HAZLET, NJ - “Five years have passed and the lower ninth ward is still in ruins. We saw houses where the water damage reached the ceiling fan. Others had the roof caving in from the front to the back. People still inhabit these houses because they have nowhere else to reside.   We are truly blessed – Raritan student.”

In April of 2011, Raritan High School Math Teacher and Interact Advisor, Andrew LaBarbera took a team of 25 students to help New Orleans Habitat for Humanity build homes for families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Students toured the work site to see the reality of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina and worked long hours on four new houses to install siding, a kitchen, closets, doors, windows, moldings and much more.

In addition to helping build homes, the students toured the city to see the damage done by Katrina and developed an understanding of the historical and cultural significance of the devastation.

Another student said, “I will never forget how such different people could work side by side and create such beautiful houses. We started as a team and ended as a family.”

It is a key goal of the Interact club to provide Raritan High School students with opportunities to make a make a difference in their community, country and world.

This year, LaBarbera is hoping to take a team of students to Alaska, “Our students formed lasting friendships, developed effective leadership and teamwork skills through this program,” LaBarbera said, “there are so many places the Interact club can visit to provide the same type of relief we did in New Orleans, I’m excited about the club’s future.”

For more information on the Interact club, or to make a donation for their upcoming relief trip, please contact Andrew LaBarbera at alabarbera@hazlet.org.