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Alyssa’s Story: A More Resilient New York, One Oyster at a Time

Samuel Carter - Former Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation

Editor’s Note: This is the first of four in our StoryCorps “Spoken From the Heart” series. Check back next week for the next installment, which brings us to El Paso.

17-year-old Alyssa Giacinto stands with her mother, Denise, outside of their apartment building in the East Village.

When Superstorm Sandy hit land, devastating thousands of communities, social-sector organizations sprang to action, not just to help people rebound faster, but to help them prepare for future threats. Within weeks, for example, we at The Rockefeller Foundation joined with the U.S. Department of Urban Development to spearhead Rebuild by Design, an innovative, regional design competition to build resilience in the affected region.

But big organizations haven’t been the only crucial actors in the response to the storm. Countless ordinary citizens made the extraordinary decision to lend their time and talents to the work of helping their neighbors get back on their feet—and build resilience along the way.

17-year-old Alyssa Giacinto is one of those neighborly heroes.

In her story, Alyssa Giacinto and her mother Denise talk about their experiences during Superstorm Sandy while living in the East Village in 2012—and about how this inspired Alyssa to get involved with the Billion Oyster Project at her school.

  • Alyssa rides the ferry to the New York Harbor on Governors Island.

*This StoryCorps story was produced by Eve Claxton and Xandra Clark. Photography by Sarah Shatz and music, “By Grace,” by Podington Bear.

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