Over 190 youth and youth sponsors from around the US and Canada gave a week of their summer to serve at one of three MDS Youth Project sites. Youth groups worked in Staten Island, NY, High River, AB, and Jamestown, CO.
The young volunteers worked at a variety of jobs including shoveling mud and rocks out of homes in Colorado that were inundated by floodwaters in 2013, repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, NY, and repairing homes in High River, AB, that were flooded in 2013.
In addition to drywalling, painting, digging footers and other construction work, the youth volunteers in met homeowners and heard their inspiring stories of survival and recovery. One evening each week a homeowner would join the groups for dinner and share stories of rescue, survival, and the struggles of recovery. Homeowners expressed appreciation to the youth volunteers and told them how much their work helped even if it seemed like a only small part of a huge recovery need.
Project Directors reported that the youth groups came eager and ready to work hard and went home with some sore muscles, new friends and an understanding of the emotional, financial and physical struggles a disaster survivor must face.
The High River project was also home to Hesston College Disaster Management Program (DMP) Interns for eight weeks. The students complete an internship with MDS as part of the DMP curriculum, which includes construction work as well as working in leadership roles at the project.
MDS featured in new book
Brenda Phillips, PhD, Associate Dean at Ohio University in Chillicothe, has published a new book titled “Mennonite Disaster Service and the Gulf Coast Recovery“ A long-time friend of MDS, she is a widely published author on disaster recovery and socially vulnerable populations and has received numerous awards and recognition. Phillips is donating all of the royalties of book sales to MDS. To order a book at a download an order form here or call the Binational Office, (717) 735-3536. The book will be “library quality,” so consider donating a copy to your church library.
The book has been described as an “academic study and a story—a truly engaging one—of people helping people in a very special way. This is a close up view of those who experienced the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike and those from the Mennonite Disaster Service who came to help. Together they built a classic therapeutic community. This important book is a valuable resource not only for students and academics who will find rich empirical support for many theoretical concepts, but for anyone who wants to understand and appreciate giving and receiving in disaster recovery.”— Maureen Fordham, Northumbria University
MDS featured on NBC Nightly News! MDS was featured on the NBC Nightly News on March 29, 2011. To see the story that features our Diamond, La. project, click on the link below:
MDS on the News