ASB – Nashvegas

Dear Hunter,

Saturday, December 10th, Auburn, Alabama. Eleven strangers gather at the intramural fields, exhausted from finals and unsure of the journey that lies ahead of them. Will these people be awkward? Will we have fun? Is this all worth it? Soon to find out, and statistically speaking, this would be one of the greatest, most rewarding weeks of our young (or old) collegiate careers. Here are some of our highlights.

We started off the week with some bad news. Our friend Jack announced to the group that, “in case anyone didn’t know, Santa Claus isn’t real.” So that was a bummer, but life goes on.

On the brighter side, our first day of service was with the Nashville Rescue Mission at their campus for women. The greatest lesson we took away from that day was realizing that no matter what someone has been through in their past, it is never too late to make changes for the better. We worked with some incredible women that were a living example of this. They were instantly willing to share their stories with us, demonstrating trustworthiness and dedication. When we volunteered at the campus for men, they were also just as willing to accept us into their space and tell us about their journeys. Chris, one of our new friends from the kitchen, was in an interesting position because he and his wife were in the program AND they have three children. Chris goes above and beyond because instead of relaxing and watching TV in his free time, he spends every possible moment learning a new skill or trade so he can be the most prepared for after he graduates and goes back to the real world. He is taking full advantage of the opportunity that he has been given and it is something that we all admire him greatly for.

Later on back at the church, we all participated in a Too Nice Anonymous meeting. Apparently everyone in our group is “too nice”, who knew that was even a thing.

At Second Harvest Food Bank, our time was split between sorting, packaging, and the freezer. Limbs were damaged by frozen meats in the process. Over the span of two days, we provided over 20,000 pounds of food to feed over 100,000 people. That is something that we can hang our hats on for sure, but more than anything it opened our eyes to the immense need that exists ¬†in all of our communities across the entire country. Our work has only just begun, and we are all so grateful for this experience and the way it opened our eyes in different ways than before. As Harley would say, “this experience has just been such as great experience.”

Saturday, December 17th, Nashville, Tennessee. With one group member already home in New York, the remaining ten of us are leaving this wonderful city with sad faces because our time here has come to an end but also with fuller hearts.¬†Although Macie didn’t eat a vegetable all week and four of our members may or may not have gotten food poisoning, we are all walking away as better, smarter, more humble students. If we left half the impact on the people we served this week as they left on us, then we did a pretty good job.

Also shoutout Hunter.

Sincerely,

Your Walmart-loving, ice cream-eating, Mafia-playing ASBachelors and ASBachelorettes

P.S.

We’re fine.

 

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ASB – Nashvegas

Day 5: Children’s Healthcare

 

img_7908Children’s Healthcare affects not only the Auburn community but worldwide. While most of the Auburn students that attended this trip have a medical related major, each student benefitted from this week. Not only did each member learn so much from working at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, but being able to stay and also work at Camp Aldersgate, a special needs camp, revealed to us that little things can make such a big difference. One member believed that this ASB trip would just be a cool experience to get to work with children in a clinical setting. However, this ASB experience turned into meeting some of the greatest, most hard-working people at Auburn, staying at a truly brilliant special needs camp, helping amazing kids and staff while working at an unbelievably fantastic hospital. ASB is an incredible investment of time, energy, and money to help build critical skills, create incredible memories, and begin lifelong friendships. ASB has been amazing every step of the way and the members of Children’s Healthcare could not be happier to be part of an organization that encourages personal growth of students by contributing to different communities worldwide. This week has reminded us that Children’s Healthcare is not just about a difficult diagnosis or treatment, but about a family. Something as simple as crayons and purple glue reminds us that the smallest of moments can make the biggest of differences, and that is definitely one thing out of many that we will all take back to Auburn. This ASB trip to Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has shown each one of us the importance of family-centered healthcare and the value of preventative medicine. By doing so, you are not only treating injuries and/or diseases but also teaching families to lead safer and healthier lives. Working to fulfill ACH’s mission this week alongside 12 other passionate individuals has proven to be both enjoyable and meaningful as these memories will last a lifetime.

Day 5: Children’s Healthcare

Day 1: Destination- Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida; Objective- Animal Welfare

Log: Twelve College Students on a mission. That mission- Animal Welfare. We, though weakened by finals week, have braved the harsh winter morning and have embarked on the journey to the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. Despite the posing threats of receiving our final grades, we, armed with snacks, phone chargers, and Christmas mix tapes, have set off to fight against the commercial use and private ownership of exotic wild cats. After seven long hours of High School Musical Sing-Alongs and cramped quarters, our adventurous souls reached our destination. We arrived at our modest quarters and turned in for the night.

 

This morning, we prepared for our day and set off to the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary. A giant stone wall stood between us and over seventy lions, tigers, cougars, and other beautiful wild felines. We were greeted by a local intern who guided us back to a small residence hall where we would begin our tasks. For the majority of the morning, we painted the walls of this small building that was used to house different interns at the sanctuary. Around mid-day, we gathered around the porch for some grub before continuing our job.

About an hour before dusk, the local intern took us through a personal guided tour where we experienced the beauty of the exotic felines who roamed this land. The beauty of these majestic beasts was breath taking. Each feline had its own name, story, and personality. Though safely contained in their massive enclosures, we viewed each cat with caution and respect. After our delightful tour, we were led back to the massive gate and returned to our quarters to devour our dinners and prepare ourselves for the next day. We only hope to continue to assist the staff of the Big Cat Rescue in any way we can as a simple step to ending the private ownership and commercial use of the beautiful creatures.

Day 1: Destination- Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida; Objective- Animal Welfare

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 7:

playground

March 18, 2016

Today was our last work day of the trip before we left. We worked with the Alabama group today, for the first time all week. We stopped by the Habitat for Humanity office for a tour first thing. A couple of the guys who had been on this trip before had actually helped roof the place a few years earlier. They were so proud of their work.

We spent the day at a park repainting fences, benches, bathrooms, and playground. With Auburn, Alabama, and the local high school Habitat for Humanity group we were able to get a lot done very fast. We took a short break halfway through to hike in the creek below. It was beautiful with the little waterfalls and rock formations, like fairies lived there.

It was satisfying to stand back and see all the fresh paint and cleanliness of the park. Our group went to stop for milkshakes on the way back.

For dinner we went back to a community church, where we also played pool and ping pong. We had to say goodbye to Momma T, who had been all our coordinator throughout the week.

We spent our last night at the drive-in movie theater!! We saw a double feature of The Revenant and Deadpool. And got popcorn of course! Alabama met us there and somehow those 18 students watched it from 2 vans.

We returned around midnight, cleaned and said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful trip, where we met some amazing people and new friends. This was my first mission trip, and I loved being able to step outside myself to do good, and experience the how wonderful that feeling is.

 

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 7:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 6:

concernMarch 17, 2016

On St. Pats Day we went to the Christian Center for Concern to help them out with a few projects. We painted and cleaned shelves, laminated, dusted, and organized. The center was much like a Goodwill, but run by volunteers from a local church.

We managed to find a few books and things we wanted to take home, which were generously given to us!

We left for lunch at the community center, and when we came back we organized canned and boxed food for a new pantry section of the store. So many green beans.

We went from there to the local elementary school to help the kids with their homework and play with them outside. I played basketball with some of the boys, and by the end we had taught them a little about team spirit and passing the ball. It was a blast.

We had dinner back at camp and told a few scary storied over fried chicken and mashed potatoes. We quickly finished our bench, and wrote “warm and fuzzy” letters for each other to open when we returned.

 

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 6:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 5:

March 16, 2016

Today was our frrreeee dayyyy!!!

We woke up a little late and then drove to Dismal’s Canyon about an hour away. We took several flights of stairs to get into the low system of caves and creeks. There were a few manmade bridges and stepping stones, but the park was wild and beautiful. Taylor and Matt led us (tried to) but we ended up going way off the map. Takkia was not a fan of hiking and after her shoe got swallowed by a mud pit she turned back right away! As we heard she fell a few more times on the way back. She was so good-spirited about it. The rest of us climbed some massive boulders and wandered under waterfalls.

When we finally found our way back, we ate our packed lunch of sandwiches while sunbathing and looking at the view.

When we got back from our free day, we napped or hammocked and hung out with good conversations.

We went to dinner at a small community church that served us these massive baked potatoes and all kinds of dessert. Super satisfying. Then we played dodgeball with the high school youth group.

We painted our beautiful Auburn themed bench when we returned. It is for a charity auction at the end of the week, and I’d like to think it’d go for a bit.

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 5:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 4:

tankMarch 15, 2016

Today we volunteered at a local park to clean it up after flood damage. We spent the morning painting the brick walls in 3 bathrooms white, while receiving plenty of free candy and soda from the snack bar. We even found a tank “prop” in the middle of the park.

In the afternoon we cleaned up a couple baseball fields and power-washed the dugouts. We were done early, and it felt good to see what we had done for the community.

When we got back we went out to dinner at the amazing Aroma’s cafe! I learned scalloped potatoes are amazing, and that we can clean up pretty good.

A few of us sat and talked on the trampoline when we got back. I think we had the best conversations of the trip. And it was awesome to feel so young again!

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 4: