A group of University of Iowa law students will help clean up flood damage in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 1, following up on the work of 70 other law students earlier in the fall.
Iowa law students have made three previous trips to the city, where they mucked out and gutted flood damaged buildings and helped clean a playground. Students also went door-to-door leaving fliers with information about Iowa Legal Aid and how flood victims can protect their legal rights.
"The students worked their hearts out," said Brian Farrell, director of the law school's Academic Achievement Program, who accompanied one group. Many students were shocked at the damage.
"I was really amazed because it was the first time I had seen the devastation done to Cedar Rapids," said law student Brian Shust. "I think the thing that sticks out most is seeing toy stuffed animals, dirty and torn, just littered about houses and streets. That is an image that will stay with me as I pray for those people. I am glad that I got the chance to make a small difference in Cedar Rapids."
Law student Atanna Essama saw flood-damage in Iowa City and Coralville, but it didn't compare to what the group saw in Cedar Rapids.
"When we pulled into Cedar Rapids, the first thing to register was just how empty it was," he said. "Then, as we drove by entire blocks of houses that had yet to even be gutted, what we observed was home after home devastated by the flooding. It was at that time that the gravity of what had transpired this past summer hit most of the volunteers, or at least those for whom this was their first trip to Cedar Rapids since the floods."
The cleanup trips are part by the College of Law's Citizen Lawyer Program, a public engagement project that helps law students connect with agencies across the state that provide legal services to Iowans and practical working experience for law students.
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