Grambling State student organizations help give back

When typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines recently, it brought back memories for Reller Jones, criminal justice professor at Grambling State University.
Ity was one of the strongest storms in the world when it hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines on Nov. 8..
“My husband and I were previously stationed in the Philippines in 1976-1978, where we survived through a similar typhoon as Haiyan,” Jones said.
“We witnessed the devastation that the storm caused and wanted to support those who were affected during the fall semester.”
The tragic storm killed an estimated 6,000 people, injured thousands more, with hundreds more missing. The storm known as Haiyan produced winds of around 195 miles per hour and continued to rise up to 235 miles per hour with a storm surge of 20 feet.
Although Louisiana is thousands of miles away from the Philippines,  Grambling State University’s Criminal Justice Sisterhood and other organizations in the Criminal Justice Department united as one to help many Philippine families who were affected by the storm. The organizations showed support by making simple contributions of clothing, donations, and non-perishable food items.
The faculty and staff gave willingly, including the members of the Sisterhood and other criminal justice organizations such as the Criminal Justice Brotherhood, National Association of Criminal Justice, and Alpha Phi Sigma.
Haiyan, a Category 5 storm, caused hundreds of thousands to move to different shelters and evacuate immediately; a process made more difficult because of the hundreds of flights that were canceled.    
Many Filipino families experienced pain and suffering during the storm, a lot of damages such as home damages, trees and road sign damages, businesses closing, no electricity, food, or water supply in the nearby areas.
But helping after Haiyan is not the only relief effort that the Sisterhood undertook.
Some other activities the group has participated in are holding a sock, scarves, gloves and hat drive for the 2011 snowstorm in New York; raising over 800 pounds of food for the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank during the spring 2011 semester; and visiting the local Princeton Place Nursing Home to visit with the residents last  semester.  
These actions could not be done without the hard work and leadership from our Dr. Janet Guyden, dean of the College of Professional and Graduate Studies, and Criminal Justice Department head Dr. Mahendra Singh. Also the advisers of the Criminal Justice Sisterhood organization,  Reller Jones, Mae Conley, Dr. Joyce Montgomery-Scott, and Dr. Lurie Thomason.  
“Our neighbors are not always next door to us, our neighbors can live all the way across the country,” said Jones
“I felt that supporting the Philippines was a great gesture,” said Tamaika Larocque, a member of the Criminal Justice Sisterhood.
“Being that I am a student  from Dominica I know the blessed feeling of going through a storm and receiving help from others.”  
Members say the efforts help them remember the meaning of togetherness, honoring each other, showing support, and loving one another like family during different storms in life.
“As a member of the Criminal Justice Sisterhood I feel that we reach beyond others’ expectations with the faith to fulfill others needs to the best of our abilities,” said Evette Gipson, a member of the Criminal Justice Sisterhood.
Supporting the Philippines was an honor to the Criminal Justice Sisterhood; they got the opportunity to bond, support, and demonstrate the true meaning of having someone to lean on.
According to “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you, if you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope,” said Barack Obama.