By Tina Nalepa – Arts Editor
Ten students from the Lasell Says Thank You club traveled to Brigantine, New Jersey over Valentine’s Day weekend. The group participated in volunteering and rebuilding the community from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This is the club’s third trip to New Jersey.
The trip was lead by juniors Katie Rathbun and Phil Skerry. After the two participated on the trip last year, both were the interested in leading the trip this year.
“Last year, I really enjoyed my experience giving back to the community and getting to know everyone on the trip especially the leaders, who inspired me to take the lead in this trip,” said Rathbun.
Lasell partnered with Presbyterian Call Center and Brigantine Church in their volunteer efforts. Saturday was spent volunteering and rebuilding with the organization, A Future with Hope.
The group also helped demolish the house of Kristy Sweeny. Sweeny’s home was destroyed during Hurricane Storm Sandy, forcing her, her mother, and her youngest child to move into a one bedroom house next door.
To help demolish the house, students tore down walls, ripped up floors, and cleaned trash from the yard. Originally, the group was supposed to be at the house for one day and run a 5k for Autism on Sunday, however, due to weather, the race was canceled.
The weather did not stop the group from helping Sweeney and her family, though.
“That day when we were finished with Sweeney’s home, she invited us into her old home to thank us, she said we restored her faith in this generation and for all the hard work we did […], There has already been talk within our group to going back this summer to help build the new house. Kristy touched our hearts by sharing her story and being so genuinely thankful for our help,” Rathbun said.
The club also exchanged contact info with Sweeney so they can be updated on the progress of the renovations to her home.
If students are interested in Lasell Says Thank You, they can participate throughout the year at places in the greater Boston area, including More Than Words Bookstore in Waltham and Cradles to Crayons in Brighton. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.