Livingston CARES is a non-profit hurricane relief organization that provides Geneseo students the opportunity to directly impact many lives. Established shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Livingston CARES has hosted many service trips annually and has sent over 100 volunteers to various locations around the world.
The week-long service trips take place during winter break, spring break and the week following commencement. Groups of seven to 14 volunteers are sent at a time where they carry out many tasks including painting, installing sheetrock and demolishing houses. Past participants have travelled to destinations like Texas, Brooklyn, N.Y., Missouri, Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys.
Livingston CARES hosts their Gumbo to Go dinner fundraiser once a semester in order to raise funding for the service trips. This semester’s Gumbo to Go dinner will be held on Nov. 8 at the Geneseo Central Presbyterian Church. Volunteers are expected to pay for these trips out of pocket so proceeds from this event can truly make a difference, according to Livingston CARES coordinator intern senior Dilynn Livesey.
Livesey joined Livingston CARES two years ago and has since attended two service trips. She recounted her trip to Beaumont, Texas during winter break last year following torrential flooding brought upon by Hurricane Harvey.
“About 14 of us helped a man whose house had been flooded during the hurricane and we tore up floorboards, took down the drywall and insulation and helped him set up his house to be rebuilt,” Livesey said. “We were there at the same house for the week.”
Livesey describes the service trips as a humbling, rewarding experience that gave her the opportunity to not only meet hurricane victims, but also introduced her to Geneseo students whom she did not know before.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is getting to go on the trips and meet other Geneseo students as well as the victims of the hurricanes,” Livesey said. “I’ll miss getting to give Geneseo students the opportunity to go make such great memories on these amazing trips that truly do change people’s lives,”
Former Associate Dean of Leadership and Service and founder of the GOLD program Tom Matthews serves as the chair of Livingston CARES despite his retirement last year. Since 2005, Matthews has worked closely with the Center for Community to organize and fully develop Livingston CARES and lead service trips.
Other trip leaders include Coordinator of Student Leadership, Volunteerism and Service Garth Freeman, Interim Director of Leadership and Service Nicholas Palumbo and Grants Management Associate and Interim Operations Manager Betsy Colón.
Livesey strongly encourages students to make an impact on the lives of others and join Livingston CARES to register for a trip by visiting the Center for Community located on the third floor of the MacVittie College Union.
“These trips will give you the opportunity to get hands-on experience with working to help with hurricane relief,” Livesey said. “You meet some amazing people through the experience.”