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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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