Team members

Farid was born in Brooklyn and moved to Bay Terrace, Staten Island when he was 3.  Bay Terrace was not badly affected by the storm and Farid didn’t believe the damage until he saw his grandmother’s house in Midland Beach wiped away.  After seeing her house, he realized how many others could use help like her. Coming from a culture of volunteering and enjoying home rebuilding projects, Farid was driven to do something more. He asked a couple of friends from Staten Island to help and Yellow Team was born. A natural born leader, when not volunteering he is a project manager for a global insurance firm.
Taylor has spent much of her life in a small cottage on the CT shoreline.  When Hurricane Irene slammed into her neighborhood in 2011 she learned what if feels like to face evacuation.  When Sandy hit, her little cottage again stood strong, and she returned to her apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan feeling much too lucky.  By Friday after the storm she had realized how bad things were for so many of her New York neighbors, so she got on her bike to deliver supplies to those in need.  She met Farid and Jason that first weekend, and was pulled back to Staten Island by the camaraderie of a group that soon became Yellow Team.  As an artist and an entrepreneur, her design skills and leadership have brought a creative dynamic to the team.
Jason was born and raised in the South Beach section of Staten Island. He got stuck in the city during the storm so he had didn’t know how bad the damage was at home. On Wednesday after the storm, he saw a post from a childhood friend reaching out for help.  He surprised her the next morning and spent the next days clearing her home of debris.  Then Farid’s sister-in-law, Jason’s cousin, mentioned that Farid was leading a team of volunteers. He didn’t realize he was going to be here so long but as long as there is still work to be done, he’s determined to be out there lending a hand.
Alek was born and raised in Poland and is currently an architecture student living in New York City. Right after Hurricane Sandy, he decided to take a ride out to Staten Island and help however he could. Little did he know that one day of volunteering would change his life so much. He met a few other volunteers in a parking lot and joined the group…which later turned into Yellow Team. And these people that Alek met in the parking lot that day have become more like family than just friends to him. If there is something heavy to lift, you’ll most likely find Alek not too far!

Rachel was raised in North Suburban Chicago and went to college outside of Boston. There she joined a large design and construction firm and was transferred to the New York City office upon its opening where she has made her career as a construction Project Administrator. Now residing in NYC, she was determined to find a place to help after Hurricane Sandy. Rachel immediately felt at home with Yellow Team and has made it her mission to spend as much free time as possible in Staten Island. Rachel can usually be found with a smile on her face and a can of Red Bull in her hand.
Rima was born and raised in New York. She grew up on Staten Island with her two older brothers, Khaled and Farid. After seeing the devastation Sandy caused to her borough and to families near Midland Beach where her family lives, she and her brother Farid contacted friends and family.  The group quickly grew into a selfless team of Yellow shirts. She refers to the team as a calling for everyone that joined.  The stories continue with the journey toward helping others — and for those on the receiving end.
Amal was born and raised in the Cherry Hill section of New Jersey. A journalism graduate, she has a passion for finding out the 5 Ws – Who, What, Where, When and Why. Sandy had victims asking these questions in the aftermath of the disaster and many still waiting for answers. For Amal, volunteering was more of a Why not? She drove her car from unaffected Cherry Hill to Staten Island, her first time visiting the borough, any time she could and donated whatever she could to the relief effort. Sandy made her realize Staten Island is a home away from home and she now considers the Yellow Team her family.
Sharlini has lived in the heart of Midland Beach since she was a little girl and was home the night of the storm. By some miracle, her house was the only one on the block that survived Hurricane Sandy. She was overwhelmed with emotion by the severe damage she witnessed. She knew she had to help her community in any way that she could. The very first weekend that volunteers were deployed to help out in the devastated areas, she found the Yellow Team. Filled with selfless, caring, dedicated and hard-working individuals, Sharlini considers it an honor to be part of such a wonderful team.
Kal was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and moved to Bay Terrace in Staten Island at age 8 and was there until he moved to South Beach when he married Jason’s cousin. He was in South Beach during the storm and should have evacuated. He didn’t, but luckily the water receded after it came up to his stoop. When his brother Farid started the team, Kal saw that Farid needed help so he came down as much as he could.  Kal says volunteering with Yellow Team makes him appreciate the little things in life more.  

For Laura, a NYC resident born and raised on Staten Island, Hurricane Sandy hit close to home. Growing up the youngest of 3 siblings, she learned at a young age how to be a team player. When Sandy hit Staten Island, she knew right away that her hometown was in need of help. Since the first weekend she met Yellow Team, Laura has seen how people from all walks of life come together to help one another in times of need. She says it’s been a pleasure and blessing to call herself a Yellow Team member. On days when it’s cold and late out in the field, Laura’s infectious enthusiasm keeps her team going.
Cat was born and raised in Southern Jersey, and moved to Staten Island permanently with her oldest daughter when she married her husband Mike Guarnieri. Now a mother of two, Cat has since earned an RN degree while helping to support her family with a promo modeling career. When hurricane Sandy hit, their home was directly in the disaster zone, but they were lucky that the water did not make it past their neighbor’s house. Though grateful, Cat found that being unaffected was heart wrenching. She has been in the field non-stop since day one serving hot meals and assessing immediate needs. The Yellow team brings her a sense of family in the relief work, making large strides in the arena of volunteering to create a place where her children can call home some day.
Corrine moved from Central Florida to New York City barely 3 weeks before Hurricane Sandy arrived.  Corrine was driven to volunteer on Staten Island by a deeply rooted desire to serve those in need. At first unsure about relocating to New York City, Corrine has since found relief work to be a driving force to stay. Corrine has seen the heart and soul of this storm torn community emerge since the disaster, and she feels drawn to the rebuild opportunity with her new neighbors. Yellow team has captured her heart while making her feel that southern sense of ‘home’, although hundreds of miles away from her sunny residence in Florida.
Jason was born and raised in South Beach, Staten Island. After graduating college he settled in a suburb of Philadelphia, where he is now a firefighter, rescue technician and station officer. He is also on a Pennsylvania State wild land fire crew, capable of being dispatched nationwide to respond to forest fires. After responding to over 70 emergency calls overnight in PA during Sandy, Jason read about the shocking extent of the devastation in NYC, and specifically his old neighborhoods. He felt he needed to do something, and over the next 2 days, Jason loaded his truck with over 1,000 pounds of purchased and donated supplies and headed north to help. Jason met Farid and the fledgling Yellow Team on his second day of volunteering and forged a bond that still keeps him coming back to help.
Chris was born in the Adirondack Mountains and moved to Dongan Hills Staten Island when he was 2. He served 6 years in the Air Force and 2 Iraq tours. Chris lives in Tottenville now, where he saw firsthand the destructive force of the storm the night it happened.  Despite twisting his ankle and getting shocked by an electric line, Chris helped his neighbros bail out their basements and trekked through the wreckage doing as much as he could.  After getting his own home in order, he felt so inclined to help people out that he couldn’t do anything but help out, especially with his job giving him time off due to his location. Chris is good friends with Sharlini, who introduced him to Farid and Rima on his first day of New Dorp/midland beach cleanup, and he’s been with them ever since.  Chris is known for his love of axes and for fitting into places most people can’t.
Ross is a lifelong Staten Islander originally from Tottenville, on the island’s south shore. The north shore, where Ross currently resides, suffered no damage from Hurricane Sandy, but after seeing the devastation on television and then firsthand, Ross knew he had to go back to Tottenville, this time as a relief volunteer. After working relief in Tottenville, Great Kills, and New Dorp Beach, Ross made his way into Midland Beach where he ran a relief site in one of the hardest hit areas. It was there on the corner of Hunter Avenue and Olympia Boulevard, Ross found kindred spirits in the great work Yellow Team was already doing. Ross considers it a privilege to wear the yellow shirt of Yellow Team. When he is not volunteering, Ross is a professional networker.
Andrew lives in Bull’s Head, Staten Island in the same house he grew up in. Andrew’s father opened Andrew’s Diner 12 years ago in Great Kills on Hylan Blvd, which Andrew now runs with his brother, having worked there since the beginning.  Shortly after Sandy hit, Andrew saw a post from Farid looking for volunteers, whom he knew only casually then.  He’d been out and about hearing everyone’s horror stories, and that same day it hit him that over half his customers had been effected by the storm.  With his diner closed for 2 weeks following the storm, Andrew made the most of his free time helping his neighbors.  Even after re-opening the diner, Andrew continued to volunteer on his days off.  He sees Yellow Team now as more of a family than a team, and he has come to consider his fellow volunteers his brothers and sisters, amazed by how much he instinctually trusts these people he has only just recently met.  
Jonathan, a native Staten Islander, was born and raised in Prince’s Bay. After graduating college, he remained in New York where he is currently employed in the financial services industry.  The immediate weekend following the storm, Jonathan was slated to run in the NYC Marathon.  However, with the cancelation of the marathon, he felt a strong obligation to utilize that weekend to assist residents in desperate need in his hometown.  He saw that need was ongoing and has continued volunteering with the Yellow Team since.  Jonathan feels very fortunate to have forged such a strong camaraderie with the group’s members coupled with the gratification of helping others.
Sal is from Staten Island and he is a supervisor with the NYC Sanitation Department.  While on the job working non-stop shifts post storm, Sal saw the destruction wrought upon all five boroughs.  Meanwhile, his best friend, Farid, had started Yellow Team, so as soon as he got a break from work, Sal signed up as a volunteer and went right out to assist his Staten Island neighbors, wanting to help those who he knew were among the hardest hit anyway he could.  Sal sees Yellow Team as just an ordinary group of people who came together when they were needed, united by a common goal, made family by a shared vision.
Bobby now lives in Washington DC, but he was born and raised on Staten Island where he went to High School with Farid. When he heard how bad the devastation was back home, Bobby knew he had to go back and help the community that made him the man he is today. In the week following the storm, Bobby saw on Facebook that Farid was going to help one day, so he called Farid to make plans to help too. They decided to wear yellow that day so they could find each other in the crowds, and the team identity was born. Bobby  continues to come to NY to help out with the relief efforts because he feels hometown has always been forgotten, and he can’t live with it being forgotten now, in their most desperate time of need.
Sun-dus was born and raised in the Middle east. She came to new york for dental school in 2001 and has been living in Manhattan ever since.  Sandy did not effect her much except for a week with no electricity and two weeks with no heat. While staying at a friends warm fully functioning building, Sun-dus wished there was something she could do for those suffering. She saw Rima’s post on Facebook looking for people to help her and Farid do demo, so she borrowed her friend’s rain boots and made her way to Staten Island for only the second time in her life.  Sun-dus considers Yellow Team a group of amazing people united by unselfishness who overcame their limits by combining resources and teaching each other their various skills. When things got tough on the Yellow Team tears and hugs were shared, but they stuck together to rebuild hope for the devastated community. For Sun-dus Yellow Team means determination!




One thought on “Team members

  1. Gina says:

    From a homeowner in Jersey City… THANK-YOU for helping. In our neighborhood, no one has been there to help. We had 5′-5″ of water in our home. It’s finally been treated for mold and we got our new boiler last week. It’s uplifting to know that, at least somewhere, there are still people helping others who have lost everything. For many people, it’s all history. For some others, we are still living the aftermath of Sandy every day… and “normal” is a long way off. If we weren’t already swamped with our own renovations, I would be out there to join you.

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