Spotted in Manila, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hurricane Sandy Day of Service

Today I was so lucky to have spent the day with ten incredible people from Juilliard in Staten Island. This group of dancers, actors, musicians, and staff responded to my school-wide call for volunteers interested in doing rebuilding work on a house destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

I recently learned that more than 22,000 households are still displaced from the storm, and over 75,000 residents were affected in Staten Island a lone. This was a shocking fact to learn since most of Manhattan no longer sees the impact of Sandy and many New Yorkers (including myself) have forgotten there is a lot of recovery work still needed right in our own backyard. I thought it would be a perfect end to the school year for Juilliard's club, ARTreach to host a one-day service project to support the recovery efforts in State Island.

The incredible group of volunteers, Curtis, Matthew, Emily Chelsea, Robert, Victoria, Cleo, Khari, Priscilla, and JJ met at school at 7:45am wide awake and excited for the day. We arrived on the site by 9:00 and were immediately greeted by our contact from Yellow Boots, as well as Sandy's destruction and impact.

Our assignment would be to shovel, rake, and level out over 60 tons of gravel in the basement of this soon-to-be gorgeous house on the beach. The challenging work was very rewarding since we worked together with the future homeowner, Stephanie. We spent the rest of the day doing this exhausting work (with an occasional dance break) until 3:00pm. 

Throughout the day, I noticed the team using many skills related to our art forms in this work that may seem totally unrelated to our art forms. It amazed me that our skills as team workers, and as focused, persistent, and dedicated people could help us so much in this task of construction work, which only yesterday I considered as un-artistic as something gets. It was a great reminder of the power the arts can have on someone's work in any field, even shoveling gravel. 

Thank you so much to the whole team for their sweat, muscles, and compassion. I hope tis projet continues for semesters to come!

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