Huntington Habitat Begins House Build for Miss Youlanda

Habitat for Humanity chapter members and advisors with Youlanda Carey.

September 22, 2016

Huntington High School Habitat for Humanity chapter members will roll up their sleeves and begin the work of constructing a house in Ronkonkoma for one of its longtime supporters on Saturday.

The Huntington chapter announced last December that it was donating $20,000 to its Suffolk parent chapter and earmarking the money to help fund costs associated with building a house for Huntington High School security guard Youlanda Carey.

Now in its 14th year, the Huntington chapter was formed by high school dean Robert Gilmor III. The organization was recognized last December by the Huntington School Board for its work over the years. Near the end of the ceremony, current and alumni members revealed the group was making a large contribution and undertaking a house building project on behalf of Ms. Carey, who stood nearby stunned.

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Eli Mollineaux with Youlanda Carey

“This is a wonderful endeavor and yet another great example of how the Huntington community pulls together whenever there is a need,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “Miss Youlanda is certainly a very deserving recipient of this project as she is a staple here at Huntington High School and with Habitat for Humanity. This is a wonderful group of kids and Mr. Gilmor is to be commended for his continuous and tireless dedication to the group. It is an honor for me to have been invited to help with the build on Saturday and I am truly looking forward to it!”

Known as “Miss Youlanda” by the Huntington High School community, Ms. Carey is a disabled US Army veteran who served more than 20 years in uniform during tours through Panama, Korea, Germany, Hondouras and five US states. Her service included 15 years as a food service specialist, three years as a recruiter and two years as a basic training drill sergeant.

After retiring from the US Army in 2002, Ms. Carey began mentoring young people through Big Sisters and Big Brothers and continues to pursue those efforts with various local and community agencies. “Mentoring has become her passion because she believes children are the future,” Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk said in profile they released about Ms. Carey.

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Habitat for Humanity chapter members
with a mock check at the presentation.

Since joining the security staff at Huntington High School, Ms. Carey has participated in the Habitat for Humanity chapter there, volunteering on “build” projects in Suffolk and traveling with the group to Alabama and Louisiana to help rebuild communities devastated by massive storms in those southern states.

“Huntington’s Habitat group has done terrific things for so many people and neighborhoods over the years,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “I am sure that current and past members are particularly excited about this opportunity, as they will be helping one of our school community’s own.”

Volunteers will meet this Saturday at 55 Parkway Blvd. in Ronkonkoma for a day of work. The project will begin with a rip-down of the current structure and move on to initial framing before continuing through the construction phase and right through to painting and even landscaping of the property.

“We have the volunteers for that day and we have many alumni coming back from as far away as California to build for this festive occasion,” Mr. Gilmor said. “It will actually be a rip down first and then we will begin to rebuild the house. It is a long time coming and that is why we are starting out with an alumni build and then as the year progresses we will have parent and student builds.”

This year’s Huntington Habitat chapter is led by executive board members Christi Reinertsen (president), Noelle Harvey (vice president), Gabriella DeLuca (treasurer) and Grace Curran (secretary).

Contact Mr. Gilmor at rgilmor@hufsd.edu if you would like to help Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity chapter pursue its goals.