Two years ago I left Daisey Street Louisiana completely unaware of the major changes Alternative Spring Break 2011 would bring to my life. I went to Daisey Street as an Elementary Education student who enjoyed service but never thought about turning that love into a career. It wasn’t until after ASB 2011 that I started to question what I was meant to do in this life, that I started questioning so many different parts of society, and that I started trying to understand the bigger picture. Suddenly I had so many questions and started wondering how I as one person could start coming up with answers to these questions.
Since my first ASB trip so much has changed. I changed my major to Sociology, I made service a bigger part of my life, and have spent every day since this trip thinking of ASB in some way, whether reflecting on the memories from the trip, planning the next ASB, trying to figure out how to turn my passion for service into a career, or simply trying to find ways to help and understand the many problems in society.
As we pulled up to Daisey Street today, two years later, I had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t sit still. I was about to be reunited with a place that I had only worked at for one week yet it changed everything. My heart started to beat faster as we took that right turn. As much as I was having my own moment I knew this was something that ASB 2013 participants could appreciate. I explained to the participants why we had brought them there. While there are days when volunteerism is long, tiring, and tedious, these small acts of giving back can lead to tremendous results. When we left Daisey Street there was only a floor to a house. There were no walls, no roof, hardly a resemblance of a house that would become a home. But today there was a home, there were chairs on the porch, there was a family that lived there. All of those small tasks: hammering nails, leveling out dirt, installing termite shields created this home. The small tasks that can seem pointless are actually just the opposite. They are necessary. I reminded the group that the small acts of volunteerism they have been doing all week: raking leaves, cleaning up a garden, bagging oysters are just the first steps of a journey. While the tasks sometimes seem small, they are necessary. With each small task that gets completed we are helping to make steps towards the bigger picture, even though this bigger picture can be harder to see. But the big picture was right in front of us on Daisey street today.
I feel more fortunate that I can ever explain for having an amazing group of participants, chaperones, and trip leaders who allowed me and other ASB 2011 participants to have this reunion with Daisey Street today. It was a “full circle” moment in my life. How lucky am I to have my first ASB experience combine with my last ASB experience? It was emotional but for all the right reasons. I again cannot explain what this program has done for me and as I explained to the ASB participants not everyone gets the same things out of ASB but as long as they get one thing out of it it has been a success. My hope is that each participant will leave the trip with one thing in their heart and that is the desire to simply help, help in small ways everyday. It is after the trip that the journey to service really begins, if you choose.
Feeling so grateful,
Operations and Education Trip Leader