“With our help, the Friends of Rockaway can then help more families rebuild their homes.” Brittany-Ann Polini, ASB Day 2

Pace ASB students on Day 2 working with Friends of Rockaway

Today was the first day of volunteering with the Friends of Rockaway organization. The group I was with went to work on the house donated to Friends of Rockaway by the local temple.

Throughout the day it was so amazing to work together with other Pace students I had never met before. We all got along with such ease and we worked together like a unified team. We accomplished a lot in our first day! We laid down plywood on the entire first level of the home, and started the drywall process.

After a very productive full day of work we met with Todd, the director of Friends of Rockaway. We had an open discussion about Hurricane Sandy, the recovery and rebuilding process. While talking with Todd as well as the site supervisors we learned a lot of the issues that the community are still facing today. It was eye opening to understand the role of organizations like FEMA and The Red Cross. I was not aware of the severe lack of funding for non-profit organizations such as Friends of Rockaway. Not only is the funding lacking for non-profit organizations, but also the money that has been allotted for Sandy relief and recovery by the government has still not been put to use. As Todd explained to us today, the funding allotted to the Build it Back foundation is supposedly to be distributed by the end of March, with hopes of construction to begin in April.

I hope that in the short week that we are here, we can make a difference to the community and to the Friends of Rockaway organization. With our help, the Friends of Rockaway can then help more families rebuild their homes. I also hope that with the exposure through our social media and word of mouth we can influence more people to volunteer. Not only that, but also I hope that we can spread the word about the mission of Friends of Rockaway to families who may not be aware that this organization exists.

Thank you Friends of Rockaway and Pace University for giving me the opportunity to give back to the beach community I have being going to my whole life!