NJ Teen Flood Volunteers Offer Advice to Louisiana

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    The flood waters from the Mississippi River has displaced thousands of homeowners along waterways in Mississippi and Louisiana.

    A dozen 10th- and 11th-graders who recently returned from volunteer duties in Minnesota's flood-ravaged Red River Valley are offering hope to the thousands of Louisiana residents whose homes are currently under water.

    "Have faith that people are on their way to help," encouraged Daniella Meyer, a student at the religious Ma'ayanot High School for Girls in Teaneck, N.J.

    Meyer and 11 classmates recently returned from a multi-day community service trip to northern Minnesota where they helped flood victims clean up and begin putting their lives back together.

    Much of it was plain old-fashioned grunt work, clearing away rubbish and discarded furniture that piled up in yards outside of homes.

    Daniella Steinreich told NBC New York about their experience helping a woman named Doris.

    "She no longer had to look outside her window only to see the things that once stood in her home lying on the ground," Steinreich said.

    As for the residents of Louisiana, Gali Sadek said she hoped they would "take it as an opportunity to make your priorities and seek out what's really important in life."

    To Sadek, that's family, not possessions.

    All of the teens said they came to realize that material things like iPods and designer dresses were not so important.

    "What's truly important is seeing a smile on someone's face after you've helped them," said Molly Brodsky, who added, "What's truly important is knowing you've impacted so many lives and enjoyed every moment of it."

    Ariella Steinreich serves as the Community Service Coordinator for Ma'ayanot, an all-girls school of 231 students, and put this trip together.

    And after this group returned from the Red River Valley, she said, "Already we have kids who want to sign up for next year."

    Meyer said flood victims in Louisiana can count on community service volunteers from schools across the country reaching out to offer help in the coming months.

    "When the federal aid leaves it will be times for schools like ours to step up and help," she said.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY