It’s not just about building a house, it’s about building a relationship

By Jon Wolff 

The focus of our group’s reflection time on Monday night was on unity and how our group exemplified a spirit of teamwork and togetherness.  Four rocks from the work site were selected, and a “U” was painted on each rock to  symbolize unity (and as a way of saying “U Rock”). One rock is given to each advisor to present as a reward to the hardest worker, or to someone from each group who best represents unity throughout our time working at the site.

Day 2 — Tuesday

Today was an awesome day all around. Most of our group went to the work site, but there was a group of seven who split off and went to Su Caa De Esperanza to work with some local children and their mothers at this learning program. This group included: Ian McGinnity, Nicole Donaldson, Lauren Smith, Melanie Koster, Marissa Morrisette, and Michelle Godzinski. They worked with two groups of kids — about fifteen 3- and 4-year-olds and a group of five  2- and 3-year-olds.

The Behrend group  helped out in any way possible, but for this group of seven, the day was less work and more play.

The students helped lead the teaching of the alphabet, shapes and colors, and different basic vocabulary. They also played on the playground outside the facility and chased the kids around. They said it was a great experience, culturally, educationally, and inspirationally. They were impressed by the dedication the staff had to the children there. They also remarked how kind and appreciative the mothers and workers were to have them there. The group ended the day by helping prepare little paper Easter baskets with bunny ears on them for the kids to have for their Easter programs.

Back at the job site…
Meanwhile, at the work site, today was all about fixing up all that stuff we demolished yesterday.

We split into small groups of four to five people and tackled a different section of the house. First, we rebuilt the ceiling with drywall, making sure it was as even and perfect as possible. Then, we hung new drywall on the walls. There were some minor setbacks, such as gaping holes in the walls, but they were all handled well and fixed with dedication and teamwork.

Today, the children of the family who lives in the house we are working on came to the job site and interacted with everyone, laughing, talking, and running around blowing bubbles and making today’s atmosphere really upbeat, spirited, and productive.  It was also very culturally rewarding because the kids spoke a lot of Spanish and really showed us what their culture is like.


Nightly reflection

Our reflection Tuesday night was based on culture, and everyone seemed to agree that everything we had experienced that day was culturally enriching and rewarding. We also reflected on the importance of not taking things for granted because we are very privileged and for the most part, free and safe, as opposed to people who need to constantly worry about putting food on the table and about avoiding danger from drug cartels. The reflection was a great way to end the day, and we ended the reflection by doing a “Texas-y” dance and doing the Cotton-Eyed Joe.

Beyond building houses

Today was not just about building a house, but also relationships. Two young boys came over asking for food and the ASB students gave up their lunch for them. We aren’t just building a house, we are building a relationship of service, friendship, faith in each other as a group and between the family we are repairing the house for. We are a family of friends, a family of students and a family that has built a relationship of trust in one another.

As we close for the day we do so with a smile and look forward to the new day.

Until then,


— Jon


2 responses to “It’s not just about building a house, it’s about building a relationship

  1. Kris Motta Torok

    What an amazing job you guys are doing! U Rock! (U all Rock!)

  2. Sandi Jones

    You guys are great. Everyone should be very proud of the job they are doing. Looks like the little kids are having a ball being around the PSB group. Keep up the good work and be safe!!!!

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