By Whitney Johnson
Hurricane Sandy severely affected areas along the east coast. Since New York was one of the states with the most damage, a few leadership fellows took the initiative to travel to the city and lend a helping hand on December 7-9. The students collected clothes, toys, and donations to take to New York so that they could make a difference in the lives of those in need. L.E.A.D, a new organization within the leadership institute formed under the advisement of Professor Rick Jarvis, made this hurricane relief project their first contribution to society. L.E.A.D stands for Leaders Educating and Developing.
The students left the campus of Hampton University on Friday around midnight and returned on Sunday. According to Da’Quan Marcell Love, a junior political science major and leadership studies minor from Henrico County, VA, L.E.A.D helped to rebuild communities and provide Mount Carmel Baptist Church with clothes, toys, and essential items for their congregation in Far Rockaway, NY. When all the hard work was complete, they made a little time to tour the city and sightsee.
"The most important thing is that the L.E.A.D committee banded together trying to help people who really need help. President Obama commented in his victory speech about being a positive influence within the community; that’s the kind of motivation that we have. He said we are our brother’s keepers, so we went up there with that attitude and worked hard and made other people’s lives better. It touched the students in a way that they will never forget and that’s important," said Jarvis.
Seth Martin, a sophomore broadcast journalism and leadership studies minor from Little Rock, Arkansas, serves as the head chair for L.E.A.D. When asked how he felt about the trip, Martin said, "It was our honor to assist those who are still in need. Our hearts were filled with joy as we helped those in need. We didn't just take the people food and clothes, we also gave them hope. We were thankful we could help and we will continue to lend a helping Hampton hand and encourage all Hamptonians to do the same."
"I am extremely proud that the Leadership Institute has taken an active role in assisting people affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Battinto L. Batts Jr., director of the Leadership Institute. "Our students are trained to put their skills to use in the service of others. This was the perfect opportunity for these leaders to see the impact they can have."