The power of helping others

Valentino and Bliga work with students to support Hurricane Matthew victims

Hurricane Matthew brought tears and misery to North Carolina. Teachers Dawn Valentino and Sam Bliga along with students from Wakefield High school saw the terrible news and knew they needed to help.  In the following weeks, the two teachers collaborated with students to devise a plan to support our fellow North Carolinians.

“I am the middleman, Marchi and Ralf decided to start the drive for the donation,”  art teacher and current NAS advisor Ms. Valentino said. “They are in their late seventies and they firmly believe in helping others. They recruited me to go drive the donated supplies to their house.”

Bliga, a main contributors to the donation drive, heard of the cause and  knew all he wanted to do was help. He knew Hurricane Matthew did not just take away victim’s money but over 30 years of memories.

“It’s not a decision,  it’s the right thing to do,” Bliga said.  “It’s my motto, anytime I’m collecting things for a cause I don’t do it to be recognized, I don’t do it to win a contest, I don’t do it to get a pat on a back, I do it because it is the right thing to do.”

Students at Wakefield saw the catastrophe that the flood created and knew they needed to help as well.

“I was happy to give back to the community that lost so much,”  Ryanne Howard, one of the students who donated to the cause said. “ One of my family members was affected by the flood and I wanted to make sure no one will suffer like my family.  I wish I could give more because I get really upset when I hear anything about the devastation.”

While some students gave many items to the cause, others were shocked to even know there was a donation drive for hurricane Matthew happening but still had things to say about the cause.

“After seeing how many things students donated it really opened my eyes to the power of giving,” A Wakefield High sophomore Emely Melgar said. “ I stayed after school one day and saw all the boxes that students donated and I didn’t even know donations were happening.”

Bliga reacted with speed and compassion.

“I felt horrible. I don’t think too many people realize what it means to lose everything. When I say everything I mean not their money but the things in their house that are irreplaceable,” Bliga said. “How would you like to lose 30, 40, 50 years of memories.”    

Wakefield played a small role in supporting the recovery effort, but the impact of what students learned about community effort is inspiring many.

“I feel this disaster was something that was horrendous but it pulled our community together,” Emely Melgar,  Wakefield student who donated to the cause said. “ I am so glad to be part of a school that when the going gets tough we still can stick together and help each other out.”