Hurricane Sandy ripped through the borough on October 29th, 2012. The storm caused billions in damages to countless homes and businesses. 15 Beach Street was one of those buildings devastated by Sandy’s wrath. The future home of Eden II Programs, 15 Beach Street sustained damage to its elevator systems, as well as the basement. The building was formerly the home of Staten Island Savings Bank, and furniture from the bank had been stored in the basement. All of the furniture was destroyed, along with the boiler system. Renovations had already been in progress for the building, and the storm created a huge setback; $300,000 in additional repairs was needed. Executive Director Joanne Gerenser shared her thoughts on the aftermath of the storm, saying “I was devastated by all the damage. Losing all the furniture as well as the structural damage was difficult. It was hard to imagine that a hurricane could do this. It was so important to the students and staff to be able to move into their new “home.”

Providing 2 $10,000 grants, United Way was vital to the repairs of the new school location. One grant was used to aid in rebuilding, as well as helping to secure other funds, while the second grant was used to repair water damage in the walls.

“United Way is always the first organization to step up and help everyone and Eden II is no exception. We can’t express our gratitude to the United Way of NYC for the recovery grant and assisting Eden II get back on its feet”, said Dr. Gerenser.

The new school will offer many new learning opportunities for the students, including a restaurant style cafeteria, and apartment style classrooms. The goal of these additions is to teach the children real world skills, and aid them in their independence.

The United Way has helped Eden II in ways both big and small. In addition to the Sandy relief, the United Way provided the children of Eden II with presents for the holidays. Whether they are the first to step up in a tragedy, or simply putting a smile on a child’s face, Eden II has always been able to count on United Way.