“I want what I do to have a purpose and to last as long as possible. It’s great to be surrounded by like minded people…” ASB ’17, Days 2 & 3: Daniel Tapia, Jamara Meyers, Priscella Shek, & Ashley Alahakoon

Daniel Tapia ’19, Public Accounting, PLV Campus

Day 2 of our ASB did not exactly go as planned as we had to endure a very tough snowstorm. As soon as we woke up, we knew right off the bat that most of our activities had to take place inside the Surfside Motel. Even searching for a place to eat seemed more complex than it had to be, mainly because most of the dining facilities had closed early due to the storm. Needless to say, I was very disappointed that we wouldn’t have an opportunity to visit the Friends of Rockaway (now referred to as St. Bernard Project) and help keep plans on schedule. However, all of my peers and I had a few bonding activities regarding Sandy. Each peer found and shared an article relating to some of the issues associated with Sandy, such as health, income, development, etc. and gave each other their own insights on said issues. For me, I discussed FEMA’s attempt to retrieve millions of dollars from Sandy victims for the “service” they provided to them. We had also viewed three clips throughout the afternoon, emphasizing the aftermath of Sandy, the victims’ reaction to the “support” they’re receiving from the government, and how we the people can strive for a more sanitary global environment. By 3:30, we had completed all our activities and were free to use the rest of the day to know each other a bit more and engage in more social activities. In terms of food, there were a few facilities that were still open, such as the Cross Bay Diner which we ended up going to again. However, the walk to and back from the diner felt like a journey; we had to walk in puddles and climb over mountains of snow, some parts of the sidewalks acted like ice rinks so at times we had to walk very slowly, not to mention the harsh winds that were blowing our bodies away. I’m just very relieved we were able to make the best out of an otherwise gloomy day and I cannot wait to engage in working with the SBP and actually making a big difference.

Jamara Meyers ’20, Health Care Management, PLV Campus

Day two of ASB and we’re snowed in! Despite the unfavorable weather, we still made today a productive day. Today we watched two eye opening documentaries. One on how people around the world are fighting their local governments to make a change and stop the pollution of air and water. The other on how Americans affected by hurricane Sandy had to battle insurance companies. I found both films to be quite interesting because they offered a perspective that many people don’t know about or consider. People often have an “out of sight out of mind” mindset, which isn’t how we should view this world. When all is said and done, we all feel the effects of nuclear power plants being built in India or massive pipelines that break. We all share this Earth and need to take better care of it rather than destroy it out greed of money. The documentaries, presented the power people have when they utilize it. However, in the same token they have highlighted the effects of capitalism and how a capitalistic society thrives of greed despite those in need around them. There is still hope for our society as long as we stand together and fight the massive industries that thrive off the suffering of innocent people.

Priscella Shek ’20, Environmental Science, NYC Campus

Today was my first experience remodeling a part of a house that was not the wall. We were given the task to redo the floor tiles in the basement because the previous arrangement wasn’t secure and was easily damaged when the house flooded. We had to move the furniture to the room that was finished by previous volunteers. We began removing the baseboard on the bottom of the wall in order to rip the old tiles. Prior to today, I realized that I underestimated the amount of accuracy that goes into remodeling, building, and installing. I have had experience where my family would hire workers to fix a problem but, they end up doing a quick and lousy job just to get the money and to get it over with. It is not a good mindset and I didn’t want to show that kind of effort in anything I do. I want what I do to have a purpose and to last as long as possible. It’s great to be surrounded by like minded people who wanted to work on a task that has been pushed so far behind. The house is currently more than halfway complete and we had to leave because we used up all the tiles (PROGRESS!!). It made me feel good inside because I put all my effort into accurately measuring and cutting the length and width of the tile and placing it next to each other as tight as possible. It also feels nice knowing that I made good use of my time to give back to the people who have been hopelessly struggling financially and waiting on these government funded organizations that claim that they will “help” but ended up commit fraud and delaying the reconstruction of their homes for over 4 years now.

Ashley Alahakoon ’17, Applied Psychology and Human Relations, PLV Campus

Hey it’s me Ashley from the @CCARPLV Instastory! So, if you did not watch the story on Instagram…1) follow @CCARPLV and @CCARNYC, 2) watch the story, and/or 3) I will just tell you how day 3 of Alternative Spring Break went! Today the group split up between two homes: one that needed flooring and another that needed new walls. I went to the house that needed new walls and boy, was it a learning experience! I never knew how to drill a hole into the wall or put up drywall for that matter, but the site coordinators were amazing teachers and after much of trial and error, we got the hang of it (now we’re pros)! After a rather short day at the site (or maybe it was just time flying by because of all the fun), we went to dinner with a reporter named Dan. He told us the story of how it felt to actually be on site during Hurricane Sandy and what he saw throughout the whole storm. He discussed how he began to see the water flowing in more and more, not knowing how long this would go on for. The idea of uncertainty in this specific situation would leave me in shock as I’m sure most, if not all, of the victims of the hurricane felt. Dan also explained how a lot has changed and is still changing thanks to all of the volunteers that come out from time to time. He told us that after the storm and water calmed down, he saw his town crumbled into little pieces. Everyone was not only in desperate need of help, but they were also blocked out from the world due to electricity loss. Imagine seeing just your neighborhood dead with no sign of relief any time soon. Dan’s story definitely made me feel ready to go back to work and hopefully help make a difference in people’s lives. Tomorrow is our last day and I am sad to go so soon, but I absolutely see myself coming back in the near future to finish what I started. I hope you all enjoyed my Instastory on CCARPLV!