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.
Today we finished our first day in Wilmington and I think the early plane ride yesterday is finally getting to us. We started the morning off eating breakfast with an adorable church community and then split up into groups to conquer more sights. The group that I was with got to go to a house and hang up sheet rock. It was definitely a learning experience and something I have never done before! I think everyone is excited to go back and work more tomorrow!
NW ASB wasn’t alone in Wilmington. A second group from California was also staying with us, and they were a hoot and a half (dare I say they were two hoots). They worked on a different project site than us, however every night when they got back, we loved to visit with them, especially after a long day of work.
At the house, once my group had finished the ceiling, we started on the wall, which was 10 times easier since we didn’t have to hold the boards over our heads. By the end of the week, we had completed almost all the walls of the house. It was quite frustrating, but we all pushed through with positive attitudes and a lot of patience. In comparison to last year when we had a different project every day, but it was rather nice to have just one project to work on every day because we got to see just how much progress we had made by the end of the week. We made huge strides in the repair of this house, and I am proud to say that we were able to contribute to the rebuild of this woman’s house. Even after all the work, it was nice to have one day off.
Spending Friday at the beach was about as amazing as it sounds. The weather was above 70 degrees and the Carolina Beach Boardwalk was a beautiful space. Lunch at SeaWitch cafe was delicious and we spent several hours playing in the ocean, drawing in the sand, and burying Alex. Despite how relaxing the whole day was, in the end I was glad to be back home in my own bed.
ASB has been an amazing experience to me. I am so blessed to serve as president of this organization and I hope that I will get to have this opportunity again in the future. Originally I wasn’t sure if my senior year would have enough time in it to do ASB again, but honestly I don’t think I can leave. ASB has become my third family (after marching band) and it’s not something I’m ready to lose.
Get ready for Round 3 of me ASB, because I’m not going anywhere.
The second part of the trip was all about finally getting into the groove. Since it took me such a long time to understand how to put up sheet rock once we actually got to doing it on the other days it was a piece of cake. I felt more accomplished about what I was doing and I felt like I was really making a difference in the homeowners life. By the time the project was almost done the whole team on the job site was working in the same room to get this house done. It was interesting to see all of the different groups working, and all with different work styles. By the time we were finished on the worksite we had put sheet rock on almost the entire house. Looking back on how the house looked before we started working it almost didn’t look like a house, it was just bare bones. But after the walls were put up it actually looked like someone could live there. I wish that we were here to see how the homeowner liked the progress of the house. But I know that she would have been grateful either way. Looking back on this whole experience I am grateful for all of the skills that I have learned through service. Before ASB I would not have the confidence to do something like this and I would never think that I could accomplish it. I am happy that I have joined ASB and have provided relief to people in need and I can’t wait to do it for years to come.
Well we are all finally home from one heck of a week. This week has been so incredibly humbling. I could not imagine being in the position these people have been in the past seven months. Working with this awesome group of people and seeing the progress we made over the course of the four days was so rewarding. Just to know how much of a difference you are making in someone’s life was the biggest reward. There was so much left to do to get the home we were working on back to “live in” conditions, but we made some really great progress.
I could not image doing anything else with my spring break. This group of people is one of a kind.
On Wednesday we started to see the progress we’d been working on all week. My group spent the week reflooring a trailer home that was destroyed during the hurricane back in September. Our 11 peeps and a few from a church in Wisconsin have been working tirelessly (with power tools!!!) to re-insulate, sand down, and replace the flooring. On Wedneday we got all the floors installed! It was so great to look back and see the work we’ve done and the impact we’re going to leave on this family. Since we were replacing the floor, it was only a matter of time before someone fell through the (not yet fixed) floor (good job, Meredith!), but once someone did, so did everyone else! Looking back on the week, we had many things to laugh about, but especially that. Thursday we re-insulated the walls and got drywall put up throughout most of the house. It was our last day, and we were all teary-eyed leaving the site as we saw all our hard work paying off. Truly a great moment.
Only one day was a little rainy and actually cold, but it ended sunny and warm, so we lucked out. This experience has been one for the books, I never thought I’d be in such a beautiful place working on disaster relief, but here we are! Everyday felt so rewarding knowing how we were making a difference. This is my second year doing ASB, and I’m sad I have to wait a whole year to do it all over again! All of these people I’ve met through NW ASB have truly impacted me in a way I’ll never be able to explain. I’ve made some of my best friends through the last two years with this organization, and I’m sad next year will be my last year! We made memories to last a lifetime, and left feeling accomplished. I have only positive things to say about both of my experiences with ASB, and all I have left to say is that I wish we had another week together.
Until next year, ASB.
We got back home last night. It was a long day of traveling and sitting! But i am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity. This truly has been life changing. I have learnt that even though we stop hearing about natural disasters that doesn’t mean that all the damage has been fixed. It takes months and sometimes years for it all to get remotely close to back to “normal”. And it takes the help from all over to make that happen! I also loved how everyone was able to come together and accomplished so much even though we knew very little about one another. This week i have grown closer to everyone who was a part of ASB! I honestly have nothing but great things to say. But until next time ASB! Thank you! ❤️