2005-12-02 / Community

A Class Project Teaches A Lesson Of The Heart

A class project at Kingsborough Community College has quickly taken on a life of its own, and has reached out to one family in Far Rockaway during the upcoming holiday season.

Professor Madeleine Appell’s Administration 53 class, comprised of eleven working women, is taught on Tuesday evenings, and is required by the Department of Education for a School Secretary License. As part of this semester’s curriculum, the class came together for a group project to create a Community Service Handbook.

During a discussion of various types of community service projects, the subject of Hurricane Katrina and the families left homeless by the tragedy arose. A student mentioned that many families, forced to travel far from home, relocated to the New York Metropolitan area. The class decided that they would try to locate such a family and find some way to show them that people care.

The search began with a newspaper article in The Wave, regarding Suzanne and Billy Russell and their three children, Elisa, Billy and Tristian. The Russell’s were forced to leave their home in Gautier, Mississippi after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. They came back to Far Rockaway to live with Suzanne’s father, Gus Mendizabel, in a one-bedroom apartment.

Professor Appell contacted The Wave and was directed to Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr.’s office. With the assistance of Sandy Doremus from Councilman Addabbo’s office, Appell was put in touch with Suzanne Russell, explained what the class was doing and invited the Russell family as well as Suzanne’s father to join the class for a pizza party. The members of the Administration 53 class and Professor Appell welcomed the Russell Family, as well as several others who helped make the class project a reality, on Tuesday, November 29 at Kingsborough Community College. It proved not only a “new beginning” for the Russell’s, but a great beginning to the holiday season.

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