At the beginning of the day, we played a game in which we had to toss a ball to each other while juggling ping-pong balls. It taught us the importance of how life will always have problems and difficulties and we have to be mindful about them. We all struggle with something and this allowed us to really understand that being friends and watching over each other is a very important thing to do.
We were divided into two groups; one went to the Rose Garden in Kentucky and the other went to Mercy at St. John's, the sub sandwich window. The Rose Garden Mission provides food and clothing for the needs of the area while reaching out and supporting young mothers and the unborn. They also have a medical clinic.
Mercy at St. John's is a multi-faceted social service agency. Volunteers serve sandwiches to the homeless and working poor at the window. They also help filing in the offices, unloading trucks, and assist students in their computer classes. The first group had Thomas, Nick, Emily, Tim, and Izzy. The second group contained Stephen, Allie, Sara, Morgan, and Laurie. After that, we went to the convent and ate dinner with the lovely sisters. All the sisters were amazing and had tons of stories to be told. It was truly inspiring to meet them.
Rose Garden – By Izzy Valentin
At the Rose Garden, we met four sisters who showed us around the area. It was slightly unorganized, but once we got working after a while everything made sense. The sisters split us into two. Emily and I placed clothes on the empty shelves as the boys went to the warehouse to clean and sanitize the toys. Then we put bags of food together to give to the people who needed them.
After that Thomas and I sorted and organized baby food. Finally, the sisters had us doing other simple things like vacuuming, sweeping around the building, cleaning rugs, and filling plates with food. The other volunteers kept saying how grateful they were and the sisters kept saying that we were doing a great job. It felt wonderful. It was just amazing to see how many people were there.
The most inspiring part was that children were volunteering and helping us too. They were so cute!
Mercy at St. John's Sandwich Window – By Stephen Carl
Our half of the group served at Mercy St. John's sandwich window and provided many homeless individuals with lunch. It was a wonderful experience and it was really humbling to be able to work with the other volunteers and talk with the customers at the window.
My favorite part of the experience was noticing how polite everyone was. Many of the people would say, “Have a blessed day” and were very courteous in line. It was really amazing to learn about their experiences and stories and to share with them. Today we really learned that no matter what we are going through everybody is equal in the eyes of God and we shouldn’t judge others.
During evening reflection, everyone shared their favorite part of their day and the worst or most challenging part of the day. The focus was built around putting yourself into a child’s state of mind. Children do not care about a person’s race, social class, or ethnicity; they just see that everyone is human.
It is truly challenging for an adult to think like this, so we played a game in which everyone told the same story and each person added one word to the story. You could imagine that the story was pretty crazy but funny. It helped us to get into the mindset of child, and I think we had a successful reflection.