Helping Rebuild, Three Years Later
Volunteers are still making a difference in hurricane victims' lives
Habitat for Humanity volunteer Katsumi Nakayama from Tokyo, Japan with Scholastic News Kid Reporter Abigayle Lista.
More than 2,000 Habitat for Humanity volunteers from around the country and the world joined President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in the areas devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita for the 25th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. It takes people like these volunteers to make a big difference in rebuilding these areas. There have been around 1,300 homes built in the area by Habitat for Humanity since the storm hit in August 2005.
Many people have devoted their time, money, and energy to help the victims of these horrible storms. If people volunteering with Habitat for Humanity cannot pay their own way or afford room and board, they can seek sponsorship. Employers and other nonprofit organizations sponsored many volunteers participating in this build. Mr. Katsumi Nakayama, a volunteer from Tokyo, Japan, paid his own way to Mississippi. He has participated in two other Jimmy and Rosalynn Work Project builds. Mr. Nakayama first became involved with Habitat through his employer, Citi Group. This was the first time he did not have a sponsor. Mr. Nakayama describes his time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as an "amazing experience, and I will do it again."
According to Mr. Chris Monforton, CEO for Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, "Around 150 to 200 volunteers from outside the region come down to volunteer a week." Mr. Jonathan Reckford, CEO for Habitat for Humanity International, said, "The pace of volunteers has slowed since the hurricane, but it is still steady."
Mr. Reckford wants everyone to know that there is still a big need for volunteers to come down to this area. There is still a great deal of work to be done. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, people can visit www.habitat.org.
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Abigayle Lista is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.