Thank God GEC and families were blessed during hurricane Ian with little damage. The students needed to release their emotions and repay their blessings to those not as fortunate as themselves.

These acts of public service encompassed several measurable aspects of the Gargiulo Serenity, Meditation, Awareness, Respect and Trust Program (SMART), as well as showcasing the work ethic skills gained thought the Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Program (EAP), both gratefully funded by NCEF.

Criteria required by both program includes goal setting and during this activity, our students set the goal of fulfilling needs of the community and the organizations that have been invaluable in helping the victims of Hurricane Ian. We teach the students that when setting goals, to address the five “W” questions that must be considered:

  • Who is involved in this goal? The students, The Red Cross, The Cajun Navy & The Bennison Center
  • What do I want to accomplish? Help these organizations assist those in need in my community
  • Where is the goal to be achieved? At various locations throughout the county where distribution is set up or debris is needing to be cleared
  • When do I want to achieve this goal? As quickly as possible as needed by the host organizations
  • Why do I want to achieve this goal? To assist my community and the victims of Hurricane Ian

Over the course of a week, the GEC students took on tasks like assisting the American Red Cross dismantle and disinfect a large volume of sleeping cots that had been set up in a facility in Ft. Myers. They then loaded the cots for transport to another facility. They also inflated mattresses for volunteers to rest on and collected debris and trash to be deposited in a large trailer truck.

Next they teamed up with the Cajun Navy where together with The Bennison Center, they helped load cars with essentials like food and water, toilet paper, lanterns, clothes, just to name a few.

After full 8-hour workdays, not once did any of the children complain. There was never an instance when one asked if it was over, but instead they asked what they could do next. All the volunteers exhibited extreme gratitude for the efforts of our students at Gargiulo and were extremely proud of their commitment to the project, including the boundless enthusiasm throughout the process.