetime of the bulbs:
33,096 kWh of energy saved
37,549 pounds of CO2 offset
$3,864 energy bill savings
In those four hours, Jude also became friends with the people for whom he switched out light bulbs. We met Ann, a professor at Xavier University who just bought a house. We met Solomon, an artist from Maryland who came to New Orleans to direct films. We met an adorable little girl who asked “What is all this light bulb stuff about?” And, we met a huge family spending time together inside on a hot day.
Jude sees positive results every time he volunteers, and goes home knowing that he has made an impact. He goes away with gratitude.
How much longer do you think you’ll work with Green Light New Orleans?
“Oh… I’ll continue for a while. I like leading the pack. I want to stay number one in number of light bulbs changed.”
It looks like Jude will have that title for a while – we certainly don’t want him to leave for a long time.
But more that anything, Jude has this piece of advice:
“If you have the opportunity to do volunteer work, do it. You’ll feel good as a result”