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Students to help rebuild in Sandy aftermath

Tori Roeck | Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of college students, including many from Notre Dame, will return home to New York and New Jersey for winter break to face the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

While many of these students felt helpless as the storm passed through their hometowns, senior Catherine Flatley, who hails from New Vernon, N.J., started the program We Come Home as a way for them to contribute to relief efforts.

“[We Come Home is] a campaign to mobilize college students from New York and New Jersey to get involved with Sandy cleanup over winter break,” Flatley said. “We’re trying to work with relief organizations that are already in the area fulfilling whatever needs they have.”

We Come Home has campus ambassadors at schools across the country spreading information about how to get involved, senior Notre Dame ambassador Brianna Geary said.

“Our slogan is, ‘We left to begin building our lives. We’re back to begin rebuilding our home,'” Geary said.

Flatley said students can fill out an application on the We Come Home website to volunteer either two or five days of service to relief efforts.

“People fill out the application, they select what periods of the ones listed they’re available for and which area they’d be available to work for based on different counties we have listed,” she said. “Then they will be put in contact with organizations in that area that need volunteers.”

Students can participate in a variety of different tasks based on what the organizations need help with, Geary said.

“The destruction is so widespread that there are many, many things people could get involved with,” she said. “If people have preferences, they can put down any special skills they have on the application on the website.”