Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bringing it home.

This trip has allowed me to become a more socially conscious person and a more veritable leader. I have met so many amazing people in Indiana. They have shared their passions and their hardships, and I am grateful for it. They have changed the way I see service and my community. I could not thank them enough for the experience I have had. 
I feel obligated to give back to our community in a way I did not feel before the trip, and I have found an outlet to express that passion. My sorority has recently adopted Rare Breed as our local philanthropy. In addition to contributing financially, I would like to see my sisters volunteer at Rare Breed and have a true understanding of the need that teens in Springfield have for this program and how the facility benefits the community. I can see that for some, there is a disconnect between service hours and contributing to the community. They only do it out of obligation. I do not want that to be the case for my organization. Being a leader in a new and growing organization, I recognize the potential to start something different and more meaningful. To have my sisters share in a true passion for service and the Springfield community would be incredible. I am excited to return to campus and share my experience with my chapter.

Ellen Herbig

Friday, March 14, 2014

Immersion Trip 2014- Savanna Stanley

Week in Indy 
I honestly really enjoyed this trip so much. Going into this trip I thought we would just be volunteering at a farm and that's it. But little did I know, I learned so much more about myself than I would have imagined. I had so much fun getting to know all of the interesting and diverse people on the trip and how we all came together as a family. I really loved working with Global Peace Initiatives and learning from Linda. Linda had so much knowledge and passion about this organization and I loved listening to her. As an agriculture major, I always thought I wanted to go into the fancier part of the agriculture business and make the big bucks. But after seeing what Linda does for the community and the impact she makes on others, makes me consider all of the possibilities I have with an agriculture degree. Working with Rebuilding The Wall was such a moving experience because Mary's story touched all of us and made us all realize just how good we have it. I reflected on my ex-boyfriends story and related that back to the families and children we were helping by painting that house. I know it's not always esay for families to get back on their feet and although I've never expierenced difficult times personally, I understand the pain and hurt families feel. I also took away how thankful and blessed I am to have grown up with the family I did and with the support, time and money that were poured into my childhood. I would never be where I am today without my parents support and just imagining kids without any support is just heartbreaking and that's why organizations like Lindas, Marys, and Brooks are so important. Working in Brooks church on Thursday made me analyze my life on a deeper more religious level and I was thankful for that chance. Religion has always been a situation where I had the power to choose what I believed in and cleaning that big church just made me rethink a lot of things. This expierence was importan for my conscience and now I have a better understanding in what my religious beliefs are and I am grateful for that. Overall this week in Indianapolis was amazing. I learned so much, matured, and I really think I will take a lot away from this expierence. 

Not ready to leave! - Mary Keathley

    At the beginning of the trip, I did not know what to expect. I didn't know much about the social issue and didn't know anyone but one person. I was excited to learn and ready to work though! Throughout the week I had no idea how much this trip would impact me. 
    To start with the people; I would have never thought a group like this would get along so well. I feel like we have all become such great friends in a matter of six days. I have made some memories I will never forget. All of us are able to laugh any where we go, but can also hold an important conversation during reflections. We understand each other and what each and every person is passionate about. We are so diverse and come from all different places; that is what makes us mesh so well. We learn from one another. I can't wait to keep in contact with everyone and hang out outside this trip. 
    When working at the service sites, I would have never thought I would have had the experience I did. Like I said earlier, I had no expectations. When we first got to the fair grounds, I was hesitant to start working out in the cold weather. Now I would get up at 6am and do it all again if I got the chance. I learned so much talking to Linda. She taught us all about the entire process and really aloud us to have a good time while working. When we went to ReBuilding The Wall, Mary's story was truly an inspiration. I was aware of some of the things going on in the city, but hearing a perspective from inside the community totally changed my views. Working in Brook's church was fun and relaxing! Even though cleaning was a very indirect service, it made me think more into the entire process of serving. Us cleaning that church, could have put a smile on over 100 people, and to me that's what matters. 
    I really enjoyed this entire week. I think I have made some life long friends and learned some life lessons. I hope everyone had a great week! Love you all! 

Mary Keathley 

Goodbye Indy - Makaila Schieber

It has been one of the most inspiring and amazing weeks I have ever had. We were fortunate enough to work with some of Indianapolis' most generous and hard-working people. Working with Linda Proffitt at Global Peace Initiatives, Mary Provence at Rebuilding the Wall, and Brooks Barrick at Olive Branch Christain Church provided us with an insight into some of the great service work that is being done in Indy. All have different areas of Indy that they focus on, and each has a very different way of serving their community, but what I found is that each one of them took pride in their community and worked to make it better. 

This week has taught me that there is no one way to volunteer and no matter how small the work may seem, it really is the little things that count. Coming back to Springfield, I am bringing back a new perspective on people and how I relate to them. This week opened my mind up to so much. I hope to come back and tackle some of the issues that we learned about this week because there is social injustice everywhere, including Springfield. 

I was also honored to serve the city of Indianapolis alongside some of the funniest, craziest, and most kind-hearted people I have ever met. I made 11 new friends this week while exploring a city that I had never been to before. I am sad to leave Indy, but I am proud to say that we have made our mark and helped a city with a lot of need. 

So much fun alternative trip-- Boun Sengpraseuth

The immersion trip semi elevated my understanding of how volunteering contributes to helping the community. I learned to really empathize with the leaders of different organization. In other words, listening to individuals stories and the obstacles that they had face allowed me to really visualize their situation. Doing different repetitive tasks, and "living" their life have gave me understanding because I able to feel the hard work that goes into the mudan jobs. For example, going to Linda's farm and racking the land all day, knowing that she relies on volunteers to help her get different tasks done gave me a perspective that volunteer contributes by helping the organization to regulate which then helps the community by distributing food, soil or house.  I didn't really gain much experience in volunteering, besides learning how to paint. I wish that there were more people interactment. I was hoping to go to a homeless shelter, or even a school to talk, or feed the people. All and all the most that I can get out from this trip is questioning what I really want to do in my future. For some odd reason, this trip had trigger on what I really want to do in my life and getting to see the people who developed their own organization and live their life doing this and seeing how happy they are makes me question is it really worth pursuing something that I semi enjoy. I guess I come out from this trip questioning and examining my future decisions. Seeing others loving their jobs and hearing their challenging obstacles makes me wonder. Oh! The group was cool and I am glad we all became friends. All of the people that I had work with, all have such a big hearts and I am quite thankful for that.

Final Night- Aubrey Snedeker

This past week of service has been inspiring and insightful. I have gained a great amount of knowledge about several social issues. This trip consisted of a variety of issues. We learned about health, agriculture, poverty, and sustainability. As a dietetic major learning about agriculture and health was a wonderful experience. I got to see it from another perspective than what I have been used to. I did not realize how much it goes into producing the goods that you desire. I have gained only a small percent of understanding being a farmer but it has inspired me to learn more. I want to become more aware of what all farmers and local business owners go through. When back in Springfield I will be researching and talking to many of them in the area. What was pretty interesting also was that the organization that produced the gardens or homes for people and turned it over to them entirely. They created a sustainable life for their community members that may have not had the best luck or were in the best situations. They provided them a way to get unstuck .The community members who were given the gardens or homes were treated as if they still mattered even though other parts of society may have given up on them. This was incredible to see. Rebuilding the Wall would take not so lovely houses and completely make livable again and work with felons or community members in need to get their credit better  to be able to receive a loan to get the house at a very low price from the organization. Rebuilding the Wall would give the person a job and in return for working for them they would receive a home they helped rebuild. Therefore the member went from homeless and jobless to an employed community member and a home owner. However what most stuck out to me was that all the people who work for Rebuilding the Wall live within 10 blocks of each other. They believe in keeping the organization made of only community members because if the organization is going to make changes in a community they need to live in it and see how it functions on a first hand basis. Overall this trip has been inspiring and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Aubrey Snedeker

A Week in Indy- Emily Cassimatis

This week was the best week I have had since I started college. 
Whether it was working hard on service projects, laughing, or eating, the Indianpolis trip to me was all about connections and relationships. I understand that the trip was supposed to be about agriculture and sustainibility and poverty, but to me those were just basic outlines that the trip fell in to. We did learn about agriculture and sustainibility with Linda Proffitt and we learned about poverty with Mary Province and Brooks Barrick, but it was the relationships that these people made, as well as their personal stories, that really stuck with me. I remember when Mary Province was telling her story about living in the "hood" and how she viewed prostitutes and drug dealers and neighbors and even as friends. This struck a chord with me the most, because I feel as though I have personally fallen victim to judging people based on their social status, and I think we all do. I mean what comes to mind when you think of a homeless person? We think of them as less than us, but the more I heard Mary speak, the more I realized that even though a person may have less than I do, it does not make them less of a person. 
After coming to this realization I started to really listen to the people on this trip with me, because I think when we truly accept those around us, we become more inspired about the things that make them different from us. The people on this trip with me are incredible and unique individuals. They are brilliant and caring and have the most incredible hearts... I mean who would give up their spring break to do a service trip somewhere cold?! 
This group of people has become a group of friends outside of my "usual" 
They have inspired me to be confident in what I do and I know I will be the first to sign up for this trip again next year.