Alternative Spring Break: Day 3 – Alex

An early start to the day makes the morning beautiful. Waking up at 7am to Brando’s birdcall is, to say the least, a little strange, but it was the moments like this that made my Alternative Spring Break so memorable. After a delicious buffet style breakfast overlooking the morning sun rising over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the time to work was upon us. With our lunch in hand, our group of about 16 students piled into the Pace Vans to begin our second day of volunteering with the All Hands Organization. The day before I was in a group of three preforming mold mediation, but today I was placed into a larger group, of about 10, and given the task of stripping a flood damaged house to nothing but the framework.

We arrived early on scene, and got to work as soon as we got there. Our site advisor was a cheery dude by the name of Dave. Dave was a very nice and uplifting character. My favorite part about him was his ability to make the group want to preform work he would be impressed today. As soon as I met him, I told Dave that I wanted to preform a task that involved a lot of destruction. Dave had the perfect job for me. Dave instructed me to remove the floor from the former bathroom, but that’s just about all he said. For the most part, Dave left it up to me to use the tools he provided and the resources I had available to figure out how to remove layers of flooring to expose the basic framework of the house. At first I was a little confused, but I admire the fact that Dave let me figure things out for myself. I think he purposely did this to help the learning process. There is a bunch of new tools and abilities I learned over the course of the week, but this is just one. I can now say I know how to remove concrete hard wall, and plywood flooring from a bathroom.

Overall the day was a success, we basically doubled the pile of garbage outside of the house in a couple of hours. Everyone was working very diligently and there wasn’t much talking. I played house music from my phone all day, and everyone just bobbed around dancing while doing his or her work. Needless to say, I demolished a lot of stuff so I was very happy. Some stuff I broke I was supposed to and some stuff…I probably should of left alone. For instance, I accidentally cut through a stud holding up a wall. Dave didn’t say much to me about it though; he just cracked jokes at me throughout the day. We got through the day relatively fast, with everyone working at full potential. By about 3:30pm it was time to leave, so we wrapped up all the tools and placed everything back into the van. We went back to Wagner College, and enjoyed another buffet style diner with a guest. A Staten Island resident who was affected by the storm, and former CCAR friend, Sally came out for dinner with us. We all sat together eating, while we asked her a few pressing questions about Hurricane Sandy and the relief effort. Sally was a very sweet lady and it was a pleasure to finally meet the lady that I’ve only heard such good things about.