TCNJ Here for Home Featured in The Ocean Star Local Paper

The following article was published in the Ocean Star, a local newspaper in Point Pleasant Beach, on April 26, 2013. To read this and other articles, visit the paper’s website by clicking here.

Students from The College of New Jersey help post-Sandy cleanup

By Kimberly Mollo

The Ocean Star

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ – Several students from The College of New Jersey [TCNJ] paid a recent visit to a local resident, helping her clean up her property after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc at the Jersey Shore in late October.

Junior Carmella Holl said her college has been running bus trips to various locations around the state since the storm, giving students opportunities to help people recover from its effects. Ms. Holl is a member of TCNJ’s Synergy Dance Company, she said. The com- pany has been at the school for over 10 years, and mem- bers practice a variety of dance styles, from ballet to jazz to hip hop.

Members of Synergy are not required to perform com- munity service hours, Ms. Holl said — something other student groups on campus are required to do. Although it was not a requirement, she still felt a drive to hop on the bus and get to work somewhere along the Shore.

She got together with other students and traveled to Point Pleasant Beach, where she met Kitty Stillufsen. Ms. Stillufsen, who co- owns Red’s Lobster Pot in the borough with her par- ents, suffered damage to both her home and business during Hurricane Sandy. Ms. Holl and two other students worked at Ms. Stillufsen’s house for the day, cleaning up her house and backyard, she said.

The girls removed some debris from the yard and cleaned a playhouse for Ms. Stillufsen’s three-year-old daughter, Olive. Ms. Holl said she did not feel like she had done an exceptional amount of work, she said, but Ms. Stillufsen’s appreciation was immense.

“She was so nice, so grateful,” Ms. Holl said. They worked for a few hours on a Saturday earlier this month, she said, and the effort was more than worth it. “I felt so lucky to help out,” Ms. Holl said. “It was really rewarding to help someone so grateful, so welcoming.” Mackenzie Hickey, a TCNJ sophomore and fellow mem- ber of Synergy Dance Company, also worked at Ms. Stillufsen’s house that Saturday.

She had not been to the Shore since the storm struck, she said, and “didn’t know what to expect.”

“The experience we had there was absolutely phenomenal,” Ms. Hickey said.

She said in addition to cleaning Ms. Stillufsen’s daughter’s toys, they spruced up some dishes, furniture and other items that had been in storage.

“We did a lot of small jobs to help her get back on her feet,” Ms. Hickey said.

Ms. Hickey said she was “glad to be able to go and see for myself ” the effects of the storm on her state, but was “more glad to be able to help Kitty.”

“I would do it one hundred times over to see her appreciation,” Ms. Hickey said.

Ms. Stillufsen said the student volunteers were “awesome.”

“Anything I needed, they were doing,” she said. “They were awesome American kids, just wanting to bust out and help. They were great.”