Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- At Cafe Reconcile, balloons trumpeted the agency as a recipient of funds from 'Give NOLA' Day.

About 80 young people between 16 and 22 years old are working in the restaurant, getting basic training in the skills needed for careers in the hospitality industry.

But more than that, they learn how to be successful people.

'Working well with others, accepting and following directions, but mainly giving them an opportunity to have a chance at life, to have a good job and support their families,' Rudy Rayfield said, describing the program. 'We have a guy right now that's working under John Besh.'

'I learned how to work in the front of the house,' grinned 17-year-old client Deijon Thomas. 'I learned my table numbers, how to wait on people, I learned certain things in the back of the house like cutting stuff, how to deep fry stuff, I've learned a lot.'

Financial help from the Greater New Orleans Foundation through 'Give NOLA' Day is critical.

'We really need the community support to continue to operate a program like ours,' Rayfield said.

'Non profits, we all run on small budgets with small staffs, and we couldn't do this ourselves,' said Connie Uddo with the St. Paul's Senior Center.

The St. Paul's Center had computers set up to send donations to 'Give NOLA' Day. There was a big crowd for the dedication ceremony transforming the Homecoming Center into a Senior Center serving 200 seniors a month through four programs.

'It's a senior center where people come and do activities,' said Uddo. 'We have a great program called Purposeful Living, where they're actually volunteering and giving to the community.'

'This is some place to come, you do crafts, gardening, it's just beautiful to me,' smiled client Yvonne Hutton.

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