NEW ORLEANS — Sara Lamberson, 2009 IUP graduate from Wallingford and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) corps member, is serving with a nonprofit organization on an energy-conservation project to produce biodiesel fuel from cooking oil in New Orleans through Dec. 17.
After a selective application process, Lamberson, 24, was chosen to be part of a specialized six-member composite team, Delta 8. They were assembled to work primarily with the Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project (GYBP), a program of Operation REACH, a nonprofit organization in New Orleans that trains high school- and college-aged youth to create environmentally friendly biodiesel out of used cooking oil.
During their eight-week placement with GYBP, Delta 8 worked on a campaign to collect fried turkey grease from households frying turkeys this Thanksgiving. The initiative will bring GYBP closer to its goal of collecting 10,000 gallons of used cooking oil per week to produce biodiesel. The team is working on every aspect of this project, from the outreach, promotions and media relations to the actual conversion of used frying oil to biodiesel in the lab.
Delta 8 also spends its weekday afternoons working with Operation REACH’s Home for Homework, an after-school tutoring program that welcomes children from kindergarten to eighth grade. During the two-hour period, NCCC members assist the children in finishing their daily homework assignments and engage them in reading, art projects and recreational activities. NCCC Delta 8 members were chosen for their special skills and interests and are getting real-life, hands-on experience by working with Operation REACH. Lamberson graduated from IUP in December 2009 with a degree in journalism and minors in communications media and music. She has had internships in photography, public relations and marketing and hopes to begin her graduate studies in public relations in fall 2011.
“Although I have had internships in public relations prior to AmeriCorps, working with Operation REACH really empowers me to put all of the PR skills I have learned to the test,” she said. “It is great to have the opportunity to do what I love for an organization that I really believe in; it makes coming to work easy.”