Is it really Day 5?

It’s hard to believe we’re five days into such a formative, impactful experience like an ASB trip. Here’s an update of what’s been going down in the Big Easy. Our group has been split into two sub-groups since Monday. One group has been working in LaPlace/Reserve, LA. The home in which we’ve been working was damaged by eight inches of water. A woman, who just took a second job, has two boys, and was forced to move out of her house because everything that touched the ground was destroyed. It’s hard to imagine what I’d lose if anything that touched the floor had to be trashed. The damaged sheetrock has been replaced from waist-level down. This requires us to match the textured upper wall to the new sheetrock, which sounds easy – it’s not! We then have to mud and prime the point where the walls meet so that we can add a chair rail in the middle such that we can hide the seam. Our site supervisor, Adam, is grateful for our help because our work saved him two weeks of stuff he would have had to do by himself.

The other group has been and will continue working at a house in Arabi, LA in the east New Orleans area. Our site supervisor, J.P., has been an interesting man from whom to learn. He knows so much about construction and shares great stories about his life experiences and his family in Ethiopia. At that site, we’re hanging doors, trimming doors and windows, mudding walls, cleaning up the yard, and painting the walls and ceilings. It’s tiresome work and we’re all much more sore than we were Monday morning. It’s worth it.

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Right now, we’re all adding each other on GroupMe, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This is one of the few times you can be really social and everyone be on their phones in the same room. Make sure to follow our album on Facebook!

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Is it really Day 5?

Easing into the Big Easy

Day One:

Residents of New Orleans have been recovering from the devastating effects of hurricanes and storm damage again and again for years. Hurricane Katrina’s toll –seven years after landfall – can still be seen in the area surrounded our housing site, Camp Restore. Houses that were rebuilt following the damage now sit on foundations that allow water to drain. At the intersection, a home still bears a faded red “X” marking a property condemned. The wall bordering the church basketball court bears a clear blue line showing how high floodwaters rose.Café du Monde

Caleb can't handle the spicy jambalaya
Caleb can’t handle the spicy jambalaya

When we entered downtown New Orleans, it was easy to forget the events have damaged the town so many times. The Crescent City remains a vibrant area, now accentuated with the glow of Christmas lights in Jackson Square.Christmas trees and fleurs-des-lis

We passed a gaggle of Santa and Misses Clauses along the way to Bubba Gump Shrimp. The tourist trap/Forrest Gump restaurant was an excellent place to watch the presentation of the Heisman memorial trophy and watch a screening of ESPN’s “You Don’t Know Bo”, about Auburn’s greatest athlete, Vincent “Bo” Jackson. Beignets from Café du Monde and a jaunt along the river were enough to make us all realize how tired final exams and the trek down from the Plains had left us. Group pic at the basin of the Mississippi River

We retired to Camp Restore with our new friends from Mount Aloysius College and called it a night.

Day Two: 

Our “fun” day came early this trip: we spent our Sunday exploring New Orleans in the day time. After breakfast at Camp Restore we carpooled to the Aquarium of the Americas! Otters, jellies, penguins, stingrays, and sharks were an awe to get to see.

Aquarium of the Americas
Aquarium of the Americas

The insectarium afterwards left some participants’ skin crawling, but we had fun all the same. Lunch at Riverwalk gave us the chance to listen to Santa and his merry elves greeting guests and playing Christmas music. Our trip advisor Caleb was a magician’s lovely assistant in Jackson Square.

Jackson Square
Jackson Square

We also toured the local zoo and got up-close-and-personal with some frisky giraffes.

Giraffes! Ahh!
Giraffes! Ahh!
Cutest kid ever? Yes.
Cutest kid ever? Yes.

The day’s activities left us pretty wiped, so we returned to Camp Restore and napped until a delicious dinner, prepared by some of our very own. As I write this, we’re locked in a fierce 4 square match with our friends from Mount Aloysius, but I think we’re winning. We’re excited to start our service tomorrow morning. Four of us will be gutting a house in rural Louisiana while the rest work with the St. Bernard Project in downtown New Orleans

Easing into the Big Easy

Winter 2012: Trip Kickoff

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Our Winter Break trips leave today! We have trips traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Nicaragua. Our participants will be blogging throughout their trips. If you want to follow a certain trip you can click on the following tags for each trip:

  • Chattanooga: Ecology Preservation, Chattanooga, Winter 2012
  • Little Rock: Pediatric Patient Care, Little Rock, Winter 2012
  • New Orleans: Hurricane Relief, New Orleans, Winter 2012
  • Nicaragua: Community Development, Nicaragua, Winter 2012

You can also sign up to receive notifications of new posts by email on the right sidebar.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@AUService), Instagram (AUService), and like us on Facebook (Auburn Center for Community Service). All of these accounts will be updated throughout the trips!

Winter 2012: Trip Kickoff

Winter 2012: Trainings Complete

Yesterday, we had our third and final official training for Winter and MLK trips. Trips have met on three Sunday’s for a couple hours to prepare for the upcoming trips.

At our first training on September 23, all trips met as a group to learn about ASB’s history, mission, and values. We also discussed Auburn’s Common Book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (check it out- it’s awesome!). We then broke into our trips to meet one another and fill out some paperwork.

Participants lead their blindfolded partners through a “Mine Field”

At our second training on October 7, each trip participated in four team building activities. These activities help us bond as a group, get to know each other, and learn how to work together.

Participants try to save beans from the “black hole”

At our third training, each trip met as a group to learn more specifics. Our Site Leaders educated us about our issue, host site, and location. Each trip will meet again informally to tie up any loose ends and discuss last minute details before leaving.

Stay tuned for updates from each trip during Winter Break, December 8-16, and during MLK Weekend, January 18-12!

Winter 2012: Trainings Complete

Leadership Spotlight: Dillon Casey and Lauren Gilmore

 

Learn about our Winter Site Leaders for Community Development in Nicaragua, Dillon and Lauren:

Dillon Casey

Class of 2013

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Major: Biomedical Sciences

Favorite Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip

Lauren Gilmore

Class of 2014

Hometown: Madison, AL

Major: Pre-Pharmacy

Pool or Beach: Beach

Why did you choose your trip issue?

Dillon: I chose my trip issue because it gives my trip the opportunity to actually go out into a community and serve that community through hard work. Community development and construction means getting your hands dirty but actually building something that will have a lasting impact on people’s lives.

Lauren: I, along with Dillon, chose our trip issue because we wanted to volunteer internationally and do manual labor. We felt it really made an impact on the group last year and bonded us.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

Dillon: I am most looking forward to getting out of the Auburn bubble and living in a Spanish-speaking country. I love speaking Spanish but I more so love how people in Central America treat their priorities. They put an enormous emphasis on love and caring for one another. They do not get distracted by technology, involvement, or academics and actually focus on creating lasting impressions with the people they meet and know.

Lauren: I am most looking forward to meeting the people that we are serving in Nicaragua, making a difference in their lives, and experiencing their culture.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

Dillon: Having the opportunity to go out of the country through an organization sponsored by Auburn University is a huge blessing. It gives my parents peace of mind about my safety. It is also very appealing to me because it is unique in the sense that I get to spend my personal break to help and serve people in need that I would have never met if ASB did not exist.

Lauren: I first did ASB because I had never been on a service trip before and wanted to serve internationally.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Dillon: Community Development Winter 2011 to Ecuador

Lauren: Community Development Winter Break 2011 in Ecuador

Dillon in Ecuador during Winter Break 2011

What is your favorite ASB memory?

Dillon: My favorite memory is getting to venture into the markets of Ecuador during our downtime after a hard days work.

Lauren: My favorite ASB memory is when the priest in Ecuador blessed all of our members and prayed for us. It was a really emotional moment for the entire group.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

Dillon: Humility is a crucial aspect of life that is under appreciated and widely absent from life in the United States. Seeing the way people live in other countries is eye-opening and it allows a person to learn an immense amount about themselves and about the people around them. The experience of loving and serving in another country is invaluable and can really spark personal growth and maturity in aspects such as humility, honesty, and patience.

Lauren: I have learned that giving your time to serve others, even in the smallest way, can make huge changes in their lives and that it is so worth it.

Lauren in Ecuador during Winter Break 2011

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

Dillon: ASB has impacted my college career by giving me the chance to serve. ASB has provided me with the opportunity to not waste a week of my winter break just sitting at home and vegging out after exams before Christmas break. ASB has also helped me develop lasting relationships with Auburn students and faculty as well as families in Ecuador. ASB has helped me grow and mature in ways I would have never thought possible before college and I am grateful for the hard work that the Center for Community Service puts into the organization to provide students with an incredible opportunity to volunteer.

Lauren: ASB has made me become a more giving and caring person and has broadened my horizons.

 

Leadership Spotlight: Dillon Casey and Lauren Gilmore

Leadership Spotlight: Whitney Esdale

Whitney Esdale

Position: Winter Break Site Leader for Pediatric Patient Care in Little Rock, Arkansas

Class of 2014

Hometown: Montgomery, AL

Major: Biomedical Sciences and Spanish

Favorite Candy: Swedish Fish

Why did you choose your trip issue?

I chose Arkansas Children’s Hopsital as my trip site because it combines the two things I am most passionate about: children and medicine.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

I am looking forward to the whole week in general but I am especially excited about getting to know the participants on my trip better and getting to spend time with the children.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

I had seen posters for ASB around campus freshman year and it looked really fun. I started to look into it and knew it was something I wanted to do. I could have never imagined that a week with a group of strangers was going to turn into one of the best memories and give me some of my best friends.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Children with Terminal Illnesses Spring 2011 in Kissimmee Florida and Affordable Housing Spring 2012 in Baldwin County, Alabama

Whitney working on a house in Foley, Alabama during Spring 2012

What is your favorite ASB memory?

Last year we worked on two houses for a week with Habitat for Humanity, and at the end of the week the families got to see their houses. I specifically remember one mother’s face and how excited she was to see a house of her own. I will not ever forget that moment because we were all able to see the difference we made in that short week.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

I have learned a variety of things on the ASB trips I have been on but I think the most important lesson I learned was that a small group of people really can make a difference.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

ASB has definitely had the biggest impact on me throughout my college experience. I would have missed out on so many amazing memories and great friendships if it were not for ASB. It has shown me how important it is to care about the people around you, whether that be locally, nationally, or internationally.

Leadership Spotlight: Whitney Esdale

Leadership Spotlight: Olivia Townsend

Olivia Townsend

Position: Winter Break Site Leader for Ecological Preservation in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Class of 2013

Hometown: Fernandina Beach, FL

Major: Public Administration and Political Science and Nonprofit Studies

Pool or Beach: Pool

Why did you choose your trip issue?

I chose to do an ecological preservation trip because of my love for the outdoors.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

I am looking forward to the trip to Chattanooga because I get to share two of my favorite things, ASB and nature. Getting to do service in a fabulous place like Chattanooga is going to be so much fun.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

I first got involved with ASB my sophomore year because it was one of the first organizations I saw on campus that really caught my attention. I have always been interested in service and ASB was the perfect fit for me.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Olivia in Punta Gorda during Winter Break 2011

Affordable Housing Winter 2011 in Punta Gorda, Florida and Community Development Winter 2010 in Ecuador

What is your favorite ASB memory?

My favorite ASB memory is meeting a boy in Ecuador whose name translated to reindeer in English.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

The most interesting thing I have learned on an ASB trip is that when someone is applying for a home through Habitat for Humanity, they have to go through an extensive process and review system. I did not know it was so hard to qualify for a home.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

ASB has really helped me grow as a person and I would tell everyone in college that they should apply to do any type of service.

Leadership Spotlight: Olivia Townsend