BI day reporting program clients in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. helped with Hurricane Sandy clean-up

Hurricane Sandy was the storm of the year, leaving behind mass destruction and disrupting hundreds of thousands of lives. Volunteers from across the country came to help with the clean-up effort, including a group of four clients and three staff members from the Community Transitions Center (CTC), a BI-operated day reporting program in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

When Matt O’Connor, a client service specialist at the CTC, shared his experience during a group session about volunteering for the cleanup effort on an earlier weekend, the CTC clients all said “Let’s do it.” On November 16, the group traveled to Staten Island to volunteer for a day.

Donning bright green sweatshirts with the CTC logo, the team started the day unloading and organizing emergency supplies at St. Mary Margaret Church, a distribution center where hurricane victims can pick up free supplies. Next, they were dispatched to a local home where they assisted the homeowner with ripping out water-damaged flooring and dry wall. “We were all shocked by the damage when we arrived,” says Tracy Stevens, BI program manager for the Community Transitions Center and a member of the volunteer team. “Our clients kept saying that it looked like a war zone and that they’d never seen anything like it.”

Stevens reports that the experience was a special one for everyone. “We were there all working together, we weren’t staff and clients, and I was really impressed how compassionate our clients were,” Stevens says. “We worked really hard and our clients all said that they wanted to go back to help finish with the recovery effort. I was really proud to hear them say that because it showed great initiative.” All of this is testament to a great team and a great program at the Community Transitions Center.