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Students go to New Jersey for hurricane cleanup

by Judy Hughes, communications and marketing last modified Dec 11, 2012 11:11 AM

A dozen University of Louisville students are volunteering this week in Highlands, N.J., to help restore the Hurricane Sandy-damaged coastal fishing village.

Students go to New Jersey for hurricane cleanup

Students work in a Sea Bright, N.J. house hit by a 37-foot surge of water. The town still has no power. The family told students that they “have no idea how helpful” they are.

Most are social work and justice administration students, but the group includes sociology, psychology and biology students. The students will partner with Monmouth University’s School of Social Work in New Jersey to do a wide range of jobs — cleaning out storm muck from homes, doing repair work, folding donated clothing, participating in grief counseling and whatever else arises, according to Theresa Hayden, a UofL professor who teaches in justice administration and social work.

Hayden, who also volunteered with the Red Cross in New York after 9-11 and who has coordinated social work and health clinics in medically underserved parts of Kentucky, put together the  service-project trip after seeing coverage of the recent hurricane’s devastation in late October and early November. “I watched the news until I couldn’t stand it anymore,” she said. “I knew the towns were going to need a lot.”

“They (students) are definitely going to learn a lot about community disasters and the long-term effects on communities,” Hayden said. “It’s a great group of students. I’m really proud.”

The group left by rented van Dec. 9 and will return Dec. 15. The Kent School of Social Work and the College of Arts and Sciences’ justice administration department have contributed to transportation, gas and food for the students, and donations to support the student effort are being accepted by Betty Sallengs, Kent School’s development director, Room 1031, Fairfax Building. The students will sleep in spare rooms arranged through Monmouth, which also made the connections for the volunteer opportunities, Hayden said.

“The response has been tremendous,” she said.

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