“That was us – (fifteen) students of different campuses, majors, backgrounds, interests, and even cutting techniques coming together, staying together, and (most importantly) working together.” Ashley Lora, ASB Day 4
15 Pace students from two different campuses and various backgrounds coming together for a purpose: building homes for families affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you can think about the ending to the movie “The Breakfast Club”, you might get a sense of my feelings on the last day of Alternative Spring Break. I can’t even describe my experience in a simple blog post –but that doesn’t mean I can’t try.
Before heading out towards the Rockaways to where we were staying for the duration of the program, our program coordinators wanted all students in the program to prepare themselves as well as bond with each other. This isn’t a simple task — it takes time. However, we were all already easing our way to build a comfort-ability and some kind of relationship with one another. Progress was being made, and my excitement for the week was reaching a peak by the end of day one.
Day two was the day we started to get our hands dirty. It was the day we opened up our hearts and minds to one another, and all it took was a simple joke, story, or even permission to use the power-drill. Day two was just the first day of building, and the work was already getting intense. The house I was assigned to was in its final stages, but there was still some last things to do. My first and surprisingly difficult task was putting up two towel racks in an unfinished bathroom. My partner and I thought this would be an easy task — we were completely wrong. We ran into several issues with the towel racks, but in the end, it was rewarding to see how great they looked. That wasn’t the end of our task as we also had to put up a closet rack. When that was done, we met up with the rest of the group to help them with their house very briefly. Day two was a mere introduction to what the program had lined up for us.
Day three was very intense when it comes to manual labor and realizing the extent to which Hurricane Sandy damage reached. I, along with five other ladies from the group, were assigned a new house. This house was in its first stages, which meant that there was nothing but framing done. The house, according to the story, had to be taken down for the most part due to Sandy. The owner tried his best to get rid of everything while maintaining the structure. The amount of work ahead of our small group was great, but we were ready to rise up to the challenge. We did. Ceilings and Walls started to cover the framing members, and it was looking more like a house. Talking to the other ladies, it was no secret that this house challenged us physically, but also opened our eyes to what has been going on in the Rockaways. This day was rewarding and captured the true purpose and meaning to Alternative Spring Break — at least for me it did.
Day Four was mixed feelings, bonding time, and being productive. The bond was obvious among all of us. There was so much laughter and helping each other. The group worked more together as most was in another house that used to be Friends of Rockaways’ office (the same house the other group worked on for three days). I got to learn more about everyone, and even got to work in partnerships with most of them. Everyone was committed to getting the work done – commitment was key. Mostly all projects started during ASB were completed, and that was a goal for everyone involved. I think it was very bittersweet that the work day went by so well because it was our last day. We got to celebrate at the Bugalow Bar. My memory of the restaurant was nothing but smiles and laughter — mainly Brandon and I’s. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way. Like it was said in one of my favorite books, “we were infinite”. When it was time to go our separate ways, everyone came together to say goodbyes and give some great hugs. Like mentioned in the beginning, I want you to think about the ending of “The Breakfast Club”. There was a letter written in the end that describe the group and the experience they shared. That was us – (fifteen) students of different campuses, majors, backgrounds, interests, and even cutting techniques coming together, staying together, and (most importantly) working together.