Monday, March 25, 2013

Melissa Skerry-ASB 2013 experience of a lifetime

*originally written on trip*

Marty showed everyone the trueness of loving what you do, and not sticking to something just for money. He taught us all the importance of ecorestoration, and we even helped him build up a shoreline for a beach in need-this required us to bag bags upon bags (that were made of chicken wire) of oyster shells, which he would use as safe and natural way to rebuild what the hurricanes had eroded on beaches around Deer Island. At the close of the day with him, he said he was blown away by our enthusiasm as a group, and gave each and everyone of us a warm hug, and a thank you that meant the world. Had we not helped him that day, his work would of been pushed back till about October! Seeing how all that help really made a difference for this kind hard working man, made us all feel amazing at the end of the day.

When we all thought we were heading home to shower, we fell asleep with the sweet dreams of showers and naps-little did we know that our trip leaders had something up their sleeves. We woke up to find that we were all still in the van, and that we had just passed the state line of Mississippi, into Louisiana. Confused at first, we all didn't know what to expect-we were told nothing, so we just sat tight in our seats, and waited till we approached our destination. We were all delightfully pleased to see that the leaders had taken us to the habitat for humanity development where tons of houses built by volunteers lined the streets. One house in particular stood out for the seniors on this special surprise trip to New Orleans-and it was a finished home, that they had started to builed 2 years prior. Seeing the passion and emotion come over their faces, to see that they had been apart of something that changed a life, was breath taking. We were all teary eyed, and hugging the seniors who were also crying out of joy and sadness, that this was the last trip that they would be able to serve others. After we all hugged, and were told stories of that ASB 2011 trip, the leaders jumped in  and said "Get in the vans, we are going to New Orleans!" the day had been amazing already, but to be surprised again with that? now that was something else. We experienced the emotion and joy of volunteering all day, then got to enjoy and learn a little about New Orleans-and enjoy a cultural treat, of Jambalaya and other food of New Orleans.

A lot happened on this trip, from being 'stranded" on an island, to holding on as I explored the everglades, looking for Alligators. Everything on this trip was a learning experience, and something that I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life. My heart will always have an entire section devoted to my ASB 2013 family. Before the trip, I had no real friends at FSU and even considered transferring-but after spending a year fundraising, and having meals with these wonderful people, I am happy to say that I have made 29 wonderful friends who I will keep with me to infinity and beyond. I reccommend that everyone apply for this opportunity of a lifetime-helping to make a difference, learning new things, and making new friends along the way-how can you say no to that?!

-Melissa Skerry
class of 2014

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