Students to Rebuild Towns Destroyed by Superstorm Sandy

March 21, 2013

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. MARCH 22, 2013 A dedicated group of students from St. Josephs College (SJC) are opting for an alternative spring break close to home this year, and will spend the week of April 1-5 aiding in recovery efforts for local communities that were destroyed earlier this year by Superstorm Sandy. Partnering with organizations such as the Gray Beards, Tunnel to Towers and Sandy Relief Long Beach, students will stay close to home to work in Long Beach, Far Rockaway, Breezy Point and Staten Island, some of the hardest hit areas in New York and New Jersey.

This past October, Superstorm Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive storm of the 2012 hurricane season, flooded homes, streets, tunnels and subway lines, destroyed property and left thousands without power. The storm affected countless individuals, including many members of the SJC community. Now, nearly five months later, SJC students, alumni, faculty and staff are eager to assist those still suffering and decided to cancel trips they had planned to volunteer in other locations around the country.

Sponsored by SJCs Campus Ministry, the Habitat for Humanity, STRIPES (Students Taking a Role in Positively Empowering Society) and STARS (Students Taking an Active Role in Society) clubs, faculty members from both the Long Island and Brooklyn campuses, selected a group of 26 students that were willing to spend their spring breaks rebuilding structures, moving sand, painting and helping in any way possible after Superstorm Sandy tore through the east coast, leaving particularly severe damage in New York and New Jersey.

"These groups have been working hard to train, plan, organize and fundraise for this years alternative spring break, said Bryan Gill, moderator of the Habitat for Humanity Club and assistant dean of students and student life on the Long Island Campus. "With such a large group of volunteers, we will be able to split into smaller groups and reach more communities and help even more people. We will also spend time reflecting on this experience and using the trip as a mini service learning project.

Previous spring break trips for SJC students have included helping to build a day care center and playground in Nicaragua, building homes in Georgetown, South Carolina and rebuilding homes that were destroyed by tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri.