Ayanna Armstrong’s Alternative Spring Break Reflection: Day 2
For spring break, I decided to do something worth remembering. So, I applied for the Alternative Spring Break Project through Pace University. With two days into the trip, I have learned a lot.
For one, I learned that after Hurricane Sandy, citizen’s from the Rockaway’s are still struggling. The media only covered a week but that’s not half of what citizens endured. A speaker tonight, Dan Guarino, told a vivid story of what he personally lived through. He watched from his window the water rising from the shore, higher and higher. There was a fear of when the waves will stop and as he was re-telling the story, it was like he was actually reliving it all over again. He made the point of that after the storm, a lot of people suffered from PTSD and other mental illnesses. Nine people were killed directly during the storm. Older people died in their suits. Many Rockaway homes have been destroyed which resulted in a lot of people fleeing from their homes to go to shelters or stay over a family members house. The citizen’s from the Rockaway’s and the individual volunteers both benefit from the S.B.P. The citizen’s benefit because they’re getting their home back. It’s where they lived most of their lives. The individual benefits because they learn valuable skills that they can apply in their own lives. It also gives them a sense of civic responsibility. Giving back to the community allows students to understand the importance of doing something better than themselves.
One of the women’s house we worked on today, expressed how grateful she was for us helping rebuild her house. Honestly, her story was so heartwarming. She told us that she wasn’t able to stay at the shelter because they don’t allow pets. The pets that she has, were mostly rescued animals. She has several cats and a dog.
Today, the students from both campuses taped down plastic wrap before we started painting the walls that were stripped from paint. It was a new and liberating experience because I’ve never done anything like that before. A fellow student, showed me how to roll the paint brush in a certain way so that when I dipped it in, there would be minor leakage of paint. I always been a believer that the people that you surround yourself with, you can learn something from them. Everyone has a piece of information that you may find valuable in one point of your life.
This Spring Break Trip, was the perfect choice for me and I don’t regret it one bit. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community. I met so many people, with different personalities. I learned a lot from them and I formed new friendships. I also got interviewed by News 1 today, I’m pretty famous now.