Alternative Spring Break: Day 4 – J. Siwiec

The day began earlier than any other, we were due in the cafeteria packed and ready to go by 7:45am. Today was the last day of the Alternative Spring Break and it was extremely upsetting that it was all coming to an end. I was tired from the past couple of days of hard work, but what I have learned and experienced on this trip from volunteering through ‘All Hands’ to hanging out and playing ‘Apple’s to Apple’s’ during the nights with the other volunteers made the whole trip one that I won’t forget. Today, our group of 16 was split into two – one group to ‘Tunnels to Towers’ and the other, the group I was placed in, to go to ‘Project Hospitality’ to volunteer. Upon learning our group placement we left Wagner College waving goodbye to the cafeteria lady who kindly served us each day during our stay there.

When we arrived at the location of ‘Project Hospitality’ we started off by taking clients shopping in the food pantry. This was a great way to interact and speak with some of the people while helping them shop. After the food pantry closed we helped assist with the service and clean up in the soup kitchen. This really opened my eyes to the amount of people that are having a hard time getting back on their feet and need help because of the frequent natural disasters occurring as well as the unstable economy.

Later that day, back at Pace we discussed and reminisced about our ASB experience. In this short week, I went from knocking down drywall, to tearing up floors, agitating mold, placing a vapor barrier in a three foot crawl space while wearing a Hazmat suit (my favorite!), and finally helping out at ‘Project Hospitality.’ Getting to know the other volunteers, getting a personal tour from ‘Tony’ of Staten Island’s Superstorm Sandy damage areas, and having ‘Bill Johnson’ (Staten Island bred activist) come speak with us, has all left an impact and motivated to take a stand for people who have been affected by superstorm Sandy. I plan to write a letter to my elected official to help pass Assemblywoman ‘Nicole Malliotakis’ Bill to prevent unfair disaster insurance practices.

This was a great hands on learning experience that I would love to relive. I recommend and hope that everyone has the opportunity to take part in a similar program.