Dan Forman Leadership Award

Dan Forman founded LOOP in 2004 on the belief that the lessons children learn in the outdoors can help them rise above the cycle of dysfunction and violence that plagues New Orleans. Thousands of students benefitted from the adventures Dan offered them. He believed in the future of New Orleans and the power of the outdoors to transform lives. His legacy of service and leadership lives on in our program long after his sudden passing in 2012. To honor him and to continue his legacy, the staff and board members at LOOP NOLA created the Dan Forman Memorial Leadership Award in 2018. It is an annual award given in March to one participant and one class that embodies Dan’s leadership, passion, and joy of the outdoors.

2019 Dan Forman Memorial Leadership Class Award Winner: Opportunities Academy

The board and staff members of LOOP NOLA are proud to announce that Opportunities Academy is the 2019 Dan Forman Memorial Leadership Class Award winner! Opportunities Academy participated in nine LOOP NOLA outdoor programs this school year including hiking, canoeing and camping-based activities. The award is given to a LOOP NOLA class who embodies the passion for the outdoors, leadership, and teamwork of LOOP NOLA’s founder Dan Forman, who passed away in 2012. Here are a few selections from their nomination:



“You can see that this class really cares for another. Students consistently step in to pick each other up and help each other out. Even when they are challenged and doing new things that can be frustrating, they try to include everyone and stay positive. It showed when they were at the low ropes course and especially while they were canoeing.”


“This class has a lot of very unique strengths. There is a wide variation of abilities and this group always encourages and supports one another. They find ways to incorporate everyone and they always want to build each other up.”

“Although they have a wide range of development disabilities, there are never any issues with students not getting along. They always use respectful language and they always make sure they leave areas they have been better than when they arrived.”

Passion for the Outdoors

“This class is always happy and excited to be doing anything outdoors with LOOP NOLA. You can see the excitement in their faces any time they see any insects or animals or when they try something new. They are constantly fascinated and eager to learn about whatever they come across in nature.”

”They embody the LOOP NOLA value of everyone belonging outdoors. They don’t let their disabilities stop them from doing some really cool things outdoors. It’s awesome to see how they break down certain expectations that people may place on them and overcome challenges to experience the wonder that outdoor spaces provide.”


As the 2019 class award winner, Opportunities Academy will go fishing in City Park and receive a commemorative award and pizza party. The students’ reactions to winning the award were heartfelt and inspiring:

"I love LOOP, I love going outside. I liked when we fed the birds."  - DeVantee

"I like being able to go outside and that LOOP finds places that are handicap accessible for me." - Jewel

"I love LOOP trips.  I am excited to go on another one. I love being outside with my friends."  - Sherome

“As the teacher of this class, LOOP has been a great experience for them.   The students constantly ask me when the next LOOP trip is going to be. They are always excited to go and be outside. I also see them open up and work together to listen and learn about something new. Thank you LOOP!” - Ms. House (Teacher)

Congratulations to Opportunities Academy!