"This web page
is for those who volunteered to be part of our effort to make a
real difference for some elderly homeowners who are unable to
perform interior home repairs. We strive to help those who cannot
easily help themselves while stimulating our local economy and
In these times, the North Country comes
together to help those who are struggling. At the same time,
we stimulate a flagging economy through spending here in
our community. A number of community members, especially those
involved with the Plattsburgh Noontime Rotary
, believe the best economic stimulus plan is one that mobilizes local
effort and stimulates local purchases. We can help the entire
community by helping others. If you would like to volunteer your
time to help out with painting and minor interior home repairs for
the elderly and disadvantaged in these local alternative spring
break activities, please e-mail the project organizer, Colin
Read, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Projects from 2010
This year, we took on five projects. On Monday,
March 15, two teams of Rotaract students and Rotarians helped with
painting projects for elderly folk in Ellenberg and in Chazy.
Another team helped a great-grandmother with moving and with her
On Tuesday, Bob Perkins will help with some
plumbing issues in Ellenberg Depot.
We are also contemplating a major deck/railing
project in Standish, near Lyon Mountain. And, on Wednesday Rotarians
and student Rotaract members will clean up Centennial Park in
preparation for the Rotary Gazebo ribbon cutting.
News from 2009:
Thursday, March 19 - Well, it was a
very late day yesterday, but all projects were completed, except for
Walter's doors in Peru. His house is very solid and well built, but
his doors are an inch or two too small. We want him to have a good,
solid, and well insulated door because so we will have to have one
custom built. Stan and Dave volunteered to complete the installation
when it is done.
Meanwhile, Kevin, John, Shelli, and Steve finished up the West Chazy home.
We'd fixed her door and stoop, installed stairs for her back door, and
redid the floors in her kitchen and bathroom. They looked great! Thank
nursing an injury so he handed the baton to me to finish Wall
Street. The bathroom, hall, and kitchen floors are done, the ceiling
in the bathroom is fixed and primed, the yard construction debris
has been removed, and the cabinets look great! I thank all those
that worked on that project. Shirley was most appreciative.
Our group takes on the homes for the elderly for a few
reasons. First, they often live on pensions or social security that
does not seem to keep pace with costs. Second, they have given
seventy or eighty years of service to society and to others, and it
has to be their time to receive from others now. And third,
children, the elderly, and the disabled are not able to keep up with
the maintenance that others take for granted. Of course, children
(hopefully) have parents to care for them. We must all care for the
I sincerely thank yiou for all your efforts. You
really made a difference in the lives of a few most deserving
people. We will do this again, perhaps as early as the April High
School spring break, if we can find some students willing to help
Wednesday, March 18 - Everything is
starting to wrap up. Today Ron worked on the kitchen on Wall Street
(it is looking great) and a bunch of people worked to tile the
bathroom and get the kitchen ready to tile for the Chazy home.
I'm going to return to Wall Street and finish off the floor
and install a new laundry tomorrow. John, Kevin, and perhaps Steven
are going to West Chazy to finish off the
kitchen floor there. And I'm going to order a custom door for Stan
so we can finish up the Peru home when the door arrives.
Thank you all for your help! You have made a 76 year old and
a 78 year old woman, and an 84 year old man very happy! Take
Tuesday, March 17 -
One more great day! We are almost finished the Wall Street
home, and started leveling the front door on the Miner Farm Road
Tomorrow (Wednesday), Ron and I will finish the
bathroom and the floor at Wall Street. First I can meet anybody
free to help out at Miner Farm Road at 9a. To get there, go
north on the Northway to exit 41, turn right as you come off the
exit, and go down a block or two. It is on the left - you will see
the activity. We will be repainting and reflooring a bathroom
and kitchen for Leona.
Meanwhile, Stan and Dave are going to
replace two doors at Walter's place on Union Road (right hand
side, a couple of miles down where Union turns south) in Peru. He
needs a front door and a back door, and that job should go pretty
smoothly. They did a great job with a front door and back stairs at
the Miner Farm Road home.
Monday, March 16 - Two crews worked on Wall Street today to
replace floors, a kitchen cabinets, bathroom ceiling, and
laundry. Ron's crew and John's crew will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) while Stan's
crew will make their way up to the next project
on 767 Miner Farm Road.
was most happy and grateful, and could not hold back the tears each
time she thought of the surprise on her husband's face when he comes
home from the hospital
The State of New York has approved the incorporation of our charity!
Insurance for volunteers is in place, and paperwork for the
IRS 501c3 has been completed.
So far, more than
thirty people have stepped
forward, to help with projects, find elderly or disadvantaged homeowners who
need our assistance, enable insurance, etc. All your support is most
This March, we have identified three homes
of the elderly who very much appreciate your help. We
have also been in touch with Sally Garvey about some possible
April high school Alternative Spring Break
A very kind donor has offered to cover much of the materials costs
for this upcoming week and our April effort! We are a long
way toward making a lasting contribution to a number of very deserving elderly
folk. Thank you!
Curtis Lumber has offered us an account and a discount on our
building materials. Thank you!
Tentative Schedule for Alternative Spring Break,
Monday through Thursday, March 16 to 19, 2009
One - Colin (except Wednesday), Ron, John (except Tuesday afternoon, Thursday), Stephanie, and Matthew
Crew Two - Stan (except Tuesday after 2p), Bob, Kevin and
his helper, Steven, Corey and Kristy (except
Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning), Shelli (Wednesday
All locations - David Price for energy
Monday, March 16, 9a - Both crews begin on home
number 1 in South Plattsburgh. One crew can begin preparing the
back door for replacement while the other crew works to remove the
bathroom floor, ceiling, and cabinets. Crew two then moves to home
in Chazy to do a door, and floors.
Tuesday, March 17, 9a - Crew one continues painting
and repairs at home 1 in South Plattsburgh.
Tuesday, March 17, 10a - Crew two
continues at home 2 in Chazy while crew 1 completes home
March 18, 9a, - Crew 1 begins at home 3 in Peru
and crew two continues at home 2
Thursday, March 19, 9a - Crews one and two complete
5 gallons primer, 2 gallons paint, approximately
200 sq. ft. 12x12 adhesive tiles, trim, joint compound, a variety of
putty knives,two 36"
left hing 9 pane exterior doors, two 30" left hinge doors, one
30" right hinge door, 50" bathroom cabinet, bathroom ceiling tile, 24" by 22" window, shower
Project News for College Spring
house #1: Shirley
wonderful woman who lives on Wall Street
(near the Bombardier plant) in South Plattsburgh. Unfortunately, her husband has been
hospitalized since Christmas and she recently broke her
arm and shoulder. She very much needs a new bathroom
window (22" by 24") and back door (30" standard, left hinge). She also
needs a new bathroom floor, ceiling, paint, bathroom cabinet (50" wide) and safety
rail for the bathtub for when her husband can come
home from the hospital. I'd like to see if we can spruce up her
kitchen too. I also hope we can get her a new
washer/dryer because she has to pay $12 each week at the laundromat ever since
her washer/dryer broke almost two years ago.
Project house #2: A woman
named Leona needs some weatherizing and improvements. She is 76
years old and while it is difficult for her to get around, she is
still a volunteer dynamo! She needs a new bathroom and kitchen
floor, and paint in the bathroom and kitchen. She also needs a 30"
door, right hinge, and a bit of work leveling her front stoop to
stop it from sagging.
Project house #3: Walter in
Peru needs a new 9 pane front door, 36" left hinge, and a screen. He
also needs a 36" left hinge door for the back where he keeps the
supply of wood to heat his home. He has lived in the same house for
almost forty years, and is a sweet man.
Colin's Recent Alternative Spring Break Activity
in Louisiana with Students from Massachusetts - courtesy of "The
Foxboro Reporter" - February 26, 2009
It's hard work, not just Big Easy,
for FHS students
TAKIN’ IT EASY -- During a stop in New Orleans, New England
Patriot Jarvis Green, standing in center in back, poses with
the Foxboro High School students and teachers who helped
rebuild homes in his hometown of Donaldsonville, La., during
their february vacation. The group includes, from left: back
row, Pat Mitchell, Martin Golemme, Leah MacCallum, Green, and
John Peterson; middle row, Amanda Sosnowski, National Honor
Society co-advisors Kelly Shaughnessy and Cailtin Annicelli;
front row, Stephanie Storere, Caelan Pacelli, Anthony
Bassagnani, Vincent Golemme, Seana Peterson and Blair Read.
Patriots, teens travel to Louisiana during vacation week to help
By Scott Barboza
On a Tuesday afternoon -- Mardi Gras to be more precise
-- a group of seniors at Foxboro High School sat around a table in
an otherwise sleepy library after school. A couple of these National
Honor Society students had festive purple, green and gold Mardi Gras
beads draped around their necks.
After giving up a week of
February vacation -- that very well could have been used for
catching up on homework, college paperwork, or even sitting in front
of the TV with Xbox, or simply sleeping -- the group reflected and
shared stories on their recently-completed whirlwind tour to the
Louisiana Gulf Coast with New England Patriots defensive lineman
Jarvis Green to work and pitch in to the seemingly never-ending
process of restoring the hurricane-ravaged region.
students, festooned with the beads, the quintessential New Orleans
keepsake, said that their hearts remained in the Big Easy on its
most special day one week later.
"When you drive down the
street, a lot of the houses look fine," Blair Read said. "But when
you go inside, you realize that it's a disaster --
Anthony Bassignani, Martin and
Vincent Golemme, Leah MacCallum, Pat Mitchell, Caelan Pacelli, Seana
Peterson, Andrea Sosnowski, Stephanie Storer and Read wanted to do
And they did.
They spent their
February vacation in Green's hometown of Donaldsonville, La., which
was just one of countless communities devastated in Hurricane
In the planning stages, it was apparent that
the trip would need some serious financial backing. The students
were planning to have everyone on the trip raise $300 each to
finance their own way to Louisiana.
"We had already been
planning on giving up Christmas presents," Peterson
They stillhad their doubts, even as
Green stepped in to assist with financing for the trip and setting
the group up with deserving projects to work on in the
"Words can't describe it," said NHS co-advisor Caitlin
Annicelli, who accompanied the students on their trip along with
fellow advisor Kelly Shaughnessy.
"I can't say enough about
this group and how much time they put into it, to do it, to organize
it, and we put it all on their shoulders. They took it on. And they
didn't stop even when we told them that this was going to be
Not anywhere near the hardships the Louisiana
residents had endured.
"Everybody there was grateful and
generous to us," McCallum said. "They said, 'Oh, you're giving up
your February vacation to help us.' We weren't really doing all that
much. They were the ones who lost everything. Compared to that, what
they've lost, it's nothing."
Despite the hardships the locals
have endured, the Foxboro group was struck by how upbeat and
friendly everybody they met seemed.
"It gives you a whole
different appreciation for the term Southern Hospitality," Vincent
Golemme said of his experience. "You get nothing but smiles in the
Big Easy. When you think of everything these people have gone
through and how cheerful they are, it's amazing."
That was particularly true of "Ms. Johnson," a
90-year-old Donaldsonville resident whom Green selected for the NHS
members to help. Throughout the week, the group completed the
process of rebuilding Ms. Johnson's kitchen, using sledgehammers to
bring down drywall and then rebuilding the space from the floor
No small project indeed, but those are the type of
projects that have gone largely untouched in the recovery from the
disaster that have severely affected the quality of life across the
region, particularly for the elderly.
Plus, the students
didn't mind putting in a little sweat equity.
"I'm keeping my
hard hat in my locker," Sosnowski said.
The project also came
with a little bit of friendly competition and it came down to the
very end as the students were trying to wrap up painting on Ms.
Johnson's kitchen with just two hours remaining before they were
supposed to leave for their flight home.
"The boys were
trying to race the girls in completing projects," Anicelli said. "We
had some fun with that throughout the week, but it was nice because
everybody came together at the end of the week when we realized we
had to get this done and we were literally painting up until the
point that we had to leave to catch our flight."
turpentine might have been in order to clean up for the journey
home, the feeling of their accomplishments will reverberate with the
group for years to come.
"Just when Ms. Johnson came in and
saw her new kitchen and she was so overwhelmed," Read said. "I think
we all had that feeling that we made that happen. That was great. I
think that's something we'll take with us to college and for the
rest of our lives."
There will be other memories,
"I don't think Jarvis [Green] is your typical pro
athlete," Martin Golemme said. "He was there, working with us. One
time, he pulled out his Super Bowl rings and said, 'Here you go. Try
them on. Have fun with them.' That was pretty cool."
work was certainly worth the while.
"Definitely Blair [Read]
and Seana [Peterson] were the driving forces behind this," said
Mitchell, who serves as president of the NHS chapter. "Everybody
would say, 'This is only a few months away, I don't know how
feasible this is.' And they just said, 'We're doing this.' And we
Originally, they had planned field trips into the
itinerary. But as the group set goals for the amount of work they
wanted to get done during their time on the bayou, those plans were
scrapped in order to spend more time on the tasks at
"That would have been nice, but I think we're all happy
with the work that we put in," Mitchell added. "That's much more
"I just need to catch up on some sleep now,"
But there's always April vacation for
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