The Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement (SLCE) is planning its sixth annual spring break volunteer trip for students to rebuild homes in New Orleans damaged by Hurricane Katrina from Feb. 28 to March 5.
Students will work with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, an organization that buys properties, builds, rebuilds or renovates them and then sells them to teachers.
Elizabeth Mazorowicz, graduate assistant for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, is organizing the trip.
“It’s not just volunteering, it’s not just hanging out with people,” she said. “It’s learning about a different community and being able to contribute to the positive change in that community.”
A group of teenagers started Youth Rebuilding New Orleans 10 years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit. They market homes specifically for teachers because they believe that the backbone of a community is education.
Mazorowicz said that even though Hurricane Katrina happened 10 years ago, it’s still important for volunteers to continue to return to New Orleans.
“You don’t recover quickly from a natural disaster that wipes through an entire community,” she explained. “After a hurricane hits, things don’t magically pop up. Families had to evacuate, and everything was completely ruined. You just don’t go back to that and have it be OK. It takes years to build a community.”
Marybeth Lillwitz, sophomore sociology major, is one of two site leaders for the trip who will receive training before the trip and assist with planning.
“You get a different perspective on service. When you go on a trip, you can really give it your all,” Lillwitz said. “It’s a lot different from going on a service day for a few hours than when you’re dedicating a whole week to service.”
Lillwitz is excited to see how Youth Rebuilding New Orleans operates and to explore New Orleans.
“I think students learn so much more from being out in the community and being exposed to different types of people than just from sitting in their classroom,” she said.
Even though the purpose of the trip is to help rebuild the community, students will get to experience New Orleans after their work for the day is done.
“New Orleans is an incredible place with an incredible culture,” said Mazorowicz. “There are museums to explore. We’re staying near the French Quarter.”
The New Orleans Spring Break trip is only open to NSU students. Students who go on the trip will receive training in construction. Students can sign up online at orgsync.com/45785/forms/176480. The cost is $290. Transportation, lodging and meals will be provided. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 1.
For more information, contact the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement at SLCE@nova.edu or 954-262-7195.
Photo credit: Photo printed with permission from Elizabeth Mazorowicz