Vounteer Sequoyah Douglas

Youth Volunteer, Presbytery of New York City

Interview conducted by Christian Huisman

PHIA Volunteer Sequoyah Douglas (at right, with Lydia Tembo)

PHIA Volunteer Sequoyah Douglas (at right, with Lydia Tembo)

Q.  Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A.  My name is Sequoyah Douglas, and I am a native New Yorker. I work in the field of music and attend First Presbyterian Church in Springfield Gardens. I serve on the deacon board there as well as work with the Youth department.

Q.  Where were you when Superstorm Sandy hit?
A.  I was living in Queens. I personally didn’t have too many issues with Hurricane Sandy, but I had friends that lived out in Far Rockaway. A few of my friends had minor damage to their homes, and one friend lost the entire home to the storm. Sandy became a very personal disaster for me.

Q. What called you to be a part of the rebuild effort?
A.  Service is something that has been a part of my life since I was pretty young. I don’t really know a life without serving. Growing up, I would get teased a lot. Instead of just sitting there and taking the abuse of others though, I decided I would do something useful with my time. It started with little things like helping at the library at school. My senior year of high school, I found out about the key club and I’ve really just been hooked on service ever since.

Q.  What benefits have you found in volunteering?
A.  It really makes you grateful for what you have. You really get a good feeling that God is using you as a tool to help other people. I feel as Christians that is one of the most important ways that we can answer to God’s call and to spread God’s love.

Q. What would you say to someone who has yet to volunteer in the Sandy rebuild process?
A.  I would tell them that, even though it’s been three years and maybe the area they live in was rebuilt quickly, there are still areas that are affected. You get so much out of volunteering with people, and you get such a good sense of what Sandy really did to this area.

Q.  Any other thoughts?
A.  I’m really grateful for an organization like PHIA. Too many people these days have lost sight of the issues that Sandy caused, but PHIA stuck around. I’m grateful for an organization that asks “What can we do to help the people that are right here in our own backyard?” Especially in a city like New York, I feel like it can be easy to get run down and feel lost, but I feel that PHIA helps with that by bringing people together in our communities.

Click HERE to view photos of the Advent Youth Volunteer day.