Port Richmond Partnership: LC 20

Throughout this semester, the Wagner College students of Learning Community (LC) 20 and their professors, Dr. Lori Weintrob and Dr. Jason Fitzgerald, devoted their time to work with the students at Port Richmond High School, helping the high school students learn to take initiative and become leaders in their community. This LC is titled, "Beyond Bono and Bill Gates: Leadership for Change in Today's World." When Meg and I shadowed the group of students from Wagner and Port Richmond High School, we saw them shoulder responsibilities that Bono and Bill Gates have inspired the world to do: to help those in need.

Before Hurricane Sandy hit the New York and New Jersey areas, the students were working on park safety in the Port Richmond area on Staten Island. The students started a petition on Change.org for the city to re-test the soil around Veterans Park on Staten Island for the presence of lead. Several years ago, the park tested positive for lead, and all the officials did was take out the top levels of soil, put down a plastic covering, and replaced it with new soil. The students are concerned that the lead has made its way back to the top soil, which would make the park unsafe for people. When consumed, lead causes mental retardation in children as well as other health problems to people of all ages.

Lead in the Park

Wagner and Port Richmond students sharing the dangers of lead in public park soil in Staten Island. They are petitioning the city to re-test the soil for lead presence.

When Meg and I went, it was the final trip of LC 20 to Port Richmond High School for the semester. Instead of continuing with the park issue, the students decided that helping the Hurricane Sandy Relief effort was needed more immediately. The students will still be petitioning for the re-testing of the park, but as of now, they are focusing their efforts on helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy. For an hour and a half, Wagner College and Port Richmond High School students, teachers, and professors helped sort out donations that had arrived a day before at Project Hospitality in Port Richmond.

Sorting Out Donations

Sorting out donations at break-neck speed with enthusiasm!

All the students and adults present were enthusiastic about helping out. There was a lot of spirit in the air and everyone lent a helping hand. Meg and I worked alongside the students and got to talk to them and hear their experience with the LC students. In about an hour, all the trucks were re-packed and fully sorted to the needs of the Project Hospitality coordinator. Anyone who would like to see what Project Hospitality needs in supplies or volunteer assistance can contact Karen Jackson at karen_jackson@projecthospitality.org.

LC 20 and PRHS

The enthusiastic group after we finished all of the sorting and re-packing.

Great work LC 20 and Port Richmond High School students! It was amazing to see all of these students stepping up and becoming leaders in their community.

Author: Lynn Tay

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