Sarah Skaleski

Class of 2020


Today, Tuesday Feb. 20th, was our second day at our worksites in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward. Our first day started off late and we did not get much work done, but we were able to talk to some of the people whose homes we were working on. Every person we talked to seemed so happy that we were there to help even if it was just listen to their story and what they had to say.


I remember the first man we talked to, the first thing he talked to us about  was about the changes that were happening in the community. He commented about how he and others in the community felt that a lot of the changes that were happening in the city to “help” after the hurricane were not actually helping the community that had lived and established a special and unique culture there for so many years. Knowing about his feelings and experiences on the changes going on in city, it was amazing to hear how even us just being there in his yard and listening to him speak had made him feel that his community was actually being helped for the reason that people cared and wanted to restore the community that had been there before the hurricane.

Today, our second day at the site was our first full day of work. We did a variety of tasks and jobs, ranging from sanding wooden decks to cleaning up years of growth over plots of land so that they could be used by the community later on. The heat and labor did not make for an easy day, but it made it a rewarding one. As the time reached 4:00 and we started to pack up, there was a shared feeling of accomplishment. In the morning it seemed like the work ahead of us would take days to complete but within just a day of work we had come so far and felt that we were truly helping the homes and community.

Once again at the end of today, as we were waiting for the bus to take us back to our cabins, I was reminded of the impact that our group has on the people in the community. One of the people whose property we were working on had spent her own time making cupcakes, fully frosted and decorated, for all 70+ of us who had worked on the sites in the area that day.

I believe one of most rewarding parts of the day was to see that the work that we were doing was actually helping the people do things that they did not have the ability to do on their own and making them feel that the things they had to say were being heard by a group of people that wanted to help make a difference.