Chatting with Chapey
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Kingsborough Community College Welcomes Katrina Refugees
Kingsborough Community College offers many dynamic, interesting, timely and lively courses which focus on current critical social issues.
Technological advances have created instant communication and brought about globalization. In many ways the world has become as futurist Marshall McLuhan viewed it – a global village. Events as they unfold are projected through the Internet, our instant messaging system or over our television. The images that they convey are vivid, realistic and moving.
Americans as a group are drawn to help others in their hour of need. We saw the magnitude and tragedy of the tsunami open the hearts and wallets of most Americans. When the American tsunami occurred in New Orleans and Mississippi, Americans were again moved to action.
In this climate Kingsborough Community College students came together in the Administration 53 class during the Fall 05 semester. The goal of the course was to write a Community Service Handbook directed at addressing a current concern. This course is a requirement of the New York City Department of Education.
Professor Madeline Appell, an outgoing, gregarious, qualified and dedicated professional, provided the milieu in which students brainstormed to find a current issue which needed to be addressed. The students discussed many issues. The final project came from an article one of the students read in the The Wave. The Kingsborough Community College class decided to help a family who lost their home and their business due to Hurricane Katrina – the American tsunami. Suzanne and Billy Russell were highlighted by the Wave and the New York Times as a family who had been completely uprooted by the Hurricane. As a result, the Russell’s and their three children have come to share a one-bedroom apartment with Suzanne’s father in Far Rockaway. The Russell’s have three young children – Elisa 7, Billy Jr. 6 and Tristan 4. The Kingsborough Community College students entitled their project “A New Beginning.” They hoped that this would not just be a new beginning but also a great beginning to a new holiday season.
The members of the Administration 53 class at Kingsborough Community College cordially invited everyone to join with them in welcoming the Russell family to the College campus for a pizza party on Tuesday, November 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Professor Appell and the students had reached out to Councilman Joe Addabbo’s office because they initially needed help in finding the Russell family. Sandy Doremus, (from Addabbo’s office) who is always in an automatic helping mode, sprung into action and brought the Russell family together with the Kingsborough Community College students. Sandy always goes the extra mile. Councilman Addabbo is also very community-oriented. He and his office are always available to lend a helping hand.
Professor Appell and the Administration 53 students are to be complimented for their outstanding and successful work. They produced an excellent Community Service Handbook. It is a practical, well-written, easy to use guide to executing a well-run community service project. It gives real-world examples and delivers the information that one would need to execute a fine tuned event. They outlined events, timelines, deadlines, resources and expectations to begin the project. The handbook anticipates the unexpected and sets appropriate expectations for a finished project, giving milestones and deliverables.
Professor Appell and the students really went the extra mile enlisting the assistance of Avon, Jennifer Diaz, Annie and Jack Dinnegan, the manager of the Kings Plaza Shopping Center and Marina, Margaret Arnao, Meaghan Lasorsa, PS 225 Principal Joseph Montebello, Margaret Ortiz, Donna Sorrentino and V and S Pizza.
A beautiful basket was given to each member of the Russell family, which had been lovingly collected by the class. Each item was meaningful and selected with care. The Russell family is very grateful to all those who reached out to help.
Congratulations to Professor Appell and the students for successfully completing such an important project. Best wishes to the Russell family as we enter the New Year.