Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity club chapter is set to travel to New Orleans during the February break and help build needed housing in that city, which has never completely recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.
This year’s chapter membership includes dozens of Huntington students, who are led by an executive board that features Emma Grassi (president), Emma Farrell (vice president/treasurer) and Yasmin Khilji-Neal (secretary).
Robert Gilmor III founded Huntington's Habitat for Humanity chapter and serves as its faculty advisor.
Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and homelessness by building housing side-by-side with those in need.
The Huntington chapter dates to 2003 when Robert Gilmor III was hired as a high school dean. He organized the club, which included a very energetic and enthusiastic group of young people who helped the group establish a solid footing that has endured.
A graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, Mr. Gilmor earned a Master of Social Work degree at SUNY Stony Brook in 1994. He later obtained certification as a school administrator through Long Island University. He was employed from January 1997 through the summer of 2003 as a social worker in the Elwood School District. He founded Elwood’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
Since its founding, Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity chapter has worked locally, regionally and nationally to accomplish its goals. The group has traveled to cities across the country, helping communities rebuild after being struck by natural disasters.
Chapter members started fundraising on the first day of the new school year and have never stopped. There are bake sales and holiday dessert sales and other money raising initiatives. Planning is currently underway for the group’s second annual music festival, which will be held in the spring.
“The group will have a busy 2019,” junior Karley Mathews said. “Plans are also being developed for a summer build. “We will continue working with Habitat’s Suffolk County chapter on a student built home for a future Long Island family.”
Mr. Gilmor will lead a delegation of as many as two dozen chapter members to New Orleans for the trip that will stretch from February 17-23. “We will be building a home with a future homeowner,” Ms. Mathews said. “This will be Huntington’s 13th trip to help residents of New Orleans. The group will also visit Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans and explore the French quarter and garden district. We will eat beignets at Café Du Monde (the original French market coffee stand established in 1862), enjoy local cuisine and have fun in Audubon Park.”
The Huntington Habitat club welcomes new members of any grade level. It also hopes to receive community support and even corporate sponsorship. Interested in joining the campaign to make the world a better place? Send a message to Mr. Gilmor at [email protected].
“I am looking forward to be going to New Orleans to help their community, learn about their culture and bond with my club members,” Ms. Mathews said. “I am also hoping to learn some skills that I can use during future projects.”
(Huntington junior and Habitat for Humanity chapter member Karley Mathews contributed reporting for this story.)