Posts Tagged ‘Rebuilding Atlantic City’

Leaving #OurImpact: Recap of Rebuilding Atlantic City

May 20, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Day Three (Group)

Over the past five days, I’ve loved sharing my incredible experience on Discovery’s Rebuilding Atlantic City trip. Now, as we all return to our desks and daily routines, Atlantic City seems worlds away. In our offices today, however, stories are shared over and over again,  and it’s clear #ourimpact will continue to grow from Atlantic City. I’ve included coverage from local news organizations below, and you can visit our Facebook album for a gallery of images from the week. We hope you’ll continue to share our experiences in your own communities and help us ensure all New Jersey families are able to return to their restored homes soon.

Thank you for joining us on this amazing journey!

Governor Christie Visits Ventnor, Thanks Volunteers

Christie Visits Ventor Home Slammed by Sandy

Governor Christie, Cable TV Show Visit Ventnor, NJ to Help With Post-Sandy Rebuild


Day Three: Rebuilding Atlantic City

May 19, 2013 | by akowalczyk
Homeowners Richard and Richard, Jr. in their restored home

Homeowners Richard and Richard, Jr. in their restored home

Is it really over?

We just wrapped up day three of Rebuilding Atlantic City yesterday, and I’m still in disbelief that so much has been accomplished in just three days. While each home started at different points – without a floor, without walls, without insulation – great progress was made in each one. More importantly, however, an impact was made both for the families we worked with and within ourselves.

Today, my team (Team Elizabeth!) met our homeowner for the first time, and within seconds, we knew all of our sore muscles, sweat and frustration was more than worth the sacrifice. Elizabeth shared with us her story: she has lived in her same home since 1967, and when the storm hit, she evacuated with her three cats. When she returned, little but a structure was left.

With insurance funds, Elizabeth hired a contractor to help rebuild her home, but just after he started work, he left town, leaving her with a nearly demolished home and little savings. Her son was able to begin the rebuilding process, and we continued his work throughout the past three days. Today, when Elizabeth visited, her deep gratitude and hope brought us all to tears. “You’ve given me hope for mankind and our future,” she told us. In seeing her home for the first time, Elizabeth’s face lit up as she shared her dreams for a pale yellow living room and a small cat door out back. While she kept expressing a desire to do more to thank us, we all felt so grateful to have the opportunity to help someone who had lost so much and to give this woman hope for a brighter future.

While all of the families had different backgrounds and stories, they all showed great resilience and instilled in each of us a deeper appreciation for our own homes and families. As we return to the office, I know each of us will feel more empowered to find ways to give back and support our own communities.

As always, I’ve included a few snapshots of today below, and for more images and stories from Rebuilding Atlantic City,  follow us on TwitterInstagram (#ourimpact on both!) and Facebook. Stay tuned for a recap of the rebuild next week!

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Volunteers

Discovery Volunteers


Rebuilding Atlantic City: Elizabeth

Team Elizabeth, with Elizabeth in Center

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Boards with Names

Leaving #OurImpact

Day Two: Rebuilding Atlantic City

May 17, 2013 | by akowalczyk
Chris Christie, David Zaslav and Buddy Valastro

Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Discovery Communications President & CEO David Zaslav

New Jersey: Where only the strong survive.

We’ve all seen the phrase plastered on shirts and stuck on bumpers, but today we all learned the true definition of “Jersey Strong.”

As we began Day Two, with sore arms and bits fiberglass in our hair, excitement brewed – all of the volunteers (including me) were motivated by Day One’s progress and ready to see our families’ houses continue to return to being homes. While most of us began construction, some members of the Discovery Education team traveled to Sovereign Elementary School, just down the street from our work sites, to meet many of the children affected by the storm and share with them a preview of Discovery Channel’s upcoming series, North America (premiering this Sunday). The children were also treated to a visit from Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni, who brought along North American animals, and Jersey boy, Buddy Valastro, who brought sweet treats from Carlos’ Bakery for the students and staff to enjoy.

When we broke for lunch today, “Discovery Impact” came to life. In a special ceremony opened by a Habitat for Humanity leader and our own David Zaslav, volunteers heard from Jersey natives about the deep value of their work. Buddy Valastro shared his own passion for restoring the state he calls home and then welcomed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor recounted the deep devastation experienced when Superstorm Sandy hit his state and shared hope for the future, as well as genuine appreciation for the volunteers who have joined his mission to restore all New Jersey families to their homes.

Nearly impossible to believe, tomorrow is our final day on site. We’re all excited to see what we’ve accomplished in three days and to bring home the stories of strength and hope we have experienced along the way.

I’ve included below a few photo highlights from the day, as well as an incredible video from two dedicated Habitat for Humanity volunteers – a true dose of inspiration! For more images and stories from today, follow us on TwitterInstagram (#ourimpact on both!) and Facebook.


Richard, Richard Jr. and David Zaslav at Rebuilding Atlantic City

Richard and Richard Jr. Shared Their Story with Discovery Communications President & CEO David Zaslav

Day Two Rebuilding Atlantic City: Drywalling

Team Drywall

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Day One

May 16, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Day One: Rebuilding Atlantic City

What a day!

Today marked Day One of Discovery Impact: Rebuilding Atlantic City, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. The day began with an orientation with Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, where we learned more about Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, making this experience even more meaningful for all of us. After orientation, we met our Habitat team leaders, and the hard work began.

Each team faced different challenges at their homes – my family’s home had a strong structure but required insulation and dry walls, while other teams were tasked with replacing floors or clearing homes. While most volunteers had never nailed more than picture frame, our Habitat leaders patiently taught us the ropes, and we all left today feeling a bit more confident with a hammer and drill in hand.

Our employees were joined by some enthusiastic personalities from our networks, including the guys from TLC’s Honey Do and Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni.

As we rest up for tomorrow, we’re excited for all to come. We announced today that we’ll be visited by TLC’s Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and we can’t wait to continue to connect with our families and make progress in their homes.

Take a look at a few of the photos from today below, as well as a video reflection from Jennifer, a Discovery volunteer on Team Elizabeth. Don’t forget to follow @DiscoveryComm on Twitter, DiscoveryComm on Instagram and #ourimpact on both for updates over the next few days!

Honey Do: Rebuilding Atlantic City

The “Honey Do” Guys at Work

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Day One

Discovery’s Insulation Angels

Team Rosemary: Rebuilding Atlantic City Day One

Team Rosemary in Front of Their House

Rebuilding Atlantic City: Elizabeth Home

Drywall in the Home

We’re Off! Rebuilding Atlantic City 2013

May 15, 2013 | by akowalczyk

Discovery Impact: Rebuilding Atlantic City LogoAnd we’re off!

Today through Sunday, Discovery employees will join ten families in Ventnor, NJ to help repair the damage done to their homes during Superstorm Sandy with our friends at Habitat for Humanity. I’ll be joining the Discovery Impact rebuild team (125 strong!) and sharing the team’s experiences on our social channels – we hope you’ll join us! I’ll share recaps each night on the blog, and you can follow us live throughout the weekend at: