National Service Day in Red Hook focuses on Sandy cleanup
by Andrew Pavia
Jan 22, 2013 | 3177 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Michael Bloomberg painting a mural with Red Hook resident Kathleen Carlson and her family.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg painting a mural with Red Hook resident Kathleen Carlson and her family.
In honor of National Service Day, 123 volunteers were on site at Red Hook Recreation Center to help fix the facility that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. In the morning, the number of volunteers jumped up by one as the mayor picked up a brush and helped paint the walls of the basement that was flooded in the storm.

The group New York City Service targeted facilities were not entirely repaired since Sandy hit. The Red Hook Recreation Center was one example of a facility that was not operating fully because of issues related to hurricane damage.

This facility’s basement, which is used for a number of community events, was badly flooded. Wearing white masks, volunteers scraped the walls and applied new plaster.

Other volunteers painted upstairs rooms that were in need of repair. Red Hook resident Kathleen Carlson, her husband and two children painted murals that would be placed throughout the neighborhood.

Carlson said her family decided to sue their day off volunteering because they the recreation center and it's important to give back. “It’s a great lesson for the kids to learn that it is important to give back,” Carlson said.

Carlson referred to the center as an “anchor” of the neighborhood and said that she wasn’t surprised with the large number of volunteers. “This is our pool,” she said “We come in the summer and we love it here.”

Diahann Billings-Burford, chief service officer for NYC Service, was at the center on Monday and said that the volunteerism is strong in Brooklyn.

“This year we really focused on service in areas that were impacted by Sandy,” she said.

Jessica Colon, deputy project director for Red Hook Community Justice Center, used the facility's gym to host a day of reflection and said the day of service was also a good teaching opportunity.

A group of Red Hook youth were show a PowerPoint demonstration showing the principles that King lived by. Later, they painted murals based reflecting those principles.

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