Rebuilding the Past

August 28, 2005. High winds charge through cities, destroying anything and everything in their path. Heavy rains flood out houses and streets. Millions of people evacuate as quickly as possible, leaving behind their homes and their lives. In just 12 hours, a category 1 hurricane quickly advances to a category 5. For eight devastating days, the hurricane ripped through the city of New Orleans. Houses and schools were carried away by the flooding. Streets were filled with water. Bridges collapsed and buildings tumbled. Thousands of people lost their homes. Thousands lost their lives. Some people say that what has past has past, but others might disagree.

Billions of dollars were used to repair the broken city, but houses and buildings still litter the earth. Streets remain destroyed and parts of the historic city remain in ruins. The biggest disaster that money can’t fix, however, is the community’s emotional toll. Citizens who lost their homes in the hurricane roam from shelter to shelter. They struggle to rebuild their community, but they can’t do it alone.

That is where the People to People Ambassadors Program comes in. In June of 2009, hundreds of students from around the United States will join together in an attempt to rebuild the community of New Orleans. Celebrities such as Condoleezza Rice, Peyton and Eli Manning, and Spike Lee will share with the student leaders the value and impact of service leadership.

Thanks to my middle school science teacher, I am one of the students that get to take part in this once in a lifetime experience. Over a nine day period, not only will I witness with my own eyes the destruction of the community, but will be able to take part in bringing back hope to New Orleans. Rebuilding homes, repairing community centers and serving those that are still impacted by the storm are only a few of the things on the agenda. After 60 hours of community service, I will have and learned things from the history of New Orleans to understanding the effects of the hurricane to making a difference in my own community.

Two years ago, I was nominated for a People to People leadership conference by my middle school science teacher. I got the opportunity to stay at Stanford University while participating in multiple leadership conferences and activities. “I nominate those I feel have leadership potential, especially those who aren’t using it in hopes it will inspire them,” says Mrs. Ochsie. From 2003/2004, she has nominated 16-20 students, but I have been the only one that has followed through. Besides the experiences of attending a People to People conference, Mrs. Ochsie also hopes that “they will learn to lead, and have a positive and safe experience outside of Calhan, on their own.”

Because of my nomination to People to People two years ago, I will be going on a once and a life time adventure to the city of New Orleans. While there, I will help restore hope to the people affected by the hurricane, as well as help to restore the community that was destroyed. Even though what has passed has passed, there is always an opportunity to rebuild it.





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Greg@PeopleToPeople said...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 11:59 am
Great article! Congrats on your success and keep up the good work.
Just a quick note, the program to New Orleans will be in June of 2010, not 2009 as mentioned above.
Thanks for the great read!
 
Fischer050 replied...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm
Oops! i totally meant 2010, not 2009! Thanks, though!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback