NY student Joseph VanderWaag has shared his NECHAMA experience with us. We are proud of your efforts and commitment!

“My name is Joseph VanderWaag and I am one of the around 500 students that were sent to Puerto Rico this past summer as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SUNY/CUNY Stands with Puerto Rico initiative. Eight months ago I arrived at JFK airport expecting to go to Puerto Rico for 2 weeks and make a friend or two and fix maybe three roofs but I came out with so much more. To this day I talk to many of the people I met every single day. NECHAMA has given me so many life long friendships which I did not expect to make. On our last day in San Juan, we were told that we repaired approximately 14 roofs which was much more than I ever expected. While down there I made it my personal mission to talk to every homeowner and everyday citizens passing by about how they were affected by Hurricane Maria and all the answers were heartbreaking but they all shared one thing: the strong will and determination to keep on moving. But I just wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for this truly amazing experience that will stay with me forever.”