Quincy Doccy’s Alternative Spring Break Reflection: Day 4
The Alternate Spring Break has been an awesome experience. For the past two days, our group has been working on a house that was hit by Hurricane Sandy about six years ago. I never thought that after so many years there would still be physical damages in some homes until our group visited the areas that were devastated by the storm and walked inside the house we are currently working on. It was the Newman’s family home and we got a chance to listen to the homeowner’s experience during and after superstorm Sandy. The storm destroyed everything they had, and the water level rose up to six feet on the first floor. I couldn’t imagine being in a home in such condition and not having electricity, power or running water. The family had to move to Brooklyn with relatives because the house was inhabitable and didn’t move back in the house for over eight months.
Today was our last day and it was hard to say goodbye. Tiffany and two other AmeriCorps members led us on the project for the house and they were awesome. Although it was only two days, the work that we were able to accomplish as a group and the bond that we formed made it look like we all knew each other coming on the trip. I woke up and met the group in hotel lobby where we all had breakfast and checked out of our rooms. Although I was feeling tired in the morning, I felt great once we arrived at the site. We’ve been working on finishing touches such as scraping, and painting on the second floor. We’ve learned the different methods to prepare muds and mixtures using different tools. It was a fun environment to work and I think that one the most valuable thing for me was knowing that there are other students who also care about helping the community. I’m happy and proud that was a part of the ASB trip.
We were working with the Saint Bernard Project (SBP) which is a disaster relief organization that helps communities to rebuild and recover from natural disasters throughout the country and in Puerto Rico. This was my first-time volunteering with a relief organization and it opened my perspective on how natural disaster responses are handled and the positive impact that these organizations have in communities. Unfortunately, the non-profit organizations don’t have funds to rebuild all the homes. This made me think of all the families that lost everything and are not getting help from any organization. Furthermore, areas affected by storms may get different responses based on their locations or demographics.
These challenges are beyond the scope of non-profits and should be addressed by the government to ensure consistency. Additionally, lawmakers should implement project solutions after emergency natural disaster responses to sustain and help rebuild communities in the long run. I think that this trip made me more aware of the lack of support by the government for post recovery relief and also why organizations like these are created and the barriers that they go through.