All Hands Volunteer Day 1
Today we worked with an organization called All Hands Volunteer, we worked at homes that were effect from the flood. I woke up at 5am to shower and get ready for our first day, it was exciting and most of our cabin braided each other’s hair. We eat breakfast and I helped again with clean up. Our bus arrived and Phillip aka the Bus driver- coolest guy ever, drove us to All Hands bus camp. We were given shirts to wear, then we all had a meeting about what we were going to be doing today. At the meeting we were given some information about what we would be doing at the sites. I volunteered to work at Clifford’s House and helping him by painting inside his home. I worked with Amanda and Hannah from our ASB group, and John and Geoff were staff and volunteers that had been working with All Hands before. Geoff was the leader of our group and told us what we needed to work on. I had fun working with Geoff and John, but they had very opposite personalities. John was the talkative person who would talk in any situation and Geoff tried to never say anything or tried to say very little, it was my goal to have Geoff laugh or say anything to me. Amanda, Hannah, and I worked on cutting and rolling the paint; cutting means that we would make a swoosh toward the trim or ceiling. Rolling means we would get rollers and make large strokes up and down. We worked until lunch playing my music and working at our own pace because we learned that they planned for us to finish painting on Thursday. Since the hose didn’t have plumbing we left to find a gas station, we used to bathroom then went back to the house to eat. At lunch is when I learned more about All Hands and about John and Geoff’s lives as well as more about Amanda and Hannah. Once lunch was over we got back to work and we realized that we were almost done cutting. We started rolling in all of the rooms while Clifford brought us a new jug of primer for the kitchen. When we arrived the kitchen was this really bright and ugly yellow, Clifford didn’t like it so were to change the color. We got the primer a little after lunch, so we finished rolling the rooms and started cutting in the kitchen and mud room. By that time we had a rhythm of how we wanted to paint and all 5 of us worked together to get the room finished and cleaned up before we had to be back at 4:30 at the All Hands spot. Once we got back to the All Hands spot, Amanda, Hannah and I ran over to Walgreen’s because we were still waiting for another two vans to come back. Once back at camp, we showered and got ready to head out and get dinner. We actually went out for food at a place called Central Buffet, it wasn’t that bad and I got to talk and hang out with Phillip. After dinner we walked to a fro-yo place, we took a bunch of photos and added everyone on snapchat. I taught Phillip how to use snapchat and what a bitemoji was and how to create one. It was a fun night because I got to hang out with everyone and we were able to talk about what we did that day since we all split into different groups. Once we got back to camp a lot of people wanted to play cards and hang out. We played BS and 21 and just played music, laughed and hung out. I got tired and went to bed eventually, but I found out the next day that they stayed up and had a bonfire.
Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank Day
Today was our first day in Louisiana and we were all tired and not morning people. Every day we had four people help set up for breakfast and dinner, than have at least 8 people help with cleaning up. Breakfast was at 6:30am and I woke up at 5:30, I was one of the first few people awake. After breakfast we hoped onto the bus, when we were leaving camp our bus was stopped by the Mighty Mega Mini Muffin Fairy (or Steve in a colorful Grandma dress and a blonde wig with a roasting stick with a mini muffin on it). The Mighty Mega Mini Muffin Fairy gave us a pep talk saying to make The Hoo Doo, that You Doo, that You Doo, so well. Once the Muffin Fairy left the bus, we left the camp and headed to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. However, we went to the wrong location then couldn’t find the Food Bank and were a little late. Once at the Food Bank I had a great time, we would do multiple jobs. We took certain food groups and weighed them for families in need. The whole day the main guy at the Food Bank, Mark played his DJ tracks loudly and we jammed out while working. After we finished boxing those goods we were to take a break and wait until two local schools fund-raised goods were delivered. The food was late so we took our lunch break and a few people sat outside and tried to tan. The hour lunch lasted roughly 115 minutes because they didn’t have anything for us to do until the food came in so we played musical chairs, human knot, and the game were you make eye contact with people. We included the other group that was there volunteering in our games. The food arrived and we practically ran toward the food bins because wanted to start working again. Personally I felt like I wasn’t doing anything productive and helpful to those in need. There were three POD containers that were delivered and we organized and finished those within 2 hours. It was awesome to see everyone working together and being efficient to try and get as much done. We left and went to a School to work with an organization called the Boys and Girls Club. At the school we worked with students do their homework than when they completed their homework they got to go to the gym and play games. I worked with a 4th Grader named Carson, and I helped him work on his math assignment. We worked on line plots and fractions, it was fun and interesting to see how I would teach someone. Also how bad or good I am as a teacher. That was the end of our service but we went back to the Camp Istrouma to prepare for dinner and I stayed behind to help clean up from dinner. At the end of dinner we went back to our cabins and got ready for bed.
Today was the day that we are starting our trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I woke up at 3 am to finish packing and make Hannah S. breakfast. The bus was supposed to arrive at 4:30am because then we are able to pack the bus and leave at 5am. HOWEVER, the bus couldn’t find the lot that we were in and got lost on campus, so the bus arrived at 5am. Hannah S. was staying at my apartment and was going on the trip, I wanted to make sure that were there early enough to get a good seats on the bus. We were parked in lot 62 at 4:35 and there were already 5 other cars parked. I could tell that everyone was excited to get on the bus and start our adventure. However, you could tell that a lot of people were tired and not really morning people at 5am. I was trying to stay peppy for everyone else, even Maddie Y. Once the bus showed up, we loaded bus really fast and everyone found their seats trying to figure out how they were going to sleep on the bus. We left Maryville at 5:30, It was my goal to stay awake the whole trip but I was up late the night before doing homework that was DUE DURING spring break (not cool). I fell asleep right after passing Platte City and the bus slept until we reached our first stop. We stopped in Springfield, Mo and changed bus drivers then traveled down the road for breakfast. Throughout the day, I would sleep or read a book. Nothing really happened other than travelling through Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana. We arrived at Camp Istrouma at 9:40, Steve our coordinator provided dinner then we all went back to our cabins and went to bed.
Today we worked a place called Martha’s Outfitter’s which is an actually thrift store. Martha’s Outfitters is connected to a soup kitchen called Martha’s Table and a few other operations. However at Martha’s Outfitter they do more for those who are homeless, because they had a list of things that they were able to grab from the store. Three outfit, 1 coat, 1 pair of shoes, one household item then they got 2 pairs of socks, a pair of underwear(if it was a man), a bra(if it was a women), a shirt and some toiletries. Be began by going to the donation piles and hanging those up and bringing them to the front of the shop. We all did separate jobs, some hung clothes, some took donations to the back and Sarah and I work in the part of the store where the homeless people would check in with us and we would give them something’s. Sarah and I worked as a team and would bag the clothes and make sure they had everything right, for the last 30 minutes I took over the computer to check people in. When our time was up we left and walked back to YSOP for our final breakdown/reflection. That night we left from YSOP to walk the monuments that we had not seen yet. It took a few hours to get through all of the monuments, it was fun and we got to meet up with a recent graduate of NW who now lived in DC.
Today we got to go to our service site without Amy because she was sick and couldn’t leave the hotel. We took the metro transit all the way to Rockville, Maryland, which was 13 stops away which is roughly 50 minutes. When we got off the transit we had to jump on to a bus to go our site. Well, after we got off the bus we found a building that was describe in our direction but it didn’t have the correct building number. We looked around the street to find our building but could not see it, it was described as a white building. We had to call the head lady for Nourish Now to help us find the correct building which to happen to be on the opposite side of the street in a cream building. Nourish Now is a small non-profit that serve families in need of food by giving them a box full of fruits, veggies, and assortment of other things. If the family has a baby or small children they will help with baby food or anything that they have at the time. We started out by sorting through fresh foods and leftover food from catering companies into smaller food bags. Sarah, Brittney and I organized canned and packaged foods (mac and cheese, dressing etc.) until they ran out. While we were doing that, the rest of our group was making lunches from left over catering food. At the end of our time we took a group picture with all of the volunteers that worked that day and the people who ran the operation. The bus was coming down the street toward the bus stop that we were at. We were 15 minutes into the bus ride when we realized that we were going the wrong way, we hoped off the bus confused. We crossed the street waiting for another bus for 15 more minutes. When we finally got back to the metro station, the announcer said that the train was broken and that we would have to wait awhile. Once the transit started working again we finally made it back to YSOP. We all regrouped and decided what we were going to do that night, some went to a Wizards game, and some visited a few shops around the hotel. Than about 7 of us navigate our way to Georgetown. We went shopping, I took a lot of pictures, and just had a great night. I learned today to always check to see which was the bus is going and don’t assume they are all going the same way.
Today was a long day we went to our service site and also serviced dinner to some people who are experiencing homelessness. Our group and Marcy’s group all went to the Capital Area Food Bank to sort through their donations and other things that have purchased. Personally, I was in the group that went through the snack boxes and check the packaging for their expiration dates. Then we repackage them for churches and other organizations around this food bank to come and pick up the repackaged boxes. When we were done with our service for the day, we went to lunch and got to walk around the White House and other places around I Street and Pennsylvania Ave. When it was time to go back to the YSOP building, we regroup and got ready for our service dinner. We made Shepard’s Pie, Vegetable Stir-fry, baked beans and a Garden Salad, then for dessert we (the 7th graders or the other group) decorated the cupcakes. I was back in the kitchen making the Stir-Fry the whole time everyone else decorated the room and made all of the food and drinks. I had fun working with Jessica and Zach to make the Stir-Fry and with everyone else who was cooking in the kitchen. We had a quick meeting before they opened the doors then I helped finish the Stir-Fry. I walk out of the kitchen with Jessica, looking for a place to sit down to chat with some of our guest. When Marcy waved me over and introduced me to two men that were deaf or hard of hearing. I sat down not knowing what to do, super nervous but I was over reacting. One guy was really nice and would finger-spell slowly for Lacie and me, then he gave us sign names which was really cool. I finished the night with not signing a lot to our guests but I believe that since I understood most of the conversation it was a great accomplishment. I helped clean up and do some dishes with Shea, we had our reflection which lasted an hour. But with our reflection that we had I realized that I want to set a goal for myself for the rest of the week, which is to sign questions and have a conversation with a Deaf person when I get the chance to. Here are some pictures from my day:
Today, we began our week long service for the homeless and those who need the food. At the beginning when walking to the YSOP’s location I didn’t know what to expect from this week and how it would all play put. We had our orientation then split up and went to separate location, I started out at the Church of the Brethren. The Church of the Brethren had a soup kitchen in the basement and that is where I spent my first day serving. We made the whole lunch, which all donations were from varies stores and farms around D.C. I personally made the Green Bean Soup, when making the food it was interesting because we had to do math to multiple the recipe. I had a lot of fun working with my group, we cried over the onions but it was interesting see how they interacted with the people who came into the soup kitchen. When serving the food we got to take a break and sit down and eat with some of the guest and talk with them, some didn’t want to talk. At the end of this week it is my goal to have a conversation with someone at one of the sites we go to. When our day was over at the Church of the Brethren, we walked about the capital then made it back to hear from our guest speaker from DC Central Kitchen. We learned more about their non-profit organization and other statistics about homelessness in DC. When our day was done we went to Chinatown and ate at MatchBox and explored Chinatown and other places around there. I took a few photos and have a very fun and exhausting day.