Using photography to help the Seaside Heights community
Just two days after Hurricane Sandy blew through the northeast, Alex Wexler witnessed massive destruction on his way to his home in Ortley Beach. His creative juices were ignited by the shock of what he saw and Alex immediately began snapping images from Seaside Heights up to the pier.
Returning with (proverbial) piles of digital images, Alex was compelled to contribute to the rebuilding process. Sharing his work would prove to be the way he could help. He came up with an inclusive idea to create a book that included an open sourced process. He asked the community to send him 2-3 sentences about the Jersey Shore, anything from memories to how the storm affected them. The reception was tremendous, with many diverse quotes from the community. Some were funny, some sentimental, and some sad, but all of them showed how the place is so deeply connected to many people of different backgrounds and cultures.
Alex compiled "After the Storm," a book that captures the community's love for Seaside Heights by matching each quote with an image. He put the book up for sale and, after researching possible benefactors, chose to direct all proceeds to our Restore the Shore program. Alex raised over $44,000 in under 6 months!
“After doing some research we chose Architecture for Humanity because of what we noticed they accomplished after hurricane Katrina with so much that they got built. We wanted to have the same results after Hurricane Sandy and thought they were the best bet.” - Alex Wexler
Following the publication Alex began collaborating with others to create a calendar representing the progress this past year. Once again 100% of proceeds will be donated to Architecture for Humanity. You can find the calendar here.
A huge thanks to Alex for proactively leading this creative effort. It is people like him who hold fast to the mission of community inclusiveness. By finding a way to give community members a voice, even with a few sentences, Alex enabled people to feel they were heard.
If we could influence just a few more readers to challenge the typical methods of raising awareness, funds, and really whatever you feel compelled to do to enable the communities around you, the results would have a rippling effect of empowerment and inclusiveness. So thank you to everyone who participated in this publication, through words, experiences, emotion or funds. As our Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction program ramps up, we look forward to finding further ways to help communities build back better!