Rhodes Rebuilds, founded in the spring of 2005, is a student-led natural disaster response organization focused around the offering of unskilled labor to our neighboring communities in their times of need. The core foundation of Rhodes Rebuilds is centered upon helping others, specifically through manual labor in response to natural disasters. The very purpose of the organization comprises the title itself: Rhodes students attempting to rebuild shattered homes and broken lives-- hence, Rhodes Rebuilds.
The original motives of the students involved in founding the organization were to help repair the homes damaged by the winds and waters of Hurricane Katrina. A select group of compassionate students assembled a team to spend Spring Break in New Orleans after the city permitted unskilled volunteers to take part in the relief effort. Since that first trip, Rhodes Rebuilds has extended assistance to regions affected by other disasters; in the fall of 2011, Rhodes Rebuilds sent a second group of students to provide help to the citizens of Joplin, MO after tornados ravaged the town. Our resources may be limited, but our impact certainly knows no bounds. We continue to help these two communities and will do so until damages have turned to communities once again.
So far, Rhodes Rebuilds has assisted in the reconstruction of water- and wind-damaged homes. While it is not necessary to have any sort of rebuilding or construction experience, those wishing to contribute should be willing to learn to use the tools of the trade and most definitely be willing to take instruction and constructive criticism, as nearly all volunteer sites involve a coordinator with experience instructing our students. Students who have been with the organization for quite some time will tell you that travel and living arrangements during volunteer trips are not luxurious. The first trip in Spring ′05 saw housing in tents and meals prepared by churches in the area. The first Joplin excursion saw similar living arrangements. Since the inner city of New Orleans has largely recovered, sleeping arrangements have evolved to hostels. Our expeditions are not a vacation; we use our time and efforts to aid others, and our frugality should reflect that. A majority of our proceeds are reserved for donations, not amenities, and students should be prepared for that when considering Rhodes Rebuilds as an outlet for their expression of compassionate service work.
If reading this has compelled you to take up a hammer and nails and join our cause of rebuilding homes lost, please feel free to contact any of the following individuals. We can all tell you that our experience has been emotional and inspiring, and you will meet individuals that share a genuine sense of caring for others and a strong desire to contribute to a cause that is greater than themselves. Those whom we have impacted over the years never cease to show their gratitude for our service and we hope you will get the chance to experience these things in the future with us.
Helen Floersh, President
Joseph McPeak, co-President
Iris Mercado, Secretary