Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering In New Orleans

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some Chicago high school students returned home Friday from a spring break trip to New Orleans, where they painted houses, hung drywall and installed insulation in homes being rebuilt nearly six years after Hurricane Katrina.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, for most kids, spring break is a time to hang out, to sleep in and to do a whole lot of nothing.

Then there are the volunteers from three Chicago Public Schools: Thomas Kelly High School, Greater Lawndale High School For Social Justice and Percy Julian High School.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

For the fifth year, the students raised money to go to New Orleans and get their hands dirty, helping people who need help.

“These are pretty special kids,” said Kelly High School social studies teacher Bill Lamm.

students working 0422 Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering In New Orleans

Students from three Chicago Public Schools – Kelly, Julian and Social Justice high schools – spent their spring break in New Orleans, helping work on homes being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina six years ago. (Credit: Xian Barrett)

“We were hanging drywall, putting in insulation, painting houses,” Lamm added. “They like helping other people. We make personal contact, we oftentimes meet the homeowner and that really makes the connection tighter with the kids. These are amazing students.”

Lamm said a highlight of the trip was painting the home of a Korean War veteran and his wife.

“Their house had about eight feet of water in it. And they came out and were so gracious to us and our students worked so hard for them,” Lamm said. “85 degrees in the hot sun painting their house. It was just, it was wonderful.”

They kids also met with student groups and met with activists.

“That are trying to solve the problems down there in New Orleans and why that city has been so neglected,” Lamm said. “It was wonderful because they were so grateful and the students were really interested in them. It’s just a wonderful moment to see.”

While in New Orleans, the students slept in a school gym and made their own meals.

  • A. Saxon

    After watching Katrina on TV, my question is, where are all of the unemployed young black men I saw in the footage? Why would kids from another state have to go help out? It seems to me that New Orleans has a huge potential work force. With all that needed to be done, unemployment should be very low. I saw alot of criminal looting going on after the storm, and it seemed like there were plenty of able bodied people carrying TV’s out of the stores of people who worked hard to have a store. Does anyone know why there isn’t a massive young black work force to depend on? I’m sure they are not just lazy like young black Chicago men.

    • Shaina

      Dude. we are not lazy people. we are VOLUNTEERS meaning that we do not get paid. the government is not helping them and what is wrong with helping people because I’m sure that you did not volunteer or donate money

      • tina

        Thank yo Shaina for have our back because we go down there and work really hard

  • nichole

    my youth group has been doing this every spring break since Katrina hit.

  • David

    “Im sure they are not just lazy like young black Chicago men” speak with “I” statements when EVER you comment on a public blog. You must not question why other people are not doing, question YOURSELF. What I’m I as a person NOT doing or doing to lend a hand as well. Hegemony is a big part of why there are problems in this country but after finding the roots of the problems one must go into action and try to dissolve those problems and thats what this trip was is, an action to better someones home–while applying their experiences as well. I went on this trip in high school 2 years in a row and if it wasn’t for midterms in college, I would have been there again. Great job you guys.

  • Fernando G

    I guess that Saxon could not volunteer because he was too busy reading Mein Kampf. Saxon, I guess you are proud little man.

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