Lori Mould's everyday life!

NYS Buyout of Homes on Staten Island damaged by Superstorm Sandy November 19, 2013

Last month I mentioned this NYS buyout of homes in the Ocean Breeze area of Staten Island.  I stated that I would get back to y’all with some details but life has gotten in the way, however, there was an article posted today on the ABCNews website:  NY to Buy Homes in NYC Neighborhood Hit by Sandy (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ny-buy-homes-nyc-neighborhood-hit-sandy-20929102) so here we go.

During the October 2013 Volunteer trip in which several students from #SUNY #EmpireStateCollege went down to Staten Island to help in the recovery effort, Darrell Hayes, the Staten Island Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Diocese of New York, drove us into some of the worst hit areas on his side of the Island and provided some important background information regarding the folks that had and were still living there, the deaths from the storm, the buyout, and the history of the area.

I thought that the buyout was mandatory, however, the article states that it is voluntary.  Governor Cuomo stated that the state has offered to buy all of the 129 homes in several flood-prone areas that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The areas in question are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and tidal marshland.  Due to these factors, the area should be returned to the marshland that it once was before the housing boom brought families into these neighborhoods. The buyout for the homeowner’s will be at pre-storm value!

This buyout is a slippery slope because NYS is currently operating with a deficit.  On November 9, 2012, an article on the TimesUnion.com website titled: Cuomo says Sandy adds $1B to deficit: Governor expects worse financial picture for state (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cuomo-says-Sandy-adds-1B-to-deficit-4021228.php#ixzz2BhMPbLf2), stated that: “Without offering details, Cuomo said the storm would cause “an additional $1 billion deficit on the state side, maybe higher” on top of a deficit that before the storm had been pegged at $1 billion.”

After touring and helping the folks in these areas, I am sympathetic to their plight.  However, I would like to know what you think about this? Your comments and insight would be greatly appreciated!



One year later and many are still struggling… October 29, 2013

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast. My thoughts and prayers continue for those that are still struggling to regain their lives back. May you find the peace, strength, and courage to carry on. ❤ImageImageImage


The Power in Volunteer/Community Service/Service Learning Work October 28, 2013

This will be a three-part series regarding ways to give back to organizations/communities, etc. The first area that I will cover will be volunteering and this poem describes the essence of a volunteer!

Everyday Heroes

Volunteer holding elderly person's hand

Here’s to the everyday heroes,
The volunteers who do what they can,
To ease the suffering of others,
And be of service to their fellow man.

May they know the true satisfaction
That comes from helping others
Less fortunate than themselves,
But no less their sisters and brothers.

May they feel the gratitude in our hearts
For all of the good that they’ve done.
The appreciation that we all feel for them
Is truly second to none.

A volunteer is a person that gives of his or her time and skills to a project, organization, and service and in doing so gives back to those in need of a hand up and also by making his/her community better.

The volunteers are not given any monetary compensation but give of their time just because it feels good to do a good deed for others. There are many types and ways to volunteer!  A person can help an urban garden, plant trees in the community, spend time with the elderly, donate and/or collect food for the hungry, clean up trash, and so much more…you could even reach out with your own project anywhere that you see a need.
The length of volunteer projects can vary from hours to days and longer. There are many opportunities that can be done daily, weekly, and/or monthly.
Most people volunteer because it feels amazing to reach out and help others but it also gives each person a chance to learn a skill, meet new people, network with other volunteers and the organizations they work with, and did I mention…fun!!
Explore the volunteer data and stats in this interactive map:



Home safe… October 26, 2013

I am home safe from Sandy Relief on Staten Island but I can honestly say that I left a small piece on my heart there!  I am already looking at dates for a return trip because I know that value of having a safe, warm place to call home and coming home means so much to each of us.  My wish is that one day that some folks will have let go of various stereotypes surrounding the issue of homelessness in our country!  As many recent disasters have proven, it only takes an act of Mother Nature to wipe out our feeling of security and sense of belonging, our material possessions, our homes and jobs, and most heart wrenching of all our loved-ones.

It is truly ironic that the church we stayed at while on Staten Island was a temporary home to many each night!  I want to reach out to those individuals to find out what it meant to be homeless during Superstorm Sandy and/or if they were in their current situation because of the storm.  Often times, I feel that the folks that are homeless are the forgotten voices during times of disasters because the focus sifts to the overwhelming influx of need throughout the community during and after the crisis-at-hand.

I feel blessed to have been part of a group effort to help bring people “home.”  There is so much truth in the words: “Home is where the heart is!”  I take my “home” with me wherever I go because it is in my heart; however, there is much to be said about having a safe, comfortable place to rest your head at night, enjoy meals with your family and friends, and to build the bonds with everyone that enters over the threshold of the place we call “home.”  

Please reach out in anyway that you can to help those in need!


Disasters bring hard decisions… October 23, 2013

We took a short break during lunch today to drive through some of the hardest hit areas on Staten Island such as: Midland Beach, Ocean Breeze, New Dorp Beach, and Oakwood Beach.  There is evidence all around us which makes my heart ache for the people in this borough.  The now gentle waves of the Atlantic can be seen from a depopulated neighborhood in Oakwood beach as I stop my vehicle to take pictures of a tire swing gently twisting in the breeze.  Only a few feet from the swing is a concrete slab were there was once a home and a child that played in this yard that is now strewn with random debris that have been left here by Sandy.  The seagrasses tower over the pads, pools, and stairs that lead to nowhere!  And the smell that follows a hurricane lingers thick in the air.  It is heart wrenching to be deep in a neighborhood and not hear any sounds…

The Oakwood Beach neighborhood is a low-laying area that is surrounded by swampland and New York Governor Cuomo has designated the homeowners here to be the first neighborhood in line for a state-sponsored home buyout.  

“Let’s also recognize that there are some places that Mother Nature owns,” Cuomo told the audience at the College of Staten Island. “She may only come to visit every two years or three years or four years. But when she comes to visit, she reclaims the site…I want to be there for people and communities who want to say, ‘I’m going to give this parcel back to Mother Nature.'”

More on this plan later…



Staten Island-the quintessential borough

I am not sure about any of you but until Sandy made landfall  I did not realize that the borough of Staten Island is actually considered to be part of NYC.  After the storm, many of the residents felt that their situation was overshadowed by its sister boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Not long after the storm MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell shined a light on this quieter part of New York City on the Rewrite segment on The Last Word:

“To see Staten Island-all of it-would be to rewrite your understanding of NYC.  It is the place in NYC where wild deer run across roadways.  It is not the New York you know.  It is a place apart from NYC, five miles over the water on the ferry from Manhattan-and, in many ways, it might as well be a world away.  Staten Island has almost everything that the rest of NYC has except skyscrapers. But it has much more.

Wherever you live in American, Staten Island has a street that looks like a street in your town.  Rich-looking, suburban streets with mansions, small town streets with handsome, humble homes that families hold onto for generations.  If you got lost in the middles of the island, you could be in a spot that you might mistake for Vermont or West Virginia.  It is America’s biggest small town.”

I have been on Staten Island since Sunday and I can say that I have felt welcomed by everyone! I am excited and happy to have been a part of the post-Sandy Rebuilding Effort. More to come…


Sandy Rebuilding: Let our journey begin! October 21, 2013

I am laying here in the dark watching the lights of an airplane pass by the window and I find my thoughts drifting to these days’ events. I am looking forward to introducing our #SUNY Empire State College students to the amazing feeling of volunteerism by ‘giving a hand up and not a hand out.’ We are in Staten Island to work with the Episcopal Diocese of New York Disaster Response in Sandy Rebuilding. There is something very satisfying in knowing that with each hour of time we dedicate to this effort a family is that much closer to being able to go home.

I find myself reflecting on how fast any disaster can strike each of us and how fortunate I am because I have not had to deal with this type of circumstance. I cannot fathom what it feels like to not be able to walk across the threshold of my home especially with the holidays fast approaching. The classic line, “Home is where the heart is” truly does test the theory that one must work to adapt during our most difficult and trying times.Those feelings are what drive me to reach out to those wonderful folks that are waiting to go home.

I am excited to get started and 8:30 am cannot get here fast enough!