Alternative Spring Break: A Week To Remember
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Alternative Spring Break: A Week To Remember

One good deed, can cause a ripple effect.

Alternative Spring Break: A Week To Remember
Via Ayanna Armstrong

For my first spring break at college, instead of going to the beach or out of state, I decided to do something worth remembering which is why I applied for the Alternative Spring Break Project through Pace University. The purpose of this trip is to do community service and make a difference in the lives that were impacted forever by Hurricane Sandy. Students from both the New York City and the Pleasantville Campus who got accepted, spend four days in Jamaica, Queens and help rebuild some of the houses that got destroyed during the hurricane. It's shocking to discover that the media, only covered the disaster for a short period of time when there are still, five years later, people recovering from the storm whether it's financially, or mentally.

During the four days of the trip, I have learned a lot. Many homes near Belle Harbor Rockaway 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. One night, a speaker, Dan Guarino, spoke to the students from Pace University about his own personal experience. He told a vivid story of what he lived through during the Hurricane. Guarino told us 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. The elderly died in their sleep.

The woman who's home we worked on this week, 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. All the pets that she has, were mostly rescued animals. In total, she has several cats and two dogs. We sat around in her living room for a while and just connected on a personal level. I thought it was authentic that we were able to meet a “victim” from hurricane Sandy. It puts your mindset into a whole new perspective. I realized that I was fortunate that where I lived, I didn’t have to go through half of what others endured. Citizen’s from Rockaway and other towns, had to go through days, weeks even without electricity or power, while the nearby towns who didn’t get hit as hard, still went on with their lives unaware of the bordering town.

Overall, the trip to the Rockaways was the perfect trip for me. It was a great opportunity to give back to the community and gave me a better understanding of civic responsibility. It also allowed me to grasp the importance of doing something bigger than myself. By doing one positive deed can cause a ripple effect. I'm also grateful because met people, with different backgrounds and personalities. I have always been a huge believer in the fact that the people you meet, you will learn something from them. After a long day of work, every night a collective group of students and I bonded by speaking on our own personal experiences we've encountered. It was a memorable experience and I loved it. If I had the option, I would choose this every time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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