By: Charlotte Kasper
Three years ago, when Hurricane Sandy collided with the East Coast, it decimated countless communities
up and down the coast, left 7.5 million people without power and basic necessities, and had a death toll of two hundred and eighty-five people.
Though the damage from Sandy still persists to this day, some Long Beach students have turned their sights to helping another community that was recently damaged by another hurricane. River Bluff High School in South Carolina is currently reeling from the severe flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin. In order to help the River Bluff High School community, student volunteers loaded a truck with relief supplies, which was sent to South Carolina on October 29th, on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
These student volunteers are part of the Group Initiative at the NIKE Work Based Learning Center, which is a completely voluntary community service group from Long Beach’s Alternative High School. In addition to strengthening the community, the NIKE Work Based Learning Center prepares students for their post-secondary lives by helping them develop academic and technical skills beyond the classroom. Mrs. Sadie Garone, one Group Initiative Advisor, is extremely proud of her students, remarking that “It’s empowering for the group of young people to come together and be a positive force. Being part of this group raises maturity levels and challenges the students to see beyond their immediate environment, to explore lifestyles and hardships of others and the impact positive action can have.”
Though the students are vital to the success of this volunteer work, Mr. Fuchs, the Teacher in Charge at the NIKE Work Based Learning Center, is to thank for connecting Long Beach with River Bluff High School, as one of his colleagues is a guidance counselor at River Bluff High School.
Volunteering to aid the River Bluff High School community has proved to be a truly positive force in the lives of the students. To put it simply, as senior and GI corresponding secretary said, “Being a part of the Group Initiative makes you feel good about yourself.”
Of their volunteer efforts, junior and GI project manager Reef Ossandon said, “Because of our experience with [Hurricane] Sandy, after seeing the flooding with Hurricane Joaquin we felt like we needed to reach out and help. Recently, we were able to FaceTime with students from River Bluff to share stories and give some hope for the future, as we know it is desperately needed during this difficult time.”
The NIKE Group Initiative has also begun a fundraising drive which is collecting store and cash gift cards, as well as direct online donations.
For more information on this ongoing project please contact either Sadie Garone or Marcia Mulé at (516) 897-2131 or to donate online visit: www.lexington1.net/educationalfoundation.