From March 14- 21, you might think most students would have been celebrating spring break by traveling to different parts of the world or by relaxing at home, but think again. In actuality, some students traveled to Louisiana and helped to rebuild houses that have never been restored since hurricane Katrina. The devastating hurricane may have occurred back in 2005, but it was named one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. Unfortunately, the hurricane killed 1,836 people. The amount of damage that occurred during hurricane Katrina amounted to about $81 billion.
Even though spring break was only one week long, C.W. Post students made a big difference in peoples lives during their time there. This was something I found admirable and decided to investigate it further, so I spoke with Jeanette Murray, who is the volunteer coordinator for the program and the assistant director of religious life.
I was not aware of how bad of a state Louisiana was still in after hurricane Katrina and the other two hurricanes that followed. Jeanette informed me that after the hurricane, people were inevitably left homeless, priceless possessions were ruined and houses were destroyed. Some people couldn’t afford to rebuild their homes, so they ended up leaving Louisiana, and their homes, behind.
This trip was advertised in the chapel, in flyers around campus, and, mostly, in Hillwood Commons. It cost around $400 and about 8 -10 students participated in this alternative spring break.
By way of these students going to rebuild hurricane ravished, abandoned homes, they have given some people, who had no homes or were living in shelters, a place to stay. The people living in Louisiana have been through a lot, so by volunteering to help, the students from C.W. Post gave these people a chance to start their lives over. After speaking with Jeanette and others who attended the trip, I began to wish I had taken the opportunity to go myself. I was truly shocked to hear that some parts of Louisiana are still suffering from this disaster, and if I took it upon myself to go, I also could have made a difference. It will take a few years to fully restore Louisiana, but this was a great opportunity to see this wonderful, lively state with all that it has to offer and to help people in the process.
For those of you who think that alternative spring break takes away your vacation, you might want to think again. This is an opportunity that doesn’t really come around too often, and the personal benefit, aside from feeling like you’ve left your philanthropic mark on the world, is that you get to do it with a few friends. All it takes is one person to step up and help, and others will follow suit. We can make a big difference in the world together. So, keep a look out for the next opportunity in fall 2011 to go to a different location and help make a difference.