Today (Wednesday) we went to Little Talbot Island State Park where I got to help clear hiking trails by removing plants that were covering the walkways. The hike that we went on was about three miles long and we got to see all sorts of plants and wildlife. We came across banana trees, live oaks, moss, and tons of palm trees on the plant side and we saw some lizards and a snake on the wildlife side. Clearing the trails was great because it allows others to cherish how great this planet really is. After lunch we got to learn all about the sea turtles that lay their eggs in the sand dunes that we helped clean up. The mating season for sea turtles is from May to September and only about 1/4th of the sea turtles end up surviving. A the beach they had loggerhead sea turtles and green sea turtles. The sand dunes we helped clean up are very important for the survival of sea turtles. Overall, I really did enjoy the day soaking up the sun and enjoying the peaceful outdoors.
Day 1 (Sunday 3/19): Travel day, we watched 4 movies on the 16 hour bus ride. We stopped at the resturant Zaxby’s, and we traveled through Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Day 2 (Monday 3/20): Food bank- we went to Greater Baton Rouge which is a food bank. We helped put food into boxes and checked inventory. The guy in charged was named Mark and he was a DJ also who played cool music. We also unloaded food from these storage pods to separate them into smaller boxes.
Day 3 (Tuesday 3/21): Flood relief- we went to All Hands which split us into groups and we went to one house and worked on dry wall. The water line from the flood was 3/4th of the way up the wall and they lost most of their items. The owner’s son said that he woke up to water going over his bed in the flood. My team of Maddie, BJ, and I worked on the finishing touches of the house by drilling in screws and fixing the holes with dry wall in the outlets. The two guys that were in charge were Paul and Dave. They were both really cool. Paul always travels from place to place and I think that would be such a cool lifestyle to live. We ended up finishing two rooms that day. After work we went to this chinese buffet and I ate tons of frog legs and crawfish and sushi. I also tried an oyster and it was gross. The rest of the time we just played games.
Day 4 (Wednesday 3/22): Flood relief- We worked with All Hands again and with the same group of people. We worked on dry wall again and finished 2 more rooms. We had to patch a large hole in the ceiling with dry wall. It feels so great to make a difference in other peoples lives. The house that we worked on is owned by an old couple who didn’t have flood insurance just like the majority of people who got affected in the world, so it felt really good to make a difference. After working at the site, we ate dinner and then the All Hands employees talked to us more about their company and the flood. So far I like this trip a lot better than the Washington D.C. trip from last year. Lousiana is very pretty and everything is so green here.
Day 5 in Washington D.C. was a very busy day. It was our last day of service and we went to Martha’s table to work in their thrift shop. I helped price items, restock items, and helped bag peoples purchased items. It was a very interesting service activity that I have never done before. I very much enjoyed it. After we finished at YSOP, we went to all of the monuments including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Along the way we got to see some beautiful cherry blossom trees. It was an amazing way to end the day.
Today I went to Nourish Now in Rockville, Maryland! We helped rescue food from restaurants and grocery stores by re-boxing them to give out to families in need of them. Nourish Now looked really small but they seemed to make a big impact on the community by getting a lot of food brought in. After we finished volunteering, we got on the wrong bus and ended up traveling the wrong direction. After we were down at YSOP, we went to a Wizards Basketball game. All though we lost, we still had a lot of fun at the game.
Today was a long day. In the morning I helped partake in a food bank where we helped package damaged food that could be used to give to people in need. Then we went and saw the White House! After we toured around we finished the day off with our service dinner where we fed many hungry people. It was very interesting learning about the 7th graders we helped volunteer with. I also got to sit with this one man who said that he was from England and he came to the U.S.A. for business. He said that he use to be in the entertainment industry and that he loved to write. He was hoping that one day he could write a book. It has showed me that people that are homeless still have hopes and dreams just like any other person would.
Made it through our first day at YSOP! I helped serve food at a soup kitchen for homeless people in the local area. It was interesting to listen to the different stories that the locals had to share. Also I got to see the capital building, the library of congress, and Chinatown!