SBP Americorps Member
The Americorps Program is an opportunity for people to serve a term and work for an organization in the US. Run by the US government, AmeriCorps sends people power and funding to communities across the country. Disaster response, opioid crisis, education – these are just a few of the causes where AmeriCorps members step up to strengthen their community. For my term of service, I worked for SBP in Houston TX as a Disaster Corps Project Lead. SBP has many Americorps members at sites throughout the country, and we re-build houses and respond to disasters. After Hurricane Ida hit at the end of August 2021, I was deployed to provide relief in Houma, LA one city that was hit particularly hard.
DisasterCorps Project Lead (2021-2022)
The traditional Project Lead role is to lead volunteers on site and rebuild homes hit by disasters. This was my role while I served in Houston, rebuilding homes damaged from Hurricane Harvey and Winter Storm Uri. I was also part of the first cohort of a disaster response team called the DisasterCorps. We had similar roles to normal PL’s, but when a disaster made landfall during our terms, we’d be the first deployed to be boots on the ground responders. In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane it is too soon to start rebuilding, so the first months I was deployed, we led volunteers in mucking, gutting, and mold remediating effected homes.
Throughout my term I rebuilt many houses, and so learned many aspects of construction. The phases I learned were: insulation, drywall, taping and mudding, sanding, texture, painting, flooring, tiling, trim and baseboards, basic cabinet/counter installation, doors and door handles.
We would not have the impact we do without utilizing volunteers. My role included teaching, managing and supervising up to 30 volunteers on a site, making sure they stay safe, work effectively and have a positive experience.
After hurricane Ida his at the end of August 2021, I was deployed to Southeast Louisiana to provide response. We worked to muck, gut, and mold remediate homes with wind, water and flood damage.
Sitting With Homeowners
Part of the job is working with the homeowners to clean out belongings they would like to keep before we gut. This phase is always emotional, and sometimes people must make hard decisions when things they love are damaged beyond repair. Sitting with them in these moments is the most rewarding part of the job for me.