“Most importantly, this experience has led me to reflect on life’s most persistent and urgent question, which is ‘what am I doing for others?'” ASB ’16 Day 4: Sabrina Vasques, Amanda Godsil, Timothy Martinez, & Emerald Rodriguez
Sabrina Vasques, Communications Sciences and Disorders ’17
What at first seemed like a lengthy trip has come to a rapid end. This alternative spring break was all about “firsts” for me. I learned valuable skills such as sanding, mudding, and how to replace a door. In addition, I learned the value of teamwork and family. Being an introvert I was terribly worried I would be unable to socialize and make a serious change. However, by the end of this journey I made life long friendships and truly impacted the life a man named Cecil Lloyd-Bey. Three years after Hurricane Sandy, Cecil is still left without a home. Immediate help was provided, and he was given money to stay six months at a hotel, however after this period of time and without any more financial aid, Cecil was left without his home. With the help of Friends of Rockaway, St. Bernard Project, and the AmeriCorps, Cecil will have his home back. His home holds a special place in his heart, and I feel a tremendous honor and duty to help rebuild his home. However, not only did I help rebuild his home, I’ve helped him get his life back. Although I ended up covered in dust and exhausted I would do it all over again. Most importantly, this experience has led me to reflect on life’s most persistent and urgent question, which is “what am I doing for others?” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). Creating an impactful change in this mans life has inspired me to do more for my community and for more individuals in need.
Amanda Godsil, Clinical Psychology ’19
I remember submitting my application to Pace’s Alternative Spring Break trip and just hoping for the best. Thankfully, I took the leap and decided to step out of my comfort zone to meet new people and make a difference in my community. Being from Long Island is what really pushed me to apply. Experiencing the disaster and complete destruction of the my own community was scary, but coming to Cecil Lloyd-Bey’s home three years post-storm and having it look like the hurricane just hit recently was so eye-opening. After all this time has passed, I personally assumed the restoration was finished and everyone was helped to the full extent, as New York State had made it seem, but boy was I wrong. Working with members of Friends of Rockaway, The St. Bernard Project, and AmeriCorps helped to expose me to the reality of disaster relief- it’s far from over, even years later. Many families are still suffering from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy and it is unacceptable that people are living in dangerous and unhealthy conditions. Having the opportunity to be immersed into these people’s lives was just what I needed to jumpstart my attitude and get me in the mood to help. Honestly, doing the construction was my favorite part. I learned so much from our supervisors, and the skills I earned will follow me forever.
Aside from learning mudding, sanding and patching, I learned how to not be scared to experience new things. Also, I went into this knowing not a single person on this trip, and left with 15 new best friends. The most honest, hard-working and passionate people were chosen for this trip, and everyone fit those categories. I couldn’t have come up with a list of better people to spend my spring break with. With this trip making such an impact on my life, I plan to pursue working with Friends of Rockaway or AmeriCorps to continue opening my heart to help others and to watch people and communities flourish through the help of those who want to help.
Timothy Martinez, Psychology ’19
During my time participating in the Alternative Spring Break with Pace and Friends of Rockaway, I didn’t realize how impactful Sandy truly was, probably because in my own area of the Bronx there wasn’t too much damage aside from a few fallen trees. My entire view on Sandy was overturned once I actually saw the remaining damage and heard the stories of people’s experiences from during the storm. It made me think about the fact that 3 whole years later there’s still people unable to go home. Discovering that these people were still displaced from a hurricane three years ago made me upset, sad, disappointed, inspired, and grateful. Although there are people who still need help, I found comfort in knowing that not everybody has left these people unattended.
Through joining the ASB program I met students from both Pace NYC and Pleasantville, as well as students from California and staff members from Friends of Rockaway. All of these people chose to help those in need and make a difference in the lives of Rockaway’s residents. ASB paired students from Pace with Friends of Rockaway in order to help rebuild a house owned by a man named Cecil Lloyd-Bey for four days straight. During these four days we met other students from a college in California who also came to help rebuild houses decimated by Hurricane Sandy. Together, we learned just the amount of damage Sandy actually did to many of the houses and what it takes to rebuild them. We participated in rebuilding the home by taping, mudding drywall, and sanding all around the house, from the floor to the ceiling. Keep in mind, most of us are college students with little to no experience in construction or painting. During these four days we worked to do as much as we could for Cecil, to help rebuild what Sandy destroyed.
Emerald Rodriguez, Nursing
Alternative Spring Break was such an amazing experience and I would not have wanted to spend my break any way else. Throughout the trip I have met so many great people and feel like I really made an impact on the community. Working with Pace NYC and the Friends of Rockaway was truly inspiring. On day one we were all pretty open to meeting each other and getting to know one another. We all voiced the reasons why we came on the trip and shared the type of change we wanted to make. By the second day it was as if we have known each other forever. The group sang together while sanding and mudding for hours with smiles on our faces. It may have been dirty work, but we did it together. The staff from the Friends of Rockaway were also a big part of the experience. They were our mentors and supported us throughout the time we spent there. Whether it was drawing circles on the wall telling us where to mud or just sitting and talking about their experiences with AmeriCorps they were always very nice and helpful. Even when the day was over and we were tired the group remained positive and engaged. We were huddled together keeping warm while listening to stories about how Sandy ruined homes and lives of many and how Friends of Rockaway helped through it all. I also loved our reflection sessions because it really made me think outside of the box while listening to different point of views. By the third day we thought we would hit a wall, but we were wrong. We were all so energetic working hard to do our best work due to the motivation from the speakers the night before. We even celebrated a birthday over ASB! On the last day the group was exhausted but we all made our best efforts to go out with a bang. Hearing Angela tell us the evolution of Friends of Rockaway and how far they have come was truly inspiring. It was the perfect way to end ASB.
Jelisa Isaac, Marketing and Healthcare Management ’19
The week that I spent in the Rockaways was one that I will cherish greatly during my career here at Pace. Initially I wasn’t sure what to expect upon arriving. I thought that I would simply perform my tasks as needed and at the end of the week go back to my dorm, but it couldn’t have been any more of the opposite. During that week I formed such close friendships with so many people and felt a strong sense of peace as we completed these projects together. By the end of the week, I didn’t think of what we were doing as tasks anymore, I now saw it as us working together to change someone’s life. I am so grateful for this experience and all the wonderful things that came from it, and I hope to attend the homecoming when the house is complete!