Giving back to society over Spring Break!

I had several students spend their spring break helping with the Hurricane Sandy recovery. Audrey Freeman did an excellent job relating her service to course lessons AND professional development! 

I went up to New York to perform disaster relief inside a home that was hit by hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. We were given the opportunity to serve Remi and Lilia Linauskis for an entire week. Their basement had been flooded with water during the hurricane, filling the room with nearly eight feet of water. The basement had been stripped of all dry wall and flooring. When my group came to their home, we replaced all the drywall and broke away the remainder of the tile that was still on the floor. As we moved from one portion of the room to another, we began mudding the area where drywall had already been put up. My part in all of this was to help drill ray wall in place as well as measuring and cutting out all the sections of drywall to fit. This included measuring around holes and outlets.

This relief project can most be related back to the lesson on climate change. We learned in class that the climate change can affect different areas in different ways. One example of this would be the glaciers in the north. While the glaciers is a source of more than half of the word’s fresh water, the melting of the glaciers into our oceans are causing massive disturbances in our ecosystem. In relation to my service project, climate can be seen through Hurricane Sandy. Places like New York are not used to storm as large as Hurricane Sandy, and therefore are not even close to being prepared for them. The fact that Hurricane Sandy touched down at such a location as New York only goes to demonstrate the Changes in our climates across the globe. 

Another way I can relate my New York service to our lessons is through pollution. As we know here in Florida, a natural disaster such as a hurricane causes massive amounts of pollution to enter into the environment. It was evident as we drove through the city how much trash and debris still lingered in the streets and in the houses even eighteen months after the hurricane came though. A big part of was people had to do was clean up a basement or house of the damaged debris cause by the extreme amounts of flooding. All the floors of the houses had to be taken up and replaced, as did most of the drywall and insulation. As we would travel through the city, large piles of debris could still be seen on the street sides from continuous clean-up efforts, such as that by SBDR or by individual house and business owners. All of this trash and debris is pollution to the environment. Unless it is disposed of properly, it all gets taken away and dumped into an overflowing dumping ground where it is left to sit. And the trash that has been dumped into or has fallen into the rivers pollute the water even further. The already polluted rivers have suffered significantly from Hurricane Sandy because of how little effort people have put into cleaning up the rivers of the waste. 

My final tie between our lessons and my New York trip is through clean energy. Because most rooms we worked on had been completely filled with water and had to have been stripped entirely of all thing electric, we took this opportunity to replace all light bulbs in the houses where we worked with energy efficient ones. Clean energy is a way to help lessen the amount of pollution we put back into the environment. Most of the houses we worked in did not have energy efficiency. By replacing all the light bulbs in all the houses we worked on, we have made significant progress in helping introduce the house owners into moving towards becoming environmentally friendly. Every light bulb we replaced in every house we worked on pushed the local area up onto a small step of becoming more environmentally friendly as a whole.

I did not learn the types of skills I was expecting to. Going up to New York, we had no idea what we were getting our hands into aside from the fact that it would be manual labor and could possibly be outside in thirty degree weather. What I did learn more on was how to work together with a team. In the beginning, the twelve of us had absolutely no idea how to measure, cut, or drill in drywall. By the end of the week, however, not only did we know how to do all of those things individually, but we all learned to work together as a team while doing it. We were able to put together a system where four people would measure and cut for six others who were set and ready to lift and rill the drywall in place either in the ceiling or on the walls. The remaining two people were our official “mudders”. As we moved from placing drywall in the first half of the room to the second, two of our people came behind us and began taping over the cracks between pieces of drywall and mudding over our beginners’ mistakes. As the room progressed and fewer and fewer people were needed to help with the drywall, the jobless people would move to help the mudders, coming behind them and sanding over the dry mud. Everyone had their job, and everyone’s job worked together in a system of harmony. We not only learned to work together, but also to hold our tongues when a sharp word was said or a thoughtless move would cause us to start the system over again. Harmony is a wonderful lesson to remember for later in life, no matter what the job description is. A workplace works only as well as its employees, and where dysfunction cases chaos, harmony allows for success.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting you message awaits approval.