Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity club chapter is set to travel to New Orleans during the February break and help build needed housing in that city, which has never completely recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
This year’s chapter membership includes dozens of Huntington students, who are led by an executive board that features Bella Thompson (president), Charlie O’Rourke (vice president/treasurer) and Aaron Chin (secretary).
Huntington Habitat founder Robert Gilmor III.
Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and homelessness by building housing side-by-side with those in need.
The Huntington chapter dates to 2003 when Robert Gilmor III was hired as a high school dean. He organized the club, which included a very energetic and enthusiastic group of young people who helped the group establish a solid footing that has endured.
A graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, Mr. Gilmor earned a Master of Social Work degree at SUNY Stony Brook in 1994. He later obtained certification as a school administrator through Long Island University. He was employed from January 1997 through the summer of 2003 as a social worker in the Elwood School District. He founded Elwood’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
Since its founding, Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity chapter has worked locally, regionally and nationally to accomplish its goals. The group has traveled to cities across the country, helping communities rebuild after being struck by natural disasters.
Chapter members started fundraising on the first day of the new school year and have never stopped. There are bake sales and holiday dessert sales and other money raising initiatives.
“We are working really hard on making this year the best it can be,” Ms. Thompson said. “We tried organizing a trip to Puerto Rico to help with the relief, but there were problems getting in contact with a Habitat organization down there. Now we are working on multiple different builds, trips and fundraisers. I’m so happy to have been a part of this club for all four years of high school. It truly has changed me for the better.”
Mr. Gilmor will lead a delegation of as many 15-20 chapter members to New Orleans for the trip, which will stretch from February 16-22. This will be Huntington’s 14th trip to help residents of New Orleans.
During down time the group will also visit Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans, go on a swamp boat tour and visit the zoo and dine at some well-known spots, including the 108 year old Parkway Bakery.
“We are planning another build for the April break,” Ms. Thompson said. “We are looking into North or South Carolina or somewhere around the Florida Keys.”
The Huntington Habitat club welcomes new members of any grade level. It also hopes to receive community support and even corporate sponsorship. Interested in joining the campaign to make the world a better place? Send a message to Mr. Gilmor at firstname.lastname@example.org.