Feb. 01, 2011

Twenty volunteer trips — and still going

Sam Hatz

Samantha Hatz ' 12 saws a board that she and her fellow Geneseo volunteers including Bill Gurtowski '12, right, used to build an access ramp for a couple in Biloxi, Miss., during a Livingston CARES trip. /PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN





Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of the southern coast more than five years ago, but rehabilitation efforts continue.

In January, 25 volunteers from the Livingston CARES nonprofit organization —including many students, faculty and staff members — spent a week helping to demolish, paint, nail and rebuild. The trip marked the organization's 20th trip to the Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss., area. More than 500 volunteers have been on the work trips since 2005.

"Our 20th trip is a notable milestone but there is still a great amount of work to be done to help the people on the Gulf Coast return to their homes," said Tom Matthews, director of leadership education, development and training in the college's Center for Community. "What impresses me about this group is the relatively little recruitment we have to do to get volunteers to sign up for these work trips. It's very gratifying and actively supports the important service-learning aspects of a liberal arts education. We will continue going until the work is done."

Livingston CARES is a nonprofit group of Geneseo students, faculty and community members dedicated to local and global humanitarian projects. The college organized Livingston CARES through the Center for Community, which emphasizes the vital link between service and leadership.