Attending ASB for the first time, I did not know what to expect. After hearing the stories of the people who have yet to live in their house since September, I was heart-broken and ready to help in any way possible. Showing up to our job site, I was speechless at the amount of damage that was done to the single house the group was assigned. Seeing this motivated me to work more diligently to complete as much of the task as possible. Tearing out plywood might not have been my specialty at the beginning of the day, but by the end, it was. The teamwork, hospitality of the volunteers, and new experiences made my first day of the trip successful. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store and the amount of lives the group will impact.
I grew up in Madison, Missouri with a population of 556. My high school was Preschool-12th Grade with approximately two hundred students in attendance. As you can imagine, throughout high school I was very involved. I was a member and officer of every organization and program our school offered, while being a full time student. Coming into my freshman year here at Northwest I knew my courses weren’t going to allow me that same level of involvement so decision were going to have to be made. When I found Alternative Spring Break, I knew I had found my home. Service has been the largest building block in who I am today. From a young age with my involvement in both my local youth group and 4-H club I fell in love with the idea of being a servant to those in need. As first semester faded into second, my excitement to be serving others with likeminded college students was beyond borders.
On Monday as we sat at breakfast, a gentlemen by the name of Dave joined us. He introduced himself as a local and immediately began explaining the devastation of Hurricane Florence. Him and his wife were fortunate enough to escape major damage and had been housing families in their homes for the last six months. His role as a chaplain and position as a local made volunteering each week an easy decision. As of this month there are still 2,300 individuals displaced from their homes and he was fortunate enough to be the site manager for a sweet elderly woman’s home. She was living four hours away in Charlotte with her daughter and was coming back on the weekends to see the progress on her home. Although we hadn’t begun our work Dave began thanking us for spending our break helping his people. It was in these moments at our first breakfast that I truly understood the impact our gift of service was going to make.
As we received our assignment for the week, I was in shock as we had been assigned the sweet elderly woman’s house Dave had described at breakfast. Our task was to sheetrock the house so final steps could be taken to get the woman back to living at home. Those of you who know me, know I am by no means a handy woman. I was a bit uneasy about being equip with such a task but I was up for the challenge of learning something new. After tutorials from Dave, trial, and error each of us soon found where we best fit into the hanging of sheet rock puzzle. Each day presented new challenges, new solutions, new skills, and new memories with the most incredible people. By the end of our workday Thursday we had the entire house sheet rocked (minus one wall). We all came together as a team to work for the good of something so much greater than ourselves. Even though I won’t be trading college for construction anytime soon, I genuinely enjoyed adding another skill to my tool belt. I had the most laughs and experienced the most memorable moments around some of the best Bearcats I could know.
While we all come from different backgrounds, have different interests, and are studying a variety of subjects, we as a Bearcat family have one thing in common- our hearts. I could not have imagined spending my week of spring break doing anything else with any other group of people. This experience was eye-opening, impactful, and incredible. I will definitely be continuing my membership and would encourage every student at Northwest to consider the opportunity!
To enter a house that is completely gutted and to leave it with walls and a ceiling is an insane feeling. I really do feel like I have left this trip with some great friends and memories made along the way. I was happy that through all the mistakes and silly things that kept happening over this week we have been able to dance and laugh it all off – whether those things be a confusing schedule, or a crooked house with straight edged sheetrock. It’s been a wonderful trip and I feel really honored to be able to hep out someone even if it is just putting up walls. The house is far from finished but we did as much as we could in the week we stayed.
Started the day by trying grits for the first time, tasted like milky sand but the rest of the breakfast was good. Today we went to help put sheet rock up at the house we were assigned. It feels really awesome to see the progress of the house from being completely gutted to the start of having walls. I am excited to continue to work hard and see more progress. The beach afterward was really fun and the apple cobbler dessert was the bomb dot com.
It’s SO windy today. Please send prayers for my hair.
Anyways, hi, Whitney here! Social media exec killing it on Day 3 here in NC – my little group finished sheetrocking our room today! It was a long process, but so satisfying, and even if we won’t get to see the reaction, I can’t wait for the homeowner to see all of the progress we’ve made on their home when they come back this weekend.
It’s a bit frustrating being cooped up in the same room all day, at the same house every day. Last year, we were at a different site every day, so this took some getting adjusted to. But, I can still appreciate the opportunity an extended project gives us to devote more energy into one special thing for someone. I look forward to finishing up what we can tomorrow, and then we have a free day on Friday before we head back! Excited to re-apply for social media chair for next year’s trip – we’ll see how things pan out!
Hey y’all –
Since I’m in group three, tonight (Thursday the 22nd) is my night to post on the blog. This is the last night Northwest ASB is spending in Jacksonville, which means our last night in the church. I’d like to start out by saying that I am absolutely thankful for this roof over our head and the meals provided for us by Steve, Amy, Jordan, and all the employees here! It exceeded my expectations by far, and I’m so glad I’ve had this experience that I’ll remember for a long time to come. We are all blessed to have such wonderful execs and leaders who worked together to make sure this trip went by with minimal trip-ups, which are never avoidable in the first place – they did a wonderful job!
Today was actually a half-day of work and a half day of play, but a whole day of fun. I can actually hear Jordan talking about how relaxing today was as I type this, so I’ll use that as my proof that I’m credible in saying this. This morning we worked out at Fort Matanzas replenishing a jetty and filling in areas with sand around it. I learned a lot about Florida wildlife both via rangers and up close (here’s looking at you, lil crabs). After we finished that and split off for small informational sessions and lunch, we changed and headed to St. Augustine beach, where we spent a few hours just relaxing/cooling off (literally). It was a good chance for all of us to unwind after a long week of good, hard work and it was very obviously needed. To wrap up the night, we ate at Timoti’s Seafood Shak and now I’m here writing this post, packing up and reflecting on the last few days. Although they have been an absolute joy, I can say with confidence that I’m excited to finish off strong with this team and head back home to my pets and the last four weeks of the semester, as well as mentally prepare myself for a new ASB trip in another year from now. We’ll see how things go. :^)