A Montclair State University student spending spring break at the shore isn’t that out of the ordinary.
But Hopatcong native Hayley Vicedomini spent her time off from school at the Shore participating in the MTV alternative spring break program where she worked to rebuild a home devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
And her efforts were recorded for reality show television.
“We were rebuilding this elderly couple's home in Lavallette, NJ,” Vicedomini said. “They have the bay in their backyard and the ocean is on the other side of the street. The house got flooded up to the ceiling.”
MTV , the United Way and mtvU, the network’s 24-hour college channel, recorded their efforts as part of their “ Spring Fix,” program to air later this year. Vicedomini was one of 50 students selected to participate in the program.
“I heard about this Alternative Spring Break through the Internet and friends telling me about it,” Vicedomini said.
She said the house they were working on was completely gutted out when the students arrived, and they spent the week of March 17 installing insulation, screwing on drywall and spackling.
“My team and I wanted to get as much done as possible before the end of the week since we are only there for a total of one week,” Vicedomini said.
For her part, Vicedomini said she was extremely nervous before arriving onsite because she knew no one.
“But as soon as I walked in the door I immediately became excited after hearing exactly what we were going to be getting ourselves into,” Vicedomini said. “The Jersey Shore is my home away from home, and I was excited everyday to get to the house and work hard.”
Throughout the renovation process MTV cameras were on the ground capturing all the “Spring Fix” activities, and plans to air its coverage during a special “Spring Break” themed week on MTV, mtvU and MTV2.
“We’re thrilled to partner with our audience and United Way to provide desperately needed help to communities in need following Hurricane Sandy,” said Stephen Friedman, president of MTV. “These young people are skipping the typical spring break parties to give back, and we’re honored to spotlight their work across our network.”
According to Friedman, MTV’s “Spring Fix” efforts are a continuation of the sustained effort by MTV to help rebuild Seaside Heights and other areas devastated by Sandy. "Spring Fix" builds on a their partnership with the United Way that began in 2006 with "Storm Corps" — an alternative spring break trip that focused on disaster recovery for communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“People who experience a disaster like Hurricane Sandy face major challenges, like disruptions to their education, loss of income and even health risks. This project will shine a light on young people who are doing something about it and hopefully inspire many others to join us,” said Edwin Goutier who oversees Student United Way.
Vicedomini said her team accomplished much during their week of work, despite experience being limited.
“I had no prior experience in construction work whatsoever, so it was very challenging to learn how to use different power tools and how to install insulation and put up dry wall,” Vicedomini said. “However, it made it that much more rewarding in the end to be able to look back at all the hard work my team and I put forth, since most of my team members also didn't have any experience.”
At the end of the week, United Way and MTV hosted a “Spring Fix Benefit Concert” at Six Flags Great Adventure for the students who participated. Grammy Award-winning Motown Records artist Ne-Yo was the headline act.
“The end of the week was crazy trying to finish up what we could,” Vicedomini said.
She said despite having to transition back into school mode, where her studies are in elementary education with a concentration in P-3, she is still looking for other ways to help.
“It's become an addiction to volunteer my time to help such a great cause,” Vicedomini said.