Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wow.

When I landed in Boston I called my mom to let her know that I got home safely. She kept asking me what my favorite part of the trip was, but I couldn't find the words to describe it. Now, I thought it could have been the fact that I was running on 20 minutes of sleep, but over a week later and I feel like I am still processing how incredible this experience was.

Whenever I have thought about ASB or Oklahoma over the past week and a half a new memory has come up, each as amazing as the last. Sometimes I think about our culture days in the Wichita Mountains and in Bricktown. Other times I think about our home in the First Christian Church and all of the meetings, games of Catch Phrase, and late night conversations our group shared there. But most often I think about the work site. I think about all of the projects we did, from painting to cleaning to building. I have thought about seeing my new friends conquer their fears of climbing ladders and using power tools. Each of these moments will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, in reflecting on the experience as whole I finally figured out my favorite moment- it happened when we were leaving the work site for the last time. On my way to the vans I stopped to take a picture of house that I had spent the most time working on, and at that moment I thought "Wow. When we started the week this area looked like a construction site, but now it looked like a home." At that moment I could picture someone living there and it was incredible to think that we had a part in that. That moment made every bump and bruise worth it, and it just reaffirmed how much of an impact that service has. We helped build that house and that left a mark on Oklahoma, but these memories are Oklahoma's mark on me. Service makes you value things more and it gives you a better understanding of the world around you. The people I met and the things our group accomplished have changed me for the better, and that is something that I will carry with me forever.

Now I can tell my mom and anyone else who asks what my favorite moment was and I can describe even more of the amazing experiences that we had. After this reflection I feel ready to start spreading service at Framingham State with the other ASB members who I am lucky enough to call friends. Get ready Framingham- service is coming your way!

With so much love and gratitude,
Molly Buckley
Class of 2015

Monday, March 31, 2014

I don't care I love it

You've all got something I need in this world full of people, there's one killing me, and if we only die once I want to die with...wow that got deep too fast. But I thought since that was pretty much the anthem of the trip why not begin my blog with some inspiration? The trip is still in my mind all the time and honestly I dreamed about it last night but we weren't in Oklahoma and we were in space....too weird? So I would have to say I have hit a new level of love for this group. On a serious note, coming back from the trip was not as easy as I thought because of all the crazy feelings I was experiencing: sadness, happiness, craziness, loneliness but on a positive note I did not have many withdrawals because I was with some ASBers after the trip almost every day. I am so happy to have met you all especially Russell/Homer. I can say I developed many close friendships throughout this trip which makes me so happy and sad because I am going to miss the seniors so much! Ghika wanted her own unique spot in my blog since I am using her computer and since she is leaving so I am glad we became so close on the trip and will miss you when your at Northeastern being a Huskie instead of Sam the Ram. I have so many words but I just do not know how to express them, can a blue person help me?  I will end on a high note and say thank-you to all of you for just being the best and being such  great people!
Kaylee Brazell 2017

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Journal from the Plane

Just some thoughts I wrote in my journal on the flight from Dallas to Boston! Keep that ASB fire alive, my friends <3

We're on the flight back from Oklahoma now. What a week it's been! It surpassed my expectations in every way. I feel like a proud mama.

This trip just felt so right. It wasn't always easy; in fact, there were times when it was really freaking hard. I cried out of exhaustion, I cried out of frustration, but I also cried out of joy. That's what it is to be a trip leader. You just have so much invested in this project because you care so, so much. You believe in it and its power to change people more than you believe in just about anything else. And you think back to those magic moments on your first trip when your eyes were opened to the many, many human beings on this earth, their hopes and their needs, and how you actually have the power to do something meaningful for them. Those moments when you realize you're not just one in the crowd, but rather a very important link in the chain of humanity. You remember what those moments meant for you and who you've become, and you work your tail off to give that experience to someone else, to another very important link in the chain that's yearning to be strengthened. This week, I witnessed each of our 24 participants realize their connection in this huge chain. And really, there's no better feeling than that.

Each ASB has made me stand back and question my path. After this time, I am so, so glad that I've chosen this one. This is tiring and often thankless work, but there is nothing in this world that I care about more. Humanity is a tricky thing. We often clutter our view with violence, competition, materialism, and separateness. But we have an equal, if not greater potential for making peace, creating hope, and sharing love. This work reminds the world daily of its potential to be beautiful. There's nothing else that I want to commit myself to, because there's nothing else in this world that I believe in more. And really, that's what it's all about. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ASB 2014 final reflection


As my service as one of the 2014 Alternative Spring Break Trip leaders draws to an end, I want to take a moment and reflect one the entirety of my experience. ASB was the third service trip I have been on, and the first of which I was an organizer.  My decision to apply for the trip leader position stemmed from my experiences on my previous ASB trips. Each spring break I spent emerged in service work showed me how each individual’s actions had an impact on the world. Serving others showed me why I was important relative to the world around me. Once I understood that my actions made a difference, I came to the understanding that it was my responsibility as a citizen to continue taking those actions and serving my community in any capacity I was able. In doing so I felt the full liberation of service, the mutually beneficial relationship in which I became an empowered, educated, and humbled individual only because I was devoting myself to the benefit of others.
            I applied to be a trip leader for ASB 2014 because the individual I am today is a product of service trips. I felt as though being a trip leader was the next step for me to take in my service career; to be one of the people who creates these life altering opportunities for students and to come full circle and give back to a program that has given me so much. I am blessed that I was given the opportunity, an opportunity that stands out as the best experience of my life.
            Brandon, Tori, and I under the advisement of Claire and Angel poured incredible effort into organizing a program that would leave each participant with that unique sense of empowerment, education, and humility that only service can foster. It was a both a stressful and exciting period of my life that called upon me to think in ways I never have, face challenges I could have never have seen coming, and to be a leader to 27 other peers. Nevertheless I can say with no hesitation that it was the most gratifying experience I have ever had.
            By the end of the trip I could see growth in ever-single ASB participant. I could hear in their reflections of the workdays that they were considering their place in the world differently than they had before, that understood how they were working with and for the good of their neighbors, and that their work, no matter how small, matters. Above all else however, was their understanding that it doesn’t end when the trip does.
ASB trips are to take participants outside of themselves, show them that they can make an impact, and then challenge them to perpetuate that work in their everyday lives. Though it is always hard to return to the “real world” these trips don’t really have meaning unless we take away something of value from it  and return home to apply it.
I am honored to call myself a peer to the ASB 2014 participants because they truly are some of my generation’s finest citizens.  Serving as a trip leader has provided me with unquantifiable amounts of self growth both as a leader and as an individual.  Once again, I leave an ASB trip rejuvenated and confident that as long as my motivations are founded on the good of my community, only positive things can come. Thus, I am ready to enter back into the "real world" and continue applying my newly found strengthens as a means to positively impact my community. 
I have nothing but thanks to everyone and anyone who has supported me in this process.  It is because of the support of my fellow trip leaders, friends, family, advisors, and community that I have been so blessed with the opportunity to have such an amazing experience. 

Sincerely, Amy Jones class of 2016

Saturday, March 22, 2014

ASB: Lifestyle, Service, Selflessness

Wow. This week has flown by so quickly and I can't believe that we'll be flying home tomorrow morning (technically today). This week was strange in so many ways: it was a week to shatter the comfort zone I had created for so many years. It was a week to truly understand what service was. It was a week to truly learn the multiple personalities, gifts and talents every person in this group brings to the table. Finally, it was a week to make a difference, create a legacy, have moments of self-discovery and create community to not only the group, but also those we met along the way. The nightly meetings covered self perception, connections, life in general and impact. We as a group have created a deeper impact than I think many of us believed could be possible. Some of us learned so many new things throughout the week about ourselves and what it truly takes to build a house from the foundation up. These service projects are so important for so many reasons: however, they help to promote community. We created a community of role models and leaders within our own group, yet we also built relationships with the people we worked with on the site and the people we met throughout the week. We've built connections with people from different parts of the country and these projects remind us that there are people who would have done the same thing for us if anything ever happened, such as the tornadoes that wreaked havoc in Moore last year. Service can happen in so many different ways. We covered such a small aspect through the construction of the house and the repairs on Victoria and Efrain's house on the service spectrum. Service is giving one's time to help better the lives of others and not expect anything in return. It is about putting in time and effort to put a smile on the face of the worker next to you and the people who are affected, to create the feeling of community and unite the world one person at a time through various means. It doesn't require a grand gesture or money. It requires personality, a positive attitude and a willingness to achieve something greater than oneself. This trip opens one's eyes to the difference a single nail or board makes in creating a house into a home. The trip has opened my eyes to the natural beauty Oklahoma brings to the United States and how browns can create true beauty through simplistic nature. It is now time to bring what we've learned home to the community of Framingham and put it into actions and words in any way we can. I can't wait to see what this group can and will still accomplish after we land in Logan!

Daniel Larrivee
Class of 2017

Thank you

This week has been  one of the most memorable  weeks I have ever had.  I got to put on weather  proof  styrofoam insulation wrap around a house and I also for the first time used a nail gun and painted a house that will become a home for a wonderful family.  I got to participate in activities, I also met new and awesome people I other wise never would have communicated with at school. i got to push myself  and did things that I thought I would never  be able to accomplish and alone the way i made great connections my experience here in Oklahoma and with ASB is one I will alway cherish. Thanks everyone. Best wishes to all the ASB participants. 

Korpo Hiamah 
2015

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's Build Something Together

So as many people know, I have been feeling pretty low lately, bogged down with health problems and daily stresses. There have been multiple points in which I have been worried about my ability to contribute or even attend this trip. But being on it has been such a rejuvenating experience for me. On the worksite I finally feel like myself. It's been two months since I have felt the energy to throw myself into the things I love and being here and with these people has been such a mood lifter for me. I have more to focus on than my own health issues and personal problems. I was encouraged a lot to stay home but I really thing that there isn't a better place for me to be except right here. Sitting on my couch may have rested my body but it never would have inspired my soul like spending time with these amazing people, encouraging people and doing the incredible work that we are doing. I am feel like I can do anything right now. At the end of the day, my body is so drained that I think to myself "How am I going to get myself up those stairs" and then I remember I'm building a fucking house right now. Nothing can stop me.

Ali McGrath

Junior

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kaylee Brazell 2017

Hey ASBers! Its Monday the third day of the trip! I am having so much fun and am making great friendships. I think you all are amazing! I started writing my journal on the plane, so I thought I would tell you about my first highlights of the trip. "The airport was fun because of the quoting of Bridesmaids and creating fake conversations with strangers walking by....We are experiencing a little turbulence and by a little I mean scary hand holding with Elizabeth." The quote of the day for that day was when Elizabeth asked for my Fiber One bar and said "It says a Fiber One for a Reason, do not eat two it will not end well." I also journaled about church on Sunday which was awesome because they sang all songs I knew which is strange because my family rarely goes to church. It reminded me of the great times with my sister at church. I cannot wait to start working and make some more ASB memories.

Too Much

Wow. It amazes me that we've only been here for two days. I feel like we've accomplished so much and we haven't even started building yet. It's so cool how we're all so eager to work that everyone is constantly offering to help and do things for people.

Any who, I've felt especially inspired the past 24 hours and I'm not so good with the stereotypical journaling concept, but rather the "word vomit" strategy. Just a warning, this is a work in progress. And to remind anyone who reads this later on, we went to the Bombing Museum today and it was... well it was too much at some points, but it was worth it.
*trigger warning*

Too Much

You're going about your routine day, when
not 3 hours in and a blast that knocks you down
comes from nowhere. And
all you can do is scream and run and try your hardest
to not make eye contact with
the lifeless surrounding you;
a growing population you do not want to join.
But maybe you make it outside and
maybe there is a breeze you did not believe
would hit your skin again and
for a moment there is relief.
But then there are more yells
and pain emanates the atmosphere.
There were jobs and daycares and
children and parents and
you are still breathing, but part of you did not survive.
It is dead with your coworkers who 
never made it off the 5th floor,
dead with the strangers only there for a meeting,
and dead with the babies who parents 
were in too much of a hurry to hug them goodbye.
It is gone and buried in the rubble and you will not find it with a pulse.
It may be recovered someday, but
you will have to wait 41 days to find out if it is yours.


Kimmi Awiszio
Class of 2015

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Sudden Invitation

I came onto Alternative Spring Break as a very last minute addition to the team. It was all incredibly bittersweet, because my oncoming signified the unfortunate circumstance that another deserving person was unable to attend this thought-provoking trip. Although it is only day two, I have tried incredibly hard thus far to form bonds with those I do not know and to make my presence count. I'm no Kendall Valente, but I can sure as heck try my hardest to make those around me feel comfortable and valued as an ASB member, and more importantly, as a person.

There is no doubt that bonding while performing service is an astounding thing. Doing what you love, loving what you do, and doing it all with those you can call your friends sounds like a dream come true. However, I am also cognizant that these bonds do not define the trip we are taking. The bonds serve as a guide, a sense of comfort. The true definition of our trip is the work we are doing, and what we take away from our work. If we look back at this trip and think of only the memories we made with ASB members, what have we really accomplished? Sure, we made new friends, but what about the act of serving? We all have different takeaways in situations, but overall the crux of our ASB trip is to give back to others and to show the world that there is a helping hand present where one may least expect it.

We all aim to make connections and form meaningful and lasting bonds. This will (no doubt) continue once we return from Oklahoma and resume our "normal" lives. For now, let us pick up that hammer, rake, shovel, or paintbrush. I know while I am here the takeaway every day won't be "Who did I hang out with today?", but rather "What sort of positive impact did I make on others' lives today?".

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" 
-Margaret Mead 

-Kevin Long
Class of 2014