Adventures in Baton Rouge

I have had a busy last few days experiencing new and different things. I have met a variety of people in this short time, from weird camp directors to people who treat you like family. I loved getting to know new people. On, Monday I got to spend some time at a boys and girls club. I loved getting to help second graders do there homework.  When it was time for me to go they kept trying to pull me back in the gym. Me being a education major it was great to work with them. Then the next two days I got to paint a house. It was great; we finished our job a day early!! I got sick towards the end of the work day but still managed to help out some.

Day three

Today was an amazing day!
It was our second day working with Helping Hands and I learned so many new things from my experience working with this organization. We worked on a house that was directly affected by the flood and did some interior fixes. For example, my small team worked on installing insulation and drywall. It was really neat being able to do and learn how to do such hard work! I didn’t think it would be too bad, but as yesterday and today approached I came to realize how tired I was!

My site leader Paul was awesome! There was also another volunteer there named Dave and it was so nice to get to know him! Without this experience with Helping Hands and Alternative Spring Break in general, I would have never of met some of the people I have gotten to this week. That’s probably been the coolest part.

My favorite part of the day: My favorite part of the day was sitting around at lunch time! Everyone got to share their stories and past experiences and loved that! It’s been fun getting to know my team members better as well as the other volunteers!

Louisiana 3/20-22

This trip so far has definitely been an eye opening experience. I have had the opportunity to meet to many new people from not just my school but all over the country. I met people that give their lives to serve and help others making me want to go into nonprofit even more. One man I met was named Dave and he was the sweetest older man. He was from Tennessee And had worked with all hands there after wildfires destroyed areas. He decided he loved to volunteer and came down to help with the flood relief. He was like a motivation grandpa to my work group and it was so hard to say goodbye to him. He will be one of those people you never forget and hope to see again.

Baton Rouge Trip 3/22/2017

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.

Blog 3/20-3/22

Hi guys, I’m Avery and this is my first time on Alternative Spring break. This trip has only been 3 days but it has been a blast! It’s so exciting to see both ASB and all the volunteers here that are dedicating their time to help the community. I’m so thankful to be apart of this trip. The first day we helped at the Food Bank from 8-3ish. This was super fun, it really represents how much need there is for donations. One of the biggest facts was how people only donate around the holidays and that money actually goes farther. During this we packed bins and separated cans/ inventory and whatever was needed. That afternoon we got to go to a local school and help out with the after school club. This was super fun the students are so inviting and willing to be our friends! They were super fun and I had a great time– I wish I could go back. The next two days we helped out with All Hands disaster volunteer project. Through this we got to see the homes and get a chance to hear stories about how the flood affected others. Then we got to work on homes ourselves. It’s a lot of work but well worth it, knowing that we are helping families. I enjoyed working with a team and we got a lot accomplished. The time passed by so quickly and I grew closer with the ASB team while participating in this. After getting to meet all these people and dedicate my time, my heart definitely grows because I can put names to faces to real stories. So it allows me to have a greater effect than there already was. It’s been a great couple of days, but they have sure been fun and life changing!

Day 1 and 2

We arrived late Sunday night to a man with a big smile. We were fed pizza and got a short run down of what the trip was going to entail as well as the expectations for ourselves we should be on the lookout for. The man challenged us to take in each day and each experience. I thought this was interesting because most times we are in fast motion almost forgetting to breathe and take in our surroundings. To “stop and smell the roses” is true. My goal for this week is to take some time out of each day to reflect on what is really happening throughout the week and how my life is being affected as well as the lives of the Baton Rouge community.

Monday, our first service day, we arrived at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. There we weighed and packaged food, assembled boxes, loaded palettes, and unloaded storage like units full of canned goods for the Baton Rouge community. This organization is a non-profit that had also been affected by the flood. Their desire for their volunteers is to come twice. Go once and then come back again! The environment was friendly and the work was challenging, but we all made it through with eager spirits!

Following after the food bank, we traveled down to a local school to participate in their after school activities. We specifically worked with the Boys and Girls Club. There we assisted students with homework and were able to play with them in the gym. I was surprised by the welcoming spirits of the children and their kindness. I felt an instant connection with them. Working alongside them was fun and gave me a sense of purpose. Their dependency on us to help them learn was something special and not to be taken lightly. They were a delight!

Favorite part of the day: My favorite part of the day was working with the students with Boys and Girls Club. I worked with a young girl who specifically made my day. Her family had been affected by the flood, but you would never have guessed it. She was sweet, smart, and her kindness warmed my heart!

Preparing for the Trip

Our bus is leaving at 5 a.m., which means that I need to show up early.  However I want to be one of the first people on the bus and will be arriving at 4:30 a.m. instead.  Since it is early Sunday morning and I have already spent a week without drinking pop, that morning I will be getting a Dr. Pepper from Mickey D’s.  Also I hope I wake up considering that Emily and Rob will both be calling me at 4 a.m. to make sure I am up.  In addition I promise the night before and bring motion sickness medicine.  I am excited for this trip and the time I get to have in 80 degree weather all week.

P.S. Bring on the sunshine, shorts, and the southern culture

Iona Senior Services

On March 25th, 2016, my group was able to work with Iona Senior Services. This was a fun experience for me because we were able to work with a farmer’s market of sorts, and I have never been to one from the seller’s perspective. Even though we were not selling the food, we were still offering what we had to the members coming to our lunch and hoping they would like what we had for them. After they all came through the market, I was able to go in and help fix lunch. This was fun for me because I work in food service currently, and a lot of the meal that was being prepared was that of a catering sort. After, we served the meals to the guests and sat down and ate with them. This was fun because I was able to talk with one lady who wanted to know all about my major, and told me that she believed that I was going to be an amazing teacher, just from listening to me tell stories about the children and the things that I most loved doing with them. This was inspiring for me because she had not even seen me, and she believed that I should follow my dreams. After everyone left, we helped to clean the kitchen, eating area, and the area where we had the Farmer’s Market.




D.C. Day 1 – Martha’s Table

Today was our first day working with YSOP in Washington, D.C.  We arrived early in the morning for orientation and then got into our assigned groups and parted ways. My group was headed to Martha’s Table. Martha’s Table is an organization that provides a variety of services to the homeless. Their main goals are to provide access to education, food, and opportunity. Our task of the day was to peel and cut potatoes. Although this job seemed unimportant, our supervisor explained to us how their operation runs almost entirely on volunteers like us. What seemed like a small task was actually going to be able to provide a meal to hundreds of people that night. Everyone we worked with was very friendly and also very passionate about Martha’s Table and everything that they do for the homeless.

D.C. Day 3- Capital Area Food Bank

During the third day of the ASB Bearcats leaving our mark in the nation’s capital, my team energetically worked hand in hand with another volunteer group from Ikea at the Capital Area Food Bank. This organization located in the Washington metro area is working towards solving hunger and its companion problems that include chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. They aim to partner with many organizations as well as delivering food directly into hard to reach areas including those who are experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. Our duty for the day was to unpack the food content of boxes that were packed on pallets and place the sorted contents into the designated bins organized by categories. This experienced pushed me to further open my eyes to see the actual amount of an abundant food waste that is recurring every year in our land of abundant food. My team had the personal experience of seeing how the Capital Area Food Bank is physically taking action towards reducing food waste by working closely with the food donated and refining its sorting process. Each of us worked alongside the Ikea members to removing boxes from pallets and unpacking the items to into designated bins. By the end of the week, I witnessed how this organization left its mark on the Bearcats as we chose to give our uneaten sacked lunches and extra lunch contents to those who were in need of food due to poverty instead of adding to the abundant food waste in our nation. I am very humble to have had this opportunity to travel with fellow Bearcats to make a difference in another community.