Last month, 584 college students from 40 different schools descended on New Orleans to spend their spring break assisting Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO) with seventeen houses in seven target neighborhoods. Their collective effort of hammering, sawing, painting and gardening marked the fifth year in a row that low-income elderly or disabled homeowners were able to receive assistance, free of charge, from RTNO and their generous volunteers.
RTNO’s skilled AmeriCorps House Captains led the groups in various home repair projects for the homeowners. These New Orleans residents, after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, are still struggling to return to or remain in their homes. To date, RTNO has rebuilt 235 storm-damaged properties.
The spring break work in New Orleans demonstrates college students’ continued interest and support for the Gulf Coast region almost five years after Hurricane Katrina. Such college groups help RTNO and the Preservation Resource Center maintain a steady stream of enthusiastic volunteers to complete hundreds of home renovations.
According to Daniela Rivero, Rebuilding Together New Orleans Director, “New Orleans and its residents have been so lucky to have this yearly infusion of young, energetic college students who come to rebuild and enjoy the city. For RTNO, this is one of the busiest times of year and a period when we get to accomplish so much work for our homeowners. So many of our spring break teams come back every year – all of them show us their commitment to recovery, inspiring and filling us with hope and gratefulness. In addition to their time and hard work, they have been some of the most creative fundraisers we’ve encountered throughout these years! We will be forever thankful for their support.”
Participating schools included: College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University from Minnesota | Clarke College | Northeastern University Hillel | St. John’s University from New York City | University of Virginia | University of San Diego | Michigan State University | Jewish Funds for Justice | University of Florida Hillel | Wake Forest University | Wentworth Institute of Technology | Emory University | St. Louis University | St. Lawrence University | Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life | Syracuse University Hillel | University of Maryland Hillel | Iowa State University Hillel | University of Arizona Hillel | Franklin and Marshall College Hillel | Rutgers University Hillel | Springfield College Hillel | Cornell University Hillel | University of Washington Hillel | Williams College Hillel | Greater Portland Hillel | University of California Davis and Sacramento State University Hillel | University of California Santa Barbara Hillel | University of California Los Angeles Hillel | University of Rhode Island Hillel | Nazareth College | Endicott College | Goucher College | Kansas State University | Gallaudet University | Lutheran Ministry Services | University of Cincinnati | University of Nevada Las Vegas | Macauley Honors College at the City University of New York | Missouri University of Science and Technology.
About Rebuilding Together New Orleans
Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a local affiliate of Rebuilding Together, Inc. has restored and revitalized more than 1,200 homes over the past 22 years in the New Orleans area. Utilizing volunteer labor, Rebuilding Together New Orleans allows low-income families in communities across the city to live in comfort, safety, and dignity. Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a program of the Preservation Resource Center, an organization devoted to promoting the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleansâ historic architecture and neighborhoods. For more information, visit www.RTNO.org.