December 03, 2012
On Nov. 18, 2012, St. John’s students, alumni, faculty, and Dean
Michael A. Simons traveled to South Beach, Staten Island, to assist
with cleanup efforts in the hurricane devastated community.
After dropping off donations, the St. John's crew worked on
winterizing a bungalow belonging
to an elderly woman. Water marks in the home showed that the storm
surge brought in about eight feet of water. (Thankfully, the
homeowner and her family evacuated before the storm hit.)
Everything but the floor, ceiling and studs were destroyed. Teaming
with volunteer contractors from Maryland, the Law School volunteers
completed the tear out.
It was a moving experience for all. "I'm very proud of my Law
School for taking such an initiative,” said volunteer Eric Sauter
’08. “It's great to see the Vincentian legacy of St. John's
enduring as it should." One of his fellow alumni volunteers was
Staten Island resident Hon. Charles M. Troia ’89 of Kings County
Criminal Court, who shared: "I have never been so proud to be a St.
John’s graduate as I was that Sunday. As lawyers we have a moral
obligation to give back to our communities in words deeds."
The humanitarian service trip service trip was coordinated by
Jennifer Baum, the Director of the Law School’s
Child Advocacy Clinic, under the auspices of the Law School’s
Pro Bono Hurricane Committee. This was the Committee’s second
service trip to Staten Island. The first trip was to Midland Beach
on November 11, 2012. The Committee also recently led a group of 15
St. John’s Law School alumni to staff a free legal clinic at St.
Frances de Sales Church in Queens County’s Belle Harbor. Organized
and guided by Professors
Ann L. Goldweber and
Gina M. Calabrese – who direct the Law School’s
Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic – and a
team from the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project, the St. John’s
volunteers assisted local residents with legal questions regarding
homeowner and flood insurance and landlord-tenant matters. “Based
on the devastation we witnessed, recovery efforts will continue for
quite some time,” professor Goldweber said. Our alumni’s immediate
response and commitment to providing legal assistance was
impressive. Over the next several months we expect legal needs to
increase and our alumni and students are ready to help.”
The Pro Bono Hurricane Committee’s legal and humanitarian service
initiatives will resume for St. John’s law students at the end of
the final exam period. Alumni who want to organize a service trip
for the weekends of 12/1, 12/7, or 12/14 should email SandyProBono@stjohns.edu.