January 23, 2013 | Student Feature
January 23, 2013 (New York, NY): On January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, first-year students Gibsy Lino and Alfajo Jallow volunteered eight hours to support the ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in the Rockaways as part of the college’s MLK Day of Service and in partnership with New York Cares.
Despite sub-degree temperatures, Gibsy and Alfajo found the experience to be enriching and rewarding. Gibsy had mixed emotions because some residents, including the ones she was assigned to, were still without the basic necessities three months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area. She noted that “the experience was very touching but at the same time it was amazing. It was very touching because it was upsetting to see that after three months since the hurricane many people were still without power, heat, and hot water. Some homeowners like the one I went to still had to take their families to someone else’s house to take a shower.”
On the other hand, Alfajo is proud that the homeowners were obviously excited to see the volunteers. He worked indoors and outdoors and felt honored to be included as a service leader on a very symbolic MLK Day. Both students also recognized that their effort was a perfect opportunity for them as immigrants to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. They acknowledged that the MLK Day of Service empowered them to help strengthen bonds by moving them closer to Dr. King’s vision and spirit of a beloved community.
Gibsy added, “I was there for eight hours and every second, every minute, and every hour was worth it. I know what is like to go through a hurricane, and that is why I would like to do this again. More importantly, I would like to do it for those families that are trying to make it every single day. The same families, at the end of the day, were able to say, ‘thank you so much for your help.’ ”
About New York Cares
New York Cares was founded by a group of friends who wanted to take action against serious social issues that faced our city in the late 1980s. Finding few options to help, they created their own organization to address the problems from the ground up. New York Cares is now the city’s largest volunteer organization, running volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies, and public schools. Today’s volunteers share its founders’ vision that we all have a role to play in making our city a better place. For more information, visit www.newyorkcares.org
About The New Community College at CUNY
The New Community College at CUNY is an urban public institution located in midtown Manhattan that offers associate degree programs in an environment that nurtures student success. Our goal is to increase the graduation rate for our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. The NCC connects field experiences with classroom learning in a structured and supportive environment. All students begin in the Summer Bridge Program and engage full-time in a city-centered first-year experience before starting their major coursework in one of six degree programs. Instructional teams comprising faculty members, student success advocates, graduate coordinators, peer mentors and library staff create a rich classroom environment complemented by an integrated advisement program to help students stay on the path to graduation. To learn more about The New Community College at CUNY, visit www.ncc.cuny.edu.