- Unversity of California - Riverside
- Harvard University
- SUNY Albany (a Jewish Funds for Justice group)
- Colorado University, Boulder
Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
- Xavier University
- Darmouth College
- University of Wisonsin, River Falls & Madison campuses
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Wyoming
- Iowa State University
- Hamilton College
- University of Minnesota
- University of South Dakota
- Hamilton College Alumni
Many worked on education-focused projects, such as tutoring, helping with the Boys & Girls Club after school programs, working with Nichols Elementary's after-school program, making lunch for the teachers at the Center for New Opportunities and Pass Road Elementary, as well as the usual array of projects.
Spring Breakers began the second phase of construction on the Lameuse St house that was started in December 07. The house passed its framing inspection, which meant the insulation and dry wall was ready to roll. Fantastic!
Other projects were working out at Moss Point, helping to prepare the baseball diamonds for use, as well as the not-so-glamorous-but-very-important cleaning of drainage ditches to reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rains and the next hurricane to hit the area.
A little closer to home, out at Gulf Islands National Seashore, volunteers began helping restore bird habitats. Out west, still on the environmental kick, we had volunteers doing live oak restoration in Pass Christian.
One of the other great projects that folks enjoyed was the making and distribution of easter baskets for the elderly. It's something that the residents love and gets our folks connected with the community they came to serve.
It's not all work, though. We had a crawfish boil and bonfire on the beach. We had about 100 people show up, learn to eat crawfish, marvel at the spiciness that a corn cob can absorb, and enjoy the warmth of a fire when the March winds blow.
For the service learning group, we held a panel discussion that focused on education issues. Teachers from Pass Road Elementary and the Center for New Opportunities came to talk to the schools who participated. One of the compelling personal reflections came from Ms. Drakeford, a kindergarten teacher at Pass Rd. Elementary. She said that her kids were 2 and 3 years old when Katrina hit. For the next year and a half to two years, there were no parks and no places for the kids to play. So the kids don't just play spontaneously. They sit around or play on the computer, but they don't run and skip like 5 year olds should.
That observation just brings home how critical each aspect of the work we do is. You can just work on a single aspect of the community's recovery to the neglect of the others. Community is not so much a place, but a state of mind, a concept, a feeling. You can't necessarily touch 'community', but you can see the effects of its presence. We help build those invisible linkages that become the basis for community.
Thank you to everyone who came down during your Spring Break to take part in not only rebuilding the Gulf Coast, but just as importantly building community.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So, this week, we have fewer Spring Break volunteers. Rather than 160+, we have about 120 or so. A new AmeriCorps NCCC team (Eagle 4) arrived on Saturday, overlapping with Silver 3 who has been here for a couple weeks already.
This week we have:
- Eastfield College
- E. Kentucky University
- Texas A&M
- Truman State University
- University of Vermont
- Indiana University School of Medicine
- Penn State University
Rain continues to throw a monkey wrench in well-laid plans, but we adapt and over come.
- The College of William and Mary
- Grand Valley State University
- Northeastern University
- The University of Virginia (a.k.a., Mr. Jefferson's University & my alma mater)
- Chadron State University
- Regis University
- James Madison University - winners of the Tuff Stuff Challenge
- Michigan State University
- Boston College
Though the week started out with a bit of a drill - tornado threats, tents, and Alternative Spring Break (ASB) volunteers don't mix - and folks were tired, the week went well and we accomplished quite a bit. During the week, we focused on environmental projects. This included everything from removing garbage from Turkey Creek in Gulfport, to cleaning up baseball fields in Moss Point, to cleaning and clearing trails at the Harmony House in Gulfport.
With so many folks in the building, there were of course last minute challenges to over come. However, Delia, our Spring Break planner did a fabulous job preparing and anticipating most of the potential challenges. We at Hands On definitely appreciate that you all chose to put your volunteer efforts to work on the Gulf Coast. As you saw, we still need help down here.
Hopefully, you learned a little more about the South, the challenges the Gulf Coast faces in its recovery from the storm, and met some new, like-minded folks.