Friday, January 30, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Stevenson Univeristy

Stevenson Univeristy, Mission: I'm Home, holds a place near and dear the SBP's heart. These long time volunteers have been bringing students to the Big Easy for many years. We asked them a bit more about why they keep choosing to volunteer with the St. Bernard Project.

"The Experiences in the past are consistently rewarding. The site supervisors always support the volunteers thought the taste and kept the work fun. The SBP mission is honest, clean, and absolutely making a difference. We are lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside SBP to rebuild New Orleans."

Stevenson Univeristy worked on two different houses, both in the mold remediation phase, which includes a three-step process. This is a critical stage of construction and ensures that the homes will not have to be torn back to the studs again. We asked them what they enjoyed most about coming to New Orleans and working with SBP. This is what they said.

"Meeting the Homeowner."

“Hearing the stories of where the AmeriCorps members are from and what brought them to SBP.”

“Understanding, and seeing the history of Katrina and New Orleans.”

“Getting to know people from my school that I didn’t know before this trip.”

“I didn’t think I could be this happy bring this gross.”

“Learning new skills and understanding the importance of what we are doing.”

“Using my two hands to make a difference."

We asked them what they would tell others who are looking to volunteer to rebuild New Orleans and the lives of the people who live here. They advised to:

"Come open minded and remember that every step matters.”

“You’re not just building a home, you're rebuilding a life.”

“Bring music! Motto of Mission I’m home - Eat. Work. Dance.”

“Get ready to have your life changed.”

When asked how this was different than other volunteer experiences they had, they collectively agreed that it was a personal experience, and they left feeling fulfilled, completely understanding the difference you are truly making. Thanks again Stevenson - we'll see you next year!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Farmers Insurance


St. Bernard Project- New Jersey recently had the pleasure of working with Farmers Insurance. Farmers has been a vital partner to the St. Bernard Project in our rebuilding efforts. Farmers has been sending up to five of their employees every week to help with our rebuilding efforts. For 2015 Farmers has doubled down on the recovery effort by extending employees volunteer stints by an extra week! This dedication to our recovery efforts has been absolutely incredible, without committed and passionate partners like Farmers this important work might not get done.

Last week, was the start of what we know will be another fruitful year of partnering with Farmers. We had three fantastic volunteers who hailed from all over the Mid-Atlantic Area spend a week with with us rolling up their sleeves and getting their boots dirty. They completed various construction tasks, including: hanging drywall; mudding; and spackling. These hands-on activities allowed the volunteers to gain a true understanding of how big an impact volunteer labor can make in the rebuilding process.

One of the members mentioned how great it was to really see the tangible impact of their efforts. Another commented how exciting it was to gain new skills, while at the same time contributing to a valuable service towards the community. All of these individuals put a strong emphasis on taking the opportunity to get involved with SBP’s important work. Volunteering with SBP in New Jersey was a unique experience for the group not only because this line of work was new to them but also because it was the 1st time many of them felt they were really making a difference through volunteering. Serving with SBP in New Jersey, provided Farmers Insurance members the chance to see 1st hand the challenges that still lie ahead, but most importantly the experience demonstrated the tremendous value volunteers have on the community.

Thanks for all your hard work Farmers Insurance!

To volunteer with the St. Bernard Project visit:

Written by: Michael Spinello

Friday, January 16, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Aon

St. Bernard Project - New York was happy to welcome back one of our repeat volunteer teams, Aon, for another day of service in the Rockaways. The local branch of Aon, a professional services company, has partnered with SBP - NY since 2013; we asked Dessi, a representative of the group, to share the team’s thoughts on their experience with SBP thus far.

What drew your team to serve with the SBP - NY organization?

Our company works on disaster mitigation for corporations, but we wanted to give back to our local community and assist the families in need after Sandy, alongside the businesses. As SBP allows us to have a hand in the actual construction, we thought it was a perfect way for us to give back.

Which construction tasks did you do?

We worked on installing insulation and drywall.

Aon volunteers in beautiful Queens, NY
What was your group’s favorite part of the volunteer experience?

Aon adopted the Stack Family House, and being able to take it from start to finish as a team was a truly fulfilling experience!

How was this volunteer experience unique from other volunteer experiences?

The unique experience was that we were truly responsible for completing the task at hand. It’s not just about being present.

Any advice for future volunteers?

Be ready to work! You will be doing the actual construction and it requires team work!

Thanks again for all your hard work, Aon, and a special thank you to Dessi for agreeing to be interviewed;
we look forward to working with you all over the coming months!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Indiana University Y'ALL

Volunteers at a Welcome Home Party 
St. Bernard Project NOLA was lucky to have students from Indiana University’s Y’ALL (Youth Advocating Leadership & Learning) club from Bloomington, Indiana joined us for a great week of service and building. They arrived on a bus and filed out full of energy and excitement. These volunteers came to work and to build! The group of 40 said they chose to work with us because of “amazing reviews, as well as the ability to accommodate our large group.” Saying, “It was a perfect fit for us.” Tasks included drywalling, painting, and mold prevention. They said the best part was interacting with the homeowner and wanted to give a special shoutout to Mr. Frank. Aparna Srinath told me, “It’s nice to give back to the community and I’m  happy I to do  it with SBP.” 

Duyen Nguyen pulled from some past experiences, saying “I’ve been on many volunteer trips and St. Bernard Project is now one of my favorites! SBP  embodies the spirit of service as well as giving us an insight about the community of New Orleans.” Jack Alexander rebutted “So, I’ve been on more service trips than Duyen, and I’ve seen service projects done well and done poorly. SBP is engaging in a GREAT mission in New Orleans and I’m honored to have been apart of it.” When asked what made this experience unique, they replied saying “There is work for everyone at all skill levels. We feel like we’re  giving back to NOLA.”
Some of the students with their Site Supervisor

Advice for future volunteers? Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Danny Riggs viewed the week as “terrific experience, and very eye-opening. I’ve gained perspective and I can’t wait to come back!” Alex McManus made a donation, by buying a shirt and reflected on his week “I’m in it for the SBP t-shirts and I love being a blessing to others.” As Nick Phoebus put it “You get what you give.” Finally, the oh so humble Timmy O’Conner said, “I heard this would get me the ladies.” Thanks for all your hard work Y’ALL -- hope to see you again in NOLA sometime soon!