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"The Wave" featured Pace University Students in "Rebuild Crew Comes To Belle Harbor"

03/16/2018

"The Wave" featured Pace University Students in "Rebuild Crew Comes To Belle Harbor"

Pace University students chip in on local relief effort

As many college students indulged in the sun and sand of Cancun, Los Cabos and other tourist destinations during their spring break, a group of community-minded Pace undergraduates opted to spend their week contributing in the rebuild of a Belle Harbor residence that hasn’t yet fully recovered from the onslaught of damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy.

Starting on Tuesday, March 13, the 16 students spent three days toiling at the Newman residence at Beach 126th Street, where they installed new sheetrock in the basement that had been flooded with eight-feet of water during Superstorm Sandy over five years ago. The work also included the addition of new insulation along with painting and finishing upstairs.

The basement was still attracting mold, according to St. Bernard’s Project (SBP) Disaster, Relief and Recovery Community Engagement Manager Angela Calabro, who was at the site monitoring the work along with two of her supervisors and two Pace program coordinators, Ashley Kueneke and Tyler Kalahar.

The homeowners were able to get some money from their flood insurance company to address their living space on the main floor, according to Calabro, but they weren’t able to obtain any financial assistance to address the other areas of the two-story dwelling.

The homeowners were able to get some money from their flood insurance company to address their living space on the main floor, according to Calabro, but they weren’t able to obtain any financial assistance to address the other areas of the two-story dwelling.

Pace University’s Annual Spring Break (ASB) effort has agreed to lend a hand in the renovation of homes, like the Newman property, by teaming up with SBP by allowing students to perform much-needed volunteer work for low-to-moderate homeowners on the peninsula.

“SBP coordinates all the contracts. So, once we leave here, another group comes in,” explained Kueneke, who along with Kalahar, select and help train the ASB applicants before driving the students to their work sites in school vans.

“They sign up for this because they’re interested in volunteering and they want to get more involved in the community,” continued Kueneke. “We’re from this area, so they get to learn a little bit about the Rockaways. It’s an opportunity to give back and learn a little about disaster relief. We talk about the impacts of race and class, and so it’s an educational experience.”

ASB has been helping in the relief effort on the peninsula since 2012 by providing new rotations of student workers, who spend eight-hour days tearing down old walls, ceilings and floors as well as replacing damaged infrastructure, under the supervision of SBP personnel that remain on-site to ensure that the work is performed both properly and efficiently.

Calabro informed The Wave that the Newman home is on-schedule for a March 30 completion, and unlike Build-It-Back contractors that specialize in elevating residential properties, SBP is a non-profit organization that focuses on interior work.

SBP, which is reportedly the only remaining rebuilding agency, is a nationwide outfit that most recently partnered with NFL star J.J. Watt in rebuilding homes in Houston and is actively contributing to the disaster relief taking place in Puerto Rico. The group came into existence 13 years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Read the full article.