Recovery Isn’t Charity, It’s A Movement

Recovery Isn’t Charity, It’s A Movement

Jazz isn’t the only vibrating soul in New Orleans.
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Twelve years later.

$81 billion in damages with recovery costs worth over $150 billion.

A category 5 hurricane causing 1,833 deaths.

More than 800,000 housing units were destroyed or damaged.

And yes, twelve years later, they still need our help.

I was nine at the time when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Most importantly, I was too young to understand how this storm hijacked the lives of thousands of people and the nation as a whole, and how it continues to do so.

As a twenty-one-year-old now, I figured they were well recovered and the city is back in place. Unfortunately, this was not the scenario once I landed in New Orleans, Louisiana this past Thursday. There was a total of five of us all connected through service and faith. We stayed with the kindhearted Sisters of Charity in the city of New Orleans for our service trip. Our first day of work was on Friday as we drove to the home of Mrs. A.

Mrs. A had lost her home during Katrina as the storm swept away all of her furniture, pictures, and valuable items. All that was left behind were tears, worries, and fear. It was deeply painful to learn that she is still recovering and twelve years later, she still hasn’t been able to be back home. Our eight-hour work day consisted of cutting bases, shelves, installing closet poles, footings, and sanding. These tasks were not easy but the team succeeded.

If you have never done construction, it is an incredible amount of hard work and long hours of labor. Your body fully feels its effects the following days and nights. We all took a moment at one point during the day to realize how our job, there that day, would help bring a family back home. I couldn’t even fathom this idea. The questions began as we wanted to know where they were living the past twelve years? How many times did they move? Why has it taken so long? How is Katrina still alive? How else can we help? What would you do if you were in Mrs. A’s shoes? How many other stories like Mrs. A’s are there?

There are hundreds of families in her shoes. All we know is the amount of resilience and strength she has along with a gallon of faith has kept her spirits going. This opened our eyes to realize that we have a hell lot of work to do. It is taking this long for Katrina, could you imagine how long it will take for Puerto Rico and Texas? The thought is heartbreaking but motivating at the same time.

The site supervisors were young adults from AmeriCorps volunteering for a nonprofit organization called SBP after the St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana. Their mission is “Shrinking time between disaster and recovery.” They live up to this mission every day. This phenomenal nonprofit was founded by Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney after they volunteered in New Orleans but when they saw the slow and inefficient progress made to help this broken community, they stepped up to help. Jazz isn’t the only vibrating soul in New Orleans.

Since 2006, SBP has helped rebuild homes for over 1,300 families with the help of over 180,000 volunteers in over 9 states. They are now in Puerto Rico and many other areas hit by natural disasters. Yes, they move rapidly because if they don’t, then who else will?

Why does this matter? This is a priority for everyone because twelve years will turn into thirty if we don’t get involved. These people are not charity, they are hardworking individuals that were impacted by a natural disaster and could not do anything else but leave to save their lives. They are not simply asking for money, these individuals are in dire need of support, love, understanding, hope, and your gifts and talents to help rebuild.

This is not a charity, this is a movement we are creating towards recovery. A movement to help bring stability, justice, and a sense of safety. It is a long journey ahead but an army in numbers will have a greater impact than a team of one.

Get involved. Get informed. Get out there and lend a hand. Start a fundraiser and start leaving your mark in this world. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you, yes you, helped a family find their way home. Whether it is volunteering with SBP, learning about the Sisters of Charity and their efforts, joining AmeriCorps, or donating $5.00 per month to SBP to aid in recovery efforts instead of you buying your Starbucks coffee each day, the opportunities are endless. You simply have to seek them out.

The experience and memories you make will last a lifetime. The friendships you develop and challenges you overcome will help you grow and nurture you into an empowering being. The skills you acquire will only add value to you. I urge you to take on this movement and continue it in any way that you can. You will thank me later for I am forever grateful to be a part of this.

Whether it is hurricane Katrina, Harvey, Maria, or Sandy, let’s not let this happen again. Instead of twelve years, let us aim for six years. These families need us and require of your manpower and talents to help them recover, rebuild, and welcome them home.

Start making your mark in this world. To learn, volunteer, and donate to the SBP movement and the Sisters of Charity, check out the following links:

http://sbpusa.org

http://schalifax.ca

Cover Image Credit: Karla Saltos

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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