This week, the First-Year Bonner Community Scholars cohort is traveling to New Orleans, LA for an enrichment service trip. Students will learn about Hurricane Katrina, the impact the hurricane had on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, the government’s response to the natural disaster and the rebuilding efforts that are still going on today, seven years after the storm. The trip allows Bonners to relate their service work in Trenton with service work in other locations in the United States. It also serves as an opportunity for students to form a bond with their fellow classmates as well as develop a connection with the Bonner Corps as a whole.
The Bonner Community Scholars stay with United Saints Recovery Project, a nonprofit organization in New Orleans dedicated to assisting communities that have suffered damage from natural disasters, helping residents return home, improving their quality of life and strengthening the community. During the ten day trip, the Scholars cohort will work with the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that disaster-impacted communities recover in a prompt, efficient and predictable way. The SBP serves as a model for disaster rebuilding and affordable housing with clients throughout the Greater New Orleans areas. Working with the SBP, Bonners will help rebuild homes affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Following Hurricane Sandy, this year the First-Year Bonner Community Scholars volunteered in Ortley and Union Beach, NJ before traveling to New Orleans. Ortley and Union Beach were some of the hardest hit areas of New Jersey, with Ortley often referred to as “Ground Zero” of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Bonners volunteered for three days in the coastal towns, helping with debris removal and other various projects.
The Scholars have been and will continue to blog throughout their service trip, including their time at the New Jersey Shore. To follow their blog, visit http://tcnjbonnernola2013.blogspot.com.