Skip to main content

The Meaning of Service Post-Sandy: AmeriCorps Members Reflect



Members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps have been key to the volunteer efforts in Red Hook, one of the New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and home to the Red Hook Community Justice Center, our AmeriCorps' program's home base. Here is their story in their own words:

Gregory Mason:  I was really excited about being able to give of my time and not looking for nothing in return, I mean it just touched my heart to see the relief on people faces when I delivered the packages to them. I never in my life would had thought that it would be so fulfilling doing volunteer work and seeing how many people came out to help. I always had love for people no matter who they are and to be apart of something so wonderful is a blessing, and I'm proud to be an AMERICORPS member.

Danny Conyers: On Wednesday October 31st, a day after hurricane Sandy I came to Red Hook seeing the damage it had taken. After seeing the devastation left behind by the storm I knew there would be a lot of work to be done. Residents lost power, heat, and running water by the storm but manage to stay calm and work together during the struggle. Volunteering with Red Hook Justice Center, the National Guard and other community based organizations we manage to serve over 500 residents daily with food, water and other supplies. Making home deliveries to home bond residents, walking up 14 stories in the dark to residents who couldn’t leave their homes because of medical reasons or didn’t feel safe coming out of there apartment. The relief effort was a lot of work but worth it, as residents managed to get what they needed till things are restored. Volunteering during the aftermath of the storm it felt good to serve the residents in this time of need.

Salam Mustafa: Moving to New York from California was an adjustment for me and I did not know what to expect from New York and the AmeriCorps experience. I had only been in the Big Apple for a few months when Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri state area. I was lucky enough to not lose power or water but many New Yorkers were not as lucky. From the television and radio, I heard reports of fires destroying neighborhoods and families displaced with nowhere to go. It wasn’t till I got the call from Viviana that the AmeriCorps members were going to Red Hook to help the National Guard. As part of the volunteer efforts we helped distribute food and water, and make home deliveries to the elderly and disabled. It was very gratifying to see the warm response from a community and to be greeted by huge smiles and sometimes even hugs.Though many were without water or electricity, our emergency meals and outreach comforted them in the sense that they were not going to be ignored and it helped raise community morale among all residents of Red Hook.  For me personally, I was humbled by the experience and proud that I was able to be part of history and contribute my efforts to help New Yorkers get back on their feet.

Rebecca Schwartz: Volunteering in Red Hook and at other sites after Hurricane Sandy was an eye opening and heart warming experience. Prior to volunteering in Red Hook, I sat paralyzed in front of the news watching my city shut down and be overwhelmed. It was very painful to watch but feel helpless in the face of such tragedy so close by, so I jumped at the opportunity to help. The differences between those in the National Guard and each other group of volunteers diminished and we were just people working together to be stronger than we each could be individually. It was wonderful to be surrounded by other individuals who wanted to help as much as I did, and I think we were all inspired by one another to get as much as we could done.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hasta Luego Benny!

...we'd rather say until later than good-bye. We just learned that one of our amazing court officers, Lt. Benny Castillo, is being transferred to another court. Lt. Castillo has worked at the Justice Center for 5 years. He was always a great leader, and always went beyond the call of duty to lend a helping to staff and residents. The Justice Center is also gearing up to send off Lt. Bobby Vitucci (more on that to come). You can read the article below to see what makes our court officers so special and important to the Justice Center.

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121220/red-hook/red-hook-court-officers-dole-out-hundreds-of-toys-kids

Lt. Benny Castillo
Judge Calabrese thanks Lt. Castillo for his service

Thank You AmeriCorps Members

Last Friday we held a graduation for our AmeriCorps members, the last class of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Over the past year, the members have served throughout the Center for Court Innovation's New York City projects at various positions within our courts and community programs. They served as a bridge to the communities we work in, and provided valuable support to our projects and various initiatives. The members will be missed and we wish them the best in all their future endeavors.

Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director

Standing Room Only at the Graduation
Declan Walsh, Director of the John Jay College Office of Community Outreach, presents Al Siegal and Jessica Colon with a plaque in recognition of the Center for Court Innovation's partnership with the college.
Members from the Brownsville Community Justice Center Receive their Certificates
Members from the Crown Heights Mediation Center Receive their Certificates
Staff and Members from the Harlem Community Justice Cen…

Red Hook Youth Court Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony

On June 16th, 2015 the Red Hook Youth Court opened its doors to family, friends, guest and staff for our Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony where we acknowledged our members for their hard work and dedication. Honorable Judge, Alex Calabrese was the Key Note speaker of the ceremony. He is a huge supporter of the Red Hook Youth Court and truly believes in the mission of the program. We had a full house, with laughs, smiles and hugs!

10 members are moving on to other endeavors, in which 4 of those 10 are graduating seniors from High School who will be starting college this Fall. 10 Members will be staying on to serve as mentors and 10 newly inducted youth court members who were sworn in by Sergeant William Bauman, of the Unified Court System will all be sitting on the Youth Court and beginning their journey this Summer. Additionally, Jamilah Daniels and Ann Doc, graduating members from Youth Court and High School wrote speeches on their experiences within the program, the gratitu…