The entire year has led up to this moment. Fundraising began in May; Amy, Brandon, and I collaborated all summer about locations and organizations; a truly inspiring group of 21 students and 3 chaperones were selected; we got to know more about each other and about the incredible city of Detroit, and now it's here. Alternative Spring Break 2015 is upon us, and I have a thousand feelings about embarking on my last trip.
I've gotten a chance to reflect over the last couple of days about ASB and its undeniable power to change lives. I recently rewatched the post-trip video from each trip I've participated in, which of course led me to do some pretty extreme ugly crying. What's so touching about those videos to me is that they so perfectly illustrate the incredible transformations that occur during ASB. Students' worlds are rocked on this trip; they come back with a wider perspective of the world and how it works. But, most importantly, they return with a clearer sense of what THEY can do to take the world's problems and fix them. They learn that tiny acts of service do matter, that kindness truly can heal the world, and that their network of neighbors is far more expansive than they've ever realized. I can't think of a single other experience that has so thoroughly changed who I am and what I stand for. ASB truly changed my life and the lives of countless others.
My experience in Joplin in 2012 set a fire in me and a determination to ensure this experience for other students. Being a Trip Leader is a completely different perspective than being a participant, but it's rewarding in a whole new way. Seeing a switched flipped in students' minds, watching them absorb their experience, and listening to them reflect on their service makes me so happy for the world, because it's filled with some truly spectacular humans. We need darkness to see the light, and watching these genuine, bright-eyed students approach communities that have experienced hardship truly illuminates the overwhelming presence of good that exists in this world. I cannot wait to see what Detroit has in store for the participants of ASB 2015.
Time and time again, ASB has restored my faith in humanity. Whatever good I have been able to produce has come back to me ten-fold in the most unexpected ways. ASB has given me courage, empathy, and, above all, a purpose. Words can't describe how sad I will be to say goodbye to this program, but I am positive, without a doubt, that ASB will continue to change every life that crosses its path for years and years to come.
More than love,
Tori Dost '15
Operations and Education Trip Leader
Alternative Spring Break 2015