LOOP NOLA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide positive, life-changing outdoor experiences for children and youth in Greater New Orleans. LOOP NOLA addresses the lack of opportunity for urban children to experience the outdoors. We nurture students' connections to nature by developing a sense of wonder at the natural world along with their social, technical and academic skills through repeated exposure to outdoor adventures over multiple years.
Through our outdoor programs, LOOP NOLA is committed to inspiring youth to create a new vision for their lives and actively pursue it. We achieve this core goal by providing comprehensive, ongoing programming designed to produce profound, life-changing opportunities with measurable impact in the following areas:
· Social and Emotional Skill Development
· Communication Development
· Improved Physical Health and Environmental Awareness
· Academic Achievement
We accomplish this through outdoor activities and programming that:
· Provide support and guidance under the direction of caring staff and role models.
· Expose youth to confidence- and character-building activities.
· Develop focus, responsibility and commitment.
· Cultivate self-esteem through a sense of personal accomplishment.
· Build appreciation for nature and create environmentally aware youth.
Who We Serve
LOOP NOLA participants are children and youth from ages six to nineteen with the majority coming from low income families. A significant portion of our participants are students with physical or mental disabilities as well. Participants are predominately African-American from Orleans Parish and over sixty-five percent qualify for free or reduced priced school meals, a common indicator of poverty. Most of the participants have little experience with structured outdoor or recreation activities.
2017-18 School Year
Unique Participants Served: 2,522
Program Hours: 13,404
Unique Participants from Low-Income Families: 1,620
School/Nonprofit Partners: 34
Where we came from
Our Founder, Dan Forman
1965 - 2012
From Bob Marshall's article, “Dan Forman, Creator of Outdoor Programs for New Orleans Children, Dies at 46,” The Lens, February 9, 2012
“A Rhode Islander who fell in love with the music and culture of New Orleans, Mr. Forman believed the lessons children learned in outdoor sports could help them avoid the cycle of dysfunction and violence that plagues the city's poor. That belief was based on his own experiences as a troubled youth who found the right path during Maine outdoors camps, and the degree he earned in social work at Temple University.
In 1997, Mr. Forman transformed a nascent NORD program, building outdoors clubs across inner-city schools with an operating budget of just $5,000. Children first spent time in classrooms learning environmental education before gaining basic outdoor skills while canoeing, hiking and fishing in city parks. Students then could advance to daylong trips in nearby wetlands and weekend outings on regional creeks and rivers.
In 2004, frustrated with city administrators, Mr. Forman planned to leave the city. Landrieu, then head of state parks as lieutenant governor, recruited him to develop a similar program at the state level. The result was the Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program, or LOOP.
Mr. Forman built LOOP into a model of outdoor education. Curriculum subjects such as math, history, science and language arts were incorporated as part of the learning experience on outings. Meanwhile, the physical activities -- including a ropes course in City Park -- were designed to teach important social skills such as teamwork, conflict resolution, problem-solving and self-esteem.
Mr. Forman called the concept "expeditionary learning," indicating the program was a long-term journey, not a single experience.
The rise of charter schools post-Katrina proved a boon to the program, with more educators receptive to the role LOOP could play. That support helped spur the creation of a nonprofit support arm, Friends of LOOP, to help with funding as state budgets declined.”
We remember Dan fondly every day, and we are continuing to work for and with the youth he cared so much about.
Since Dan died in 2012 we have maintained the same mission—to provide underserved youth with opportunities for positive social-emotional growth. The model has also remained the same. We primarily partner with public schools, offering age appropriate school-day programming to students. We are looking for support from individuals, corporations, foundations and advocates to keep LOOP NOLA, and Dan Forman’s vision, alive. Check out the 1st Annual Dan Forman Leadership Award.
Please consider a donation, and contact us if you or your organization is interested in a partnership.