“People who have realized that the magnitude of the problem is not as important as the power they have when they work together.” ASB ’16 Day 3: Julisa Smith, Paula Castelblanco, & Yesim Ekici
Hurricane Sandy was a Superstorm that took place almost 4 years ago. In many people’s eyes, Hurricane Sandy was a Superstorm that has been over almost 4 years now. It is a real eye opener to go to the Rockaways and still see the effect of the storm still so prominent and in your face. It’s a sad, sad fact but it’s also painfully true.
Volunteering in the Rockaways this week has been amazing. I have been with an amazing group of people doing great things. I spent my spring break well and I’m extremely proud of myself. I have learned a lot over these past couple of days. I have learned how to sand, how to mud and how such a service has the power to change someone’s life tremendously. Mr. Lloyd-Bey is extremely appreciative for the help he has been receiving and I am delighted to give it. His family how was destroyed in a devastating act of nature and he refused to leave it. It has been in his family for generations and he is determined to keep it going. Mr. Lloyd-Bey should have that option. I am over the moon happy that I was able to be a part of this process.
I will be taking away a lot from this experience. For example, how down to earth generous people are, especially my group. We are a bunch of kids from all over that came together to help in someone’s crisis. It’s a really rewarding feeling knowing that you spent a few of your days trying to make someone’s life better.
Being part of ASB16 was an opportunity to be exposed to a different perspective of what Sandy was. It is hard to believe that even after three years there are still buildings that haven’t been fixed where Sandy hit. On the streets of the Rockaways, you can still see the struggle and necessity of help. However, due to the different people who shared their experiences with us during the time we were there, I was able to learn not just about the tragedy, but about the good side of this catastrophic event. It’s hard to believe that there was a positive side, but there was, and still is. There is no doubt that it would have been better that this never happened, but the way in which people reacted to it has a lot to say. The power that a group of people with the will to make a change and give a hand to others is more powerful than I ever realized, and what happened and still happens in the Rockaways every day is a great example of it. Listening to Dan’s story at The Wave newspaper, when he described how everyone helped each other after Sandy despite who they were or if they have met before, was amazing. The process of recovering what they had lost as a community has been unique.
After these few days of being there, I realized that the same will and intentions are the ones that get the people who belong to Friends of Rockaway to work every day. People who have realized that the magnitude of the problem is not as important as the power they have when they work together. More than the actual work we did in the house, this experience helped me to realize that the power of a group of people acting together for a goal is amazingly big and that knowing and transmitting that idea can make a huge impact; not only acting after an unfortunate event, but before it happens. Hearing about Friends of Rockaway during the last days also helped me to realize that a small idea can become a huge initiative once it is followed by the people who dare to believe on its power and purpose. Realizing that this week we all as a team became part of that group of people that dared to believe in their impact, made this a very meaningful experience for me.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take an environmental class and I can definitely say I fell in love with everything that I learned. The knowledge that class gave me is part of the reason I wanted to apply for Alternative Spring Break. I learned in this course about the climate change that has been going on in this world and how it is affecting this Earth, our Earth. It is true climate change had something to do with Hurricane Sandy and its horrific impact. It is also why we are still cleaning up years later. The impact of Sandy ruined many homes, including my aunt’s. I remember walking through her ruined home with water all over and the basement filled to the brim. I remember seeing the yellow tape they put around the home so no one could go in. And, worst of all, I remember her face when she thought she had lost everything. The effects of Sandy have impacted people everywhere and from the knowledge I have gained I do believe it is from climate change. Climate change is what brought Sandy on to begin with, it is why it was as bad as it was, and why we still see the impacts today. The sea levels rising have caused the beaches to deplete even now. It is the reason the homes by the shore were impacted so much. Some people may not believe in climate change, but the facts are everywhere. Climate change is one thing that people need to open their eyes and see or else this will continue to happen and will get worse over time.