In-School Youth Program Restores a House in Coney Island Damaged by Hurricane Sandy | Chinese-American Planning Council
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In-School Youth Program Restores a House in Coney Island Damaged by Hurricane Sandy


On Saturday, February 28th, participants from CPC's Manhattan In School Youth Program (ISY) volunteered with Habitat for Humanity on a project to help repair and renovate a house in Coney Island damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Prior to volunteering, the group also raised funds for the project by setting up a donations box at a local Barnes and Noble bookstore and wrapping gifts purchased by customers.

According to the site supervisor, despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy occurred over 2 years ago, there are still about 1,200 houses that need to be repaired. This particular house that the students worked on had been flooded with over 6 feet of water. The participants were assigned the tasks of sanding, priming, and painting the ceiling and walls of the house. The youth were quite surprised by how much skill and technique was actually required to paint.

"I learned the proper way to paint. I learned that most walls need at least two coatings of paint to give it a nice color and to paint vertically unless it is a special case. Saturday taught me that painting requires patience and is much more complex than just splattering some paint on walls. All of the other volunteers and I worked as a team to progress faster and now the house looks a lot more colorful than before." - Carmen Tang, ISY Participant

For the participants, this was a very memorable experience. Not only did they learn how to paint properly, but they also learned the value of working together as a team.

"I really liked seeing our efforts come together to work towards one goal. I remember how the room looked like before we started working on it, and being able to witness our progress was fulfilling. Not only was it fulfilling to know that we were giving back to our community, but also exciting because this was my first time painting and plastering walls - it was a great learning experience." - Jocelyn Yeung, ISY Participant

"Habitat was a huge learning experience for me in terms of painting and teamwork. Although I thought that we were constantly doing something wrong, our mentor did not lose hope and continued to encourage us by letting us know how we could improve. He may have had to correct our mistakes multiple times, but as our leader, he never lost hope and never lost his smile. This was a valuable lesson for me as I didn't have the happiest month because of school. I had a very off-putting attitude when it came to motivating others to be productive. But he taught me how to be a better leader. You not only have to believe in yourself, but you have to believe in your team as well. Whatever vibe you project to your team, they will reciprocate the same thing. So the only thing you can do is project happiness. When you are happy, others will be happy; when you have fun, others will have fun too." - Vincent Lee, ISY Participant

Later this month, the ISY participants will be volunteering with another Habitat for Humanity program called 'A Brush with Kindness'. Stay tuned!