“I began to think about the improvements that could potentially be installed into the disaster recovery system.” Yuliya Palianok, ASB Day 2

1604377_10152275351365606_1331157156_nAlthough physically participating in the rebuilding process was satisfying, throughout the day I could not help but wonder why we are doing what we are doing, for whom and how effective our work is. I really enjoyed our time with Todd, the director of the Friends of Rockaway organization, and three site supervisors, at the end of our workday. Answers to my questions above and others led me to truly believe in our efforts. In addition, I began to think about the improvements that could potentially be (actually need to be) installed into the disaster recovery system.

Todd explained to us the prime concern of the organization. Friend of Rockaways is primarily focused with protecting home ownership. Realizing what the non-profit company works to accomplish made me feel extremely good about working along side them. Todd explained that their organization works to restore homes of low-income families whose houses are crucial assets. Friends of Rockaway rebuild homes for people who need their residences in order to sustain a decent standard of living. Inhabitants of the Rockaways, who are doing “okay” or just above “okay” in mundane circumstances are the people who often need the most help after a devastating storm. Serving such low-income families in the Rockaways helps them to maintain their lifestyle. The goodwill idea that the Friends of Rockaway are putting into action prevents families from going into poverty and multiplying the devastating results of any Superstorm.

In addition, it was interesting to learn the difference between the various aid programs, some of which only provide assistance in the immediate aftermath of a storm and some of which stay and rebuild years after a catastrophe. Beyond the critical initial aid and the reconstruction of communities, I learned that there are other stages in the process of recouping from a natural cataclysm. I was especially curious about sustainability, which I interpret as a way of rebuilding communities in such a way that make the next storm less damaging.  Todd understands that sustainability is important, but at the moment the organization, and the majority of people in the Rockaways are still concerned with getting back on their feet. I feel that people should be encouraged more to participate in future planning and reconstructing of the layout of New York City and the Rockaways, as in the future storms like Sandy will become more common and significantly reshape the geography of our city and our world.