October 31, 2013 | News
The Far Rockaway community is making great progress toward rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. Volunteers, including many CUNY students, have made a tremendous impact in helping people there to regain their lives. New buildings are being constructed. Old ones are being remodeled, and landscaping projects are bringing life back to the Rockaways. This summer, students from the Malave Leadership Academy (MLA) CUNY Corps continued their commitment to help Far Rockaway by partnering up with the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) and the University of Massachusetts, Boston ProjectServe Program. (RWA is a nonprofit organization committed to revitalizing the environmental health of the Rockaways.)
UMASS-Boston students conducted a seed donation drive and sent the collected seed packets to MLA to plant in affected areas. The initiative was a follow-up to their work last December cleaning out homes with MLA students and the City College’s Engineers Without Borders; and it demonstrated the shift of the volunteer efforts from clean-up to rebuilding and neighborhood revitalization.
CUNY Corps students spent hours canvassing the grassy areas in Far Rockaway to replace old damaged trees with new vibrant ones, and planted beautiful flowers in a community garden and areas designated for environmental rehabilitation. Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder commended the work: “Nearly 85% of my district was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and it was through the kindness of strangers that we survived. I applaud the students of the Malave Leadership Academy of the City University of New York and UMASS-Boston, ProjectServe for their excellent work in assisting our communities with Sandy relief. These remarkable students, like many other volunteers, have been instrumental to the reconstruction of our community to become more resilient for the future.” CUNY Corps students also expressed their pride. “I had both a learning and informative experience,” said CUNY Corps student Tricia Warren. “I gained knowledge about environmental rehabilitation and enjoyed meeting and working with the other volunteers.” As a result, the Malave Leadership Academy reports that it has cultivated a great partnership with RWA and will continue to work with them to rebuild a stronger and vibrant community.