Life after Wilson

Students majoring in philosophy or religion are well equipped for positions that call for perceptive and insightful thinking.  Because of this, majors in philosophy and religion provide an excellent foundation for meaningful work in several career areas.  Alumnae have elected to pursue professional and graduate degrees in such fields as ministry, law, counseling, and social work.  Others have opted immediately to pursue employment opportunities in business, personnel, and youth work. 

Jessica Doyle's Journal

This is the journal of Jessica Doyle.  Jessica graduated from Wilson College in Spring 2005 with a degree in Philosophy and Religion.  Jessica decided to join the Americorp *NCCC and is stationed is Sacramento, California for her 10 month training period.  During the coming months we will follow Jess's adventure through her training.  Check back regularly for her journal entries.

Entry #1 - 9/23/05

I guess I should start out and introduce myself. My name is Jessica Doyle, and I graduated Wilson in the Spring of '05 with a degree in religious studies and philosophy. Not quite sure what to do with my degree, I decided to join AmeriCorps *NCCC. Yesterday, was my first day on campus in Sacramento, California. Now, if anyone knows me, I am not really the adventurous type, but here I am anyways, miles and miles away from my home in NJ, here to serve for 10 months. AmeriCorps itself is a nation wide community based volunteer program. Tomorrow we start our physical training schedule. I am not too excited about this. Our day starts at 6:45 am each morning with a brisk 1.5 - 3 mile run. Then after breakfast, we have a bunch of team building exercises. Think back to Freshman year, doing all of those icebreakers. Today, we played Ameri Bingo. Basically a huge meet and greet which turned out to be pretty rowdy gathering. Today was also our first day we had to be in full uniform. I do believe that the entire ensemble from shirt down to the boots is totally geared toward the male figure. Totally non flattering for the us girls, the shorts come down to the knee almost; we all realized that they look and fit better on the guys here on campus than the girls. I am still trying to figure out whether or not I want to join the fire team and help fight forest fires in the area. Monday starts the week long "pack" trials, where we literally have to wear a fire coat loaded with weights (45 lbs) and walk for 45 minutes straight, no stopping. The only problem with joining the Fire teams, is that most stay in the area, which means no traveling down doing disaster relief in New Orleans or Texas if it gets bad down that way. This "journal" entry could easily become an entire page, what with all the new information and things I have saw and done so far, but that could become boring and very tedious for me, so for now I will sign off. To all my Wilson Girls, (and you know who you are!) I miss you all!

Entry #2 - 10/15/05

 

Hey all!

Hope everyone is doing well.  It still is absolutely gorgeous out here, and the temperature never reaches below 70's unless its early in the morning or at dusk, which is perfect.  I am sorry this second e-mail has been so long in coming, they have really kept us all very busy, so when I do have free time, I usually opt to go to bed early!

I have so much news for everyone, I just don't even know where to start!  First off, I have to say, that I am glad to be off the catered food, and onto bigger and better three square meals a day.  Once we got into our permanent teams (we are Blue 2!), we started cooking for ourselves (twelve of us) and also for the team (blue 7) who shares our kitchen station with us.  Gus and I cooked dinner one night, and made excellent chicken and eggplant Parmesan.  So good!  Let me tell you, it is very hard to cook for 24 people! 

Our days have been spent pretty much either in the Wildlife Training Center receiving more training, or in one of our buildings, with the entire Corps (about 220 of us), either having meetings or taking more classes.  Two of the best classes so far, were when we received Red Cross training in disaster relief (Mass Care and Shelter Operations- learning how to fill out paper work to either take in or discharge clients who come to us needing shelter) and our afternoon class in community mapping.  I know you all will want to call me a dork, but I really enjoyed the community mapping class (five hours long) because it was exactly like a lecture class, and I really miss taking classes.  Basically what the lecturer talked about was building communities by their assets, instead of limiting their community and who served in their community by what was different, or by the skills they didn't have.  I think that this "thinking" was big in the 80's or early 90's though I don't remember it.  

I guess you could say our team is bonding, it is very hard though because of the age differences and the maturity levels of some on the team.  A lot of the other teams that I know of, have a much more balanced team per say, and then their is my team which is a basic hodgepodge of members.  Five of us are 21- 24 years old, and the rest are 18- 20 years old.  I have to say though, that even not knowing how old everyone is, I can tell just based on the maturity level those that are much younger.  It's not a bad thing really, its just something I have to adjust to.  I have become fast friends with Emily who is from South Dakota, Kendall, who is from South Carolina, and Meghan who is from Florida (who is not on my team but was on my POD- temp. team at the beginning).  We have had many a good time, trying to get into Old Sac by Light Rail late at night, realizing once we got to the station, that the train was not running, and then walking back to base.  I think that Sacramento has to be one of the dirtiest cities that I have visited so far.  There is this one part, a tunnel, which goes underneath the train tracks (about a 20 minute walk from base) let me tell you, its very scary at night, the one time, the guys that were with us lit the tunnel using their cell phones, it was so dark, an not a very pleasant place either.  Twice upon walking through there (because that is the only way to get to the main road) we have seen homeless men either near the tunnel, or near it.  Driving into the city of Sacramento, I saw an actual homeless community, "FriendshipPark."  It really wasn't that big, but their was one main building, and then on the outskirts, various different sized boxes, and clothing articles lined the chained link fence which enclosed the entire place.  So sorry for this bummer of a section of mail, its just that seeing this every day, has left a huge impression on my mind, that something needs to be done.  Maybe I can come up with a good ISP project (Independent Service Project- I have to do 80 hours throughout the year).

Now for the exciting news!  We have found out what our first Phase project will be!  I think, being that my birthday is on the 23rd, and we get deployed on the 24th, I will be getting the best birthday present ever!  We found out last Friday, that our team will be doing disaster relief  with the organization FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) to help out in the Katrina and Rita disaster relief.  How awesome is that?  We still do not know where we are headed, and might not know until the day before we depart, but that's what we will be doing the first four weeks of phase I.  The second month, we will be heading down to Orange County California, home of Los Angeles, and also (for all who is familiar with these shows, especially my Wilson girls)  it is home to the two TV shows the OC and Laguna Beach!!!!!!!!!  How awesome is that?!?!  We are going to be working at a camp for mostly inner city youth (it seems to be like a ranch) fixing up the camp as well as cleaning brush along trails, so there is less of a fire hazard.  I am really excited!  This Tuesday, our team has to give our first team briefing for the staff here at NCCC, to show them that we have researched the project and the site to the best of our ability (nearest hospital, team goals for the project, what our different team member's strengths and weaknesses are etc.).

This past week, has been really hectic but a lot of fun, maybe the best week so far of training.  On Wednesday, our Unit (the Blue Unit encompassing seven different teams) headed out to Camp Mendocino, located four hours north east of Sacramento.  We stayed there for three days and three nights, just got back this afternoon actually, and did a bunch of team building exercises as well as helped to clean up the camp for the kids in the summer (throughout the week the entire Corps was able to install about 400 feet of pipe- for water supply, four large piles of chopped fire wood and three miles of underbrush cleared from off the main road that leads into the camp.  The camp itself is for the San Francisco Boys and Girls Clubs.  The camp itself is located on 2000 acres of absolutely beautiful mountainous redwood forests.  The first day we got there, we walked to "the Big Tree"  which was a 2000 year old large Redwood tree, it took all 12 of us linked arms to "hug" the diameter of the trunk that's how large this tree was!  Two days was certainly not long enough, I could have stayed there for quite some time and been pretty content, the area was so amazing.  My favorite team training, was a project called "hands of peace."   We learned how to actively listen and also how to be non bias when giving someone advice, I think that this will definitely come in handy during this year, and also later in life.

Although, in the last email I think I had stated we were going into San Fran, our plans fell through, so I am hoping that this weekend, we will be able to go.  I will try my hardest to send e-mails more regularly so that there is not too much to read in one e-mail, there's just so much that we are doing here.  I hope all is well at home and with all of my friends and family who are either traveling, or who are at school.  Hope to hear from all of you giving me updates on your lives!  Miss you all!

Love always,
Jess  

P.S. My address is:

Jessica Doyle
AmeriCorps *NCCC
3427 Laurel Street
McClellan, CA 95652

Entry #3 - 10/24/05

 

Hey to all!

Hope all of you are doing fantabulously! 

I am really excited, T minus 45 minutes and counting until we leave for the airport!  Our plane leaves from the Sacramento airport at 12:15 am tomorrow morning (Oct.25).  We arrive at Houston airport, have an hour and a half layover, and then we fly out to Jackson Mississippi.  So far anyways that is our plan.  I think AmeriCorps pretty much booked the entire flight, for there are 7 teams of 12 flying out on the same plane to Houston.  Then from Houston, half of the teams fly into Baton Rouge, and the other half fly into Jackson.  We have heard many Ameri rumors however, that everyone's plans are going to change, so I guess we surely won't know what our orders are until we get off the plane!  This morning, our team was still going to go to Jackson Mississippi for training with FEMA, and then participate in Operation Blue Roof (tarping peoples houses to keep out the rain), but this afternoon, we heard that we were still headed to Jackson for training, and then we were going to drive to Alabama to help process people coming into shelters, and also helping them move back into their homes.  So, as of right now, we are all quite clueless, but we have to keep telling ourselves to be Flexible!

Some of the other teams have already left this morning, including my roommate, Shannon's team.  They too are going into Jackson, Mississippi, but they are manning the phones at a call center, locating people, and answering questions and such.  Another friend of mine, Beck is in Jackson too, but they are working in a food bank area, handing out food to people.  So it would be nice to stay in Jackson(or near there) because we would all be staying in the same tent city.  The Corps that is there, are to occupy an entire tent (100 people a tent).  Supposedly we get portable showers, the kitchen and mess hall is in one tent, there is a rec room which is also in a tent, even an infirmary and such.  An entire community located under canvas.  How exciting is that!

I am hoping to be able to check my email while i am there, though I am not sure when, it all depends on if there is a local library in the area or not.  Just wanted to thank you all for the emails, and cards, I enjoy hearing from everyone so much, it makes me feel like home is not so far away.  and of course you have all been in my thoughts and prayers. 

Last weekend, Peter, Allie and I went to San  Francisco!  It was so amazing!  we stayed at this little historical hotel called, Hotel de Paul, in Little Italy, about five blocks maybe from Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.  I think San Fran is now my favorite city in the US.  Beautiful weather, amazing food, great people.  We ate at this small Italian and Greek place for lunch on Saturday, then we walked down to Pier 39 and saw the sea lions.  I think they like the tourists, for they all at one time or another, would perform, and "sing" for their audience.  We also got to walk around China Town, which is so beautiful, so colorful.  Dinner, we ate till we were stuffed at this Indian restaurant, I'm telling you that we were so spoiled by all the delicious food that we ate while there.  On Sunday, we slept in, and then walked to and up Lombard street(the windiest street in the US) and we took a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then to Haight and Ashbury Street (Hippie street).  Such amazing stores with beautiful clothing, it was like walking back into time to the 60's and 70's.  We didn't spend too much time there though, because we had to get back to the bus, but we are already planning a second trip out!  

Well, I guess I should be going, only a few minutes more, and then I will be headed out to the airport!  ~ Oh, and in case any of you were wondering, I can still get mail, while we are doing disaster stuff, AmeriCorps ships Fed Ex packages to us all twice a week.  No pressure though, although I do miss hearing from all my Wilson girls!  

Take care all!  Hope to hear from you soon!

Love always,
Jess 

Entry #4 - 11/28/05

 

Hey all!

Hope everyone is healthy and happy.  I would first like to say that at this current moment, I am sending you all a big warm greeting and a Happy Thanksgiving from CA and recently, from Mississippi.  To all of my Wilson girls, since I am missing the annual Wilson Thanksgiving dinner, do me proud, and carve those turkeys!

Oh geez oh man, (that seems to be my new phrase of choice these days for some reason); where do I start? I thought e-mail would be an excellent way to keep in touch with everyone, and it really is, but a whole month's worth of updated info is a lot to put into one e-mail, so maybe I'll do this in segments.

Our Katrina disaster relief/ recovery project began when we left for Jackson Mississippi on a delta flight at 12 am on the 24th of October.  Our team first met up with a bunch of other teams from Sacramento, and also from the Charleston campus for a one night stay in the attic of Mississippi College's sports center.  That was pretty sweet, in the fact that they had a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, so we figured us girls would pamper ourselves before our month of disaster relief.  The next day we drove to Mobile, Alabama where we stayed for two days and three nights on the cruise ship Holiday.  Yes you heard that right, it was indeed a cruise ship!  Here we got our first glimpse into the lives of the Katrina evacuees, for not only were there volunteers living aboard, but also FEMA personnel, the regular crew staff and the displaced evacuees.  The cruise ship was run exactly like how I would imagine one would be run except that all of the entertainment, the poker rooms, were closed, and other common room areas were taken over by FEMA personnel to either do intake information for those people just boarding the ship, or rooms were allotted for training new volunteers.  So we spent two intense days of training under the supervision of UMCOR (United Methodists Committee on Relief).  During that time we learned how to become good case workers,  and we soon found out we were also FEMA's guinea pigs due to the us being the first teams to do this kind of work.  Our title would now become the "Shelter Transition Strike Team" (if this is stated in a loud booming voice, one gets the full effect). 

Basically our job was to sit down with evacuees, and help them to fill out paperwork (which sometimes was already filled out beforehand, but then was lost somewhere between Mississippi and the JFO- Joint Field Office in Jackson).  If this was the case, we would apologize, turn our FEMA badges around and explain that we were only working with FEMA to gather this info, but we were actually AmeriCorps *NCCC members.  Usually people would be understanding, but there were still some disgruntled people understandably.  This paperwork was basically their link to the computer program NEMIS through which FEMA would set the evacuees up with travel trailer homes, mobile homes or other means of assistance. 

Once we left the cruise ship, we traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi (one of the hardest hit areas a few miles from the Gulf coast) where we would be staying on the Naval Seabee base (oh yeah!) for the first three weeks.  Our team, along with five other AmeriCorps teams from Sacramento, and then five other teams from Charleston, slept on cots alongside 600 other volunteers from all over the country.  Let me just say, that it was the most amazing experience I have ever been able to have!  The second night we were there, a group of 30-40 fire fighters from Puerto Rico came and stayed near our group, so I got to meet a few, and talk to them about what they were doing.  They were actually working on an island, called Horn island located just off the coast, doing debris removal.  I loved the time spent on the base.  The American Red Cross did such an amazing job in setting up our facilities, and I really called it home after a few nights.  The food itself was so good, I think I put on a few pounds (every Sunday night they would cook us all prime rib- and the one night we had catfish and gumbo, not to mention the lavish breakfasts, and five pound lunches each day).  We found out that we were actually eating a 3000 calorie diet per day, because the food service that was contracted out by the Red Cross had specific info to feed us all like we were fire fighters doing debris removal and such.

We spent the next three weeks at the Woolmarket Community Shelter.  This particular shelter, was for special needs evacuees.  The most amount of people, we had at the shelter was 50 people, which is really good for us, since other shelters in the area had anywhere from a couple hundred evacuees to a couple of thousand.  The first couple of days were pretty busy, I did three to four initial intake interviews.  Those first days were also the most mentally draining as well.  The one day, as I was checking in with the Red Cross volunteer to see how many new people that had just come in, and how many people had left the shelter, she handed over the list of the outgoing people; their were 16 people who had left for other means of shelter!  That I think was our overall best day at the shelter.  When that happens its kind of bittersweet in a way.  Bitter, in the fact that our newly made friends were leaving us, but also extremely sweet because we knew that they were moving on to better housing whether it be a FEMA trailer, an apartment, moving in with friends, or renting a hotel room. 

The one afternoon we had off, one of our supervisors at the time, Dave, took us out to the Gulf Coast to see all of the damage first hand.  That part of Biloxi, Mississippi, the highway 90 that runs down the coast, is still controlled by the national guard down there.  If it wasn't for our FEMA badges, we would not have been able to get past the check points.  The devastation was so immense.  I have never seen anything like it.  What you see on T.V., or in the newspapers, or hear on the radio could not prepare anyone for what  you actually see in person.  The coast of Mississippi was hit hard.  Thirty foot waves engulfed the coast line, taking huge Casino boats, tied to the docks, and dumping them hundreds of feet up, across interstate 90 onto people's yards and what once were houses and hotels.  Absolutely incredible.  Almost all of the houses and hotels which once lined the beach front area, were totally devastated.  Most aren't there anymore, bare foundations wiped clean.  In one "neighborhood", we walked around a bit just taking it all in.  One house which was damaged, but managed to stay somewhat intact, had a huge piece of plywood nailed to the front door.  In bright orange spray paint it read, "All Ok, do not demolish."  Just a few houses down, another piece of plywood, read, "You Loot, We Shoot."  I was able to take some photographs, but not many, because if we were caught taking pictures, we could all be arrested, that's how stringent the police/ military force was in many areas.

The last week, we all broke into pairs, and we traveled up the East side of Mississippi in rental cars to the different hotels, helping people fill out the paperwork for trailers, monetary assistance etc.  By this time, we all had it down pat, at times, we even knew more than our own FEMA supervisors! 

Although our job down in Mississippi was oftentimes frustrating, overall I had a blast.  I met so many awesome people both residents of Mississippi and Red Cross and other volunteers.  I wish that I could write more, but I am afraid that this e-mail would soon become a book, I have so many stories to share.  Tomorrow though, my team is leaving for Orange County, CA to work on a camp for kids learning about the environment, called Rancho Sonada.  There, we are doing fuel reduction and fire mitigation, clearing brush from the areas around buildings so the threat of fire is not as great.  Can't wait to come home for Christmas though, we get back to campus on the 18th of December, have time to debrief and do some laundry, and then I can leave for home by the 22nd of December at 5pm!

I meant to include this in with the first e-mail, if anyone is interested in learning more about AmeriCorps *NCCC, go to www.americorps.org/nccc.  Also, if you would like to donate to help out with the Katrina/ Rita disaster relief and recovery go to www.redcross.org.  Not only are monetary donations needed, but clothing donations are needed too. 

Take Care all!  Love ya!

~Jess 

Entry #5 - 1/21/06

 

Hey all!

Well, its been a pretty busy last couple of weeks.  I hope that everyone's holiday season was good.  Mine was fabulous, I got to see some of my Wilson girls, catch up with family and friends from home.  My Christmas break- which lasted for two weeks, went by way too fast and before I knew it I was headed back to Sacramento, California for more training before heading out to our next Spike project in Green River, Utah. 


Our two weeks of training seemed to drag on for all of us.  It seems sometimes, that NCCC just thinks up some different workshops for us Corps members to attend to.  Three of our workshops were pretty interesting, and we learned some invaluable information.  One afternoon we had a workshop on poverty in the United States.  I thought that it would give a lot of statistical information, but it ended up being a workshop on human stereo types that go with the different social statuses (Poverty, Middle Class and Wealth).  Most of us were pretty disappointed.  The next workshop was on mandated reporting and the signs of abuse in children and adults.  That was an intense three hours, but included a lot of information which could be useful in the future.  Our other workshop was on alcohol awareness.  It seems that a lot of our NCCC campuses have been having issues with alcohol abuse with underagers- ours included.  The workshop was good, though it ended up being mostly on drug information- so now I could tell you all the uses/missuses for the drug marijuana (or cannabis).

It took two whole days of driving to get to Green River.  We left at 6am on the 17th of January.  We ended up spending the night in Wells, Nevada (a very small town), and then started driving at quarter to 6 the next morning.  Well at around 7am- after waking up, and realizing it had started snowing pretty heavily, we passed a sign which read "Snow chains required when lights are blinking, pull off 1/4 mile."  So, along with everyone else, we pulled over and jumped out thinking that it would only be a quick fifteen minutes or so and then we would be on the road again.  That fifteen minutes turned into a very long and cold hour and a half as we struggled to get the chains over our back tires.  The State trooper who finally stopped to help us even tried, and we realized that the chains were too short.  Although we went through training, we realized that three out of the four chains that were issued to our vehicle were not the right size.  Thank you US govt.! 

Despite the snow and somewhat slick conditions we managed to get to Green River safely and without any mishaps.  As we pulled up to the local community center, we were greeted by several of the kids who attend there, as well as our sponsors, Christine and Joanie.  Our main goal of this project is an unmet human needs project along with an educational project as well.  The town of Green River, Utah has a population of a little below a thousand people (aka- everyone knows everybody).  The main businesses, which line main street are three different restaurants,a museum, a post office, a bank, a tavern, the community center, one elementary school, a medical center,  one high school, one grocery store, 8 different hotels/ motels, one catholic church (which is in somebody's house), a small pentecostal church, and a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The community basically survives off of their agriculture (watermelons are big), and tourism in the summer.  

The town itself has a very high population of kids under 18, and adults over 40 or so.  Most people once they graduate high school, leave the town, so many of the kids do not have many mentors to look up too.  Our project here is to work with the students in the elementary school and the high school, during the school day hours, and then come back to the community center to help out with after school activities.  We learned that 40% of the population of Green River is at or under the US Poverty line.  A lot of the kids parents are not home after school, so many of them including a lot of the younger kids, end up staying home by themselves.  We have learned that there is also a high rate of teen pregnancy and drug use.  So we are trying to get the kids to come to the comm. center for after school activities.  The comm. center also has a food pantry, and we help Christine and Joanie provide the kids who come to the center with nutritious lunch and or dinner.  Yesterday I learned that the center also delivers hot meals to 30 elderly shut ins five days a week, as well as numerous food baskets on any given week for those residents who are ill or who had fallen on bad times.  I don't know how Christine and the rest of the staff do it, but this community center is a model for all and I am just so glad to be helping out here.

On Thursday and Friday, I got to help out in the elementary school- helping out a class of third graders on their math assignments, and helping to read to some kids in a 1st grade class.  After the day is done- which isn't until 6 or seven pm.  I realize just how waring kids really are.  They have so much energy, especially the little ones.  Today we were able to help with taking down the Christmas lights at a local park which the previous NCCC team had put up.  We are also supposed to go to a local geyser just five miles away, which should be awesome.

I do have to say, that the country out here, is nothing that I have ever seen before, and is absolutely breathtaking.  I have never seen so many stars at night, and wish I had a telescope.  Our view right outside our window is absolutely breath taking, for the Book Cliff hills are in the distance across the Green River.  The only thing I can compare them too, is what the grand canyon looks like, with all the stratification on the hills.  I am hoping to get some good hiking in, since we have two whole months here!

Well, this e-mail seems to be of formidable size, and I have rambled enough for one letter.  Please keep me updated on your lives there at home, and if I have forgotten to send this to anyone, please pass this on!

Much Love from the grand state of Utah,

Jess   

Entry #6 - 4/2/06

 

Hello!

I guess I should first apologize for not writing in such a long time, computer access has been somewhat scarce, when I actually do have time to sit down and write.  Hope this letter finds everyone well.  Congratulations, goes out to the Wilson College Western Team and the Hunt Seat Team for doing so well in all of their shows.  I miss my Wilson girls!  Right now I am in Lake Charles, Louisiana, working with the City of Lake Charles, cleaning up debris from resident's yards of the area.  Mainly we work with the elderly, the disabled and the low income residents of the area to get their front/back yards cleaned up.  On Friday I learned all about the joys of weed-whacking, and I fear when I come home in the summer, weed-whacking will be another job for me to do.  So far my team and I have been working really hard.  Just last week we cleaned up 14 total yards!  This week, I am hoping for 16. 

This Tuesday, there is another team coming in from the Sacramento Campus who will also be staying with us at the Purple Heart Rec Center, also helping people clean up their yards.  Although there are 80,000 residents of the City of Lake Charles, I am positive that between the two teams, we can put a small dent in the lives of those who were affected by Hurricane Rita.  I also have to say, that I love the south, the southern hospitality that has met us each and every day, has been nothing that I have ever experienced before.  The St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church of Lake Charles has been making us home cooked meals for dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I fear if I am to fit comfortably into my uniform pants, I will start having to exercise six times a week (I have been doing 5).  And of course, the food here is amazing.  I am currently trying to work on getting somewhat of a "favorite recipe" book together of my time within AmeriCorps *NCCC. 

Lake Charles, was not hit nearly as bad as some other areas that I have been in (like Biloxi, MS or St. Bernard Parish, LA) but driving around you can definitely tell a big destructive storm came through.  Not a lot of water damage thankfully.  Most houses just had a little rain, and wind damage, with others not so lucky, succumbing to tornadoes and stronger winds.  Though it will still be awhile before the City will be back to where it was before Rita hit.  I am hoping to get out to Cameron parish, which is where the worst of the devastation seems to have been.  Cameron is located about a 15 minute drive here, but they say that there was 100% damage, there is not one house that was not touched by the storm.  We already have four AmeriCorps *NCCC teams there, living in a tent city and gutting houses (removing the interior walls, ceiling, pretty much everything) so that the house itself can be aired out and sprayed down with bleach to remove the mold.  So next weekend, I hope to help a team out there in a distribution center if at all possible.  Well, I have to get back to the van, we have to get our living quarters (which is a aerobics room in the back of a rec center) ready for the other 12 member team which should be arriving on Tuesday.  I hope to write again soon, with more updates of my travels. 

Much Love,

Jess Doyle