On November 10, just days after the storm, Juniors Rachel Shuster and Carly Berger decided to have their mothers drive them around to find any possible way in which they could help those in need. They came across a temporary American Red Cross camp, where they were able to aid Red Cross volunteers in delivering food to take to different parts of the state.
“We pulled into the parking lot of a public pool in Deer Park; we were looking for ways to help victims of Hurricane Sandy and we were unsure how to help. There were a lot of American Red Cross tracks lined up throughout the parking lot. The volunteers instructed us to load packaged food on to the truck,” said Carly Berger. Shuster commented, “It was amazing to see people’s faces light up…It was mind-boggling to see how many people were in need right around the corner from us.” After helping to load the trucks with hot meals and snacks, the two were able to directly deliver the prepared food to Seaford.
In addition to helping out around the community, Sandy has inspired Shuster to reach out to victims via social media. Shuster has created a Facebook page called “Sandy Moments of Service” to publicize both the various ways in which people have helped out the community and how people have been helped by the community. Shuster felt that the storm had brought the community together and created desire to help out neighbors in need, and that it was important to document people’s experiences.
Shuster’s demonstrated community service efforts are not limited to Sandy relief. Shuster founded a successful charity organization known as the HHH Kids Care Club. This is an organization which emphasizes the efforts of kids when it comes to community service. Shuster’s primary motivation in forming the club was so that kids could “plan projects and events on their own.” She explained that kids can really have an impact when working together, as evident through her and Berger’s relief efforts.
Shuster was recognized for her club and her focus on community service when she was invited to speak at the eighth annual business conference of the Business Innovation Factory’s Summit (BIF-8). BIF-8 is a function where hundreds of organization founders meet, share, and collaborate their individual achievements associated with their fields of business. The BIF is a platform on which individuals can work together to test and implement solutions to problems in society’s systems such as education, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and more. The organization believes in three ideas that encapsulate what they do: collaboration of many individuals to bring about innovation, inspiration, and transformation of the future with new ideas. The BIF-8 Summit Shuster attended consisted of 30 guest speakers, willing to tell their stories to an audience of over 400 innovators, founders, presidents of companies, or soon to be innovators and presidents. Shuster, one of two youth speakers out of these thirty bright minds, spoke about her HHH Kids Care Club and ideas to get the youth inspired and heavily involved with helping out the community.
“I really enjoyed being a speaker as I got to spread my mission of engaging youth in not only service, but all aspects of society, and that youth have a voice and can make a difference. Of course I was little nervous standing on a stage alone in front of 400 adults but I loved the experience and forgot about how many people were in the audience, and just spoke from my heart.”