By Jon Wolff
Hello friends and family!
I would first like to say, you should be very proud of each and every one of the students on this trip, and, parents, you should feel blessed to have such dedicated and inspiring sons and daughters. They are the foundation for this trip and each and every one of them has become a leader and encourager.
This trip has changed each student, physically and mentally. It has given all of us a deeper apprecation for our normal day lives and for our families who have lead us through life and not given up on us. As the ASB Presdient, I’d like to thank the parents for giving me the chance to meet their student and for allowing them to come on this trip with Penn State Behrend.
After our story ran in The Monitor newspaper down here, we started getting calls from residents asking if they can come to the job site and help out. We have made our mark here in Mission, Texas!
Some of the students went out on the town while other students went to a local fair to ride a few rides and then, they made a stop at IHOP. It was fun and the spontaneous decision to stop and eat made the trip and night on the town enjoyable.
I think I speak for all of us when I say we no longer feel as though we are just 23 students and 4 advisers on this trip. Now, we are a family with a single heartbeat. We function as one and we spend every moment working and bonding together. A lady at IHOP actually stopped the group as we were leaving to ask us what we were doing in Texas. We told her our story and she told one of the ladies that “she couldn’t believe students from college were coming down to help out.”
Early to bed, early to rise…
As we woke up early Wednesday morning, we were welcomed with overcast skies. It wasn’t raining hard, but we were worried that it would prevent us from working on the roof. We left the church, as always every morning, at 7:30 a.m. to get down to the job site at 8:00 a.m. When we got to the job site, it was still overcast, but we all agreed we needed to get it done and right away. We just decided to get to work because nothing was going to prevent us from getting the job done.
We ended up working on one side of the roof until 5:30 p.m. which put us over our normal schedule of being done by 4:00 p.m. We had the option of leaving at 4 p.m., however, the students did not want to leave until they completed one side of the roof. So dinner was delayed and the students that left at 4:00 p.m. to get dinner prepared had some time to relax.
Two of our students, Clifton Graves and Tina Raeke, were the lead workers on the roof. They both had prior experience with roofing, so they motivated everyone and made sure everyone knew what they were doing. If it were not for Cliff & Tina’s hard work, dedication and patience we would not have been as successful with the roof today.
Those students who were not on the roof today were inside the house working on drywall and plastering.
Since the whole group was on site today, everyone got to meet the kids and the mom who live in the house we’re fixing. This bonding time reinforced the relationship between the ASB students and the family.
When the older kids got home from school today, we had a basketball and soccer ball waiting for them that we bought because of one of the children, Luis, said he had a basketball, but it was flat. Steve Galdo came up with the idea of buying a soccer ball and basketball for the kids and having everyone on the ASB trip sign the ball so they’d always remember us.
The group was very thankful when the grandmother (it’s technically her house that we are working on) offered to feed us lunch. She said her brother was a manager for a pizza place so she could get pizza or she would make us fajitas for lunch. We felt blessed and honored that people with hardly anything to give would want to provide us with lunch. We told them it was a fantastic idea and that we would supply silverware and drinks for everyone.
After things were all said and done and before everyone got back to work, the grandmother looked at her grandchildren and said, “Maybe one day you’ll go there (in reference to Penn State Behrend).” That was really great to hear.
Tonight’s reflection was lead by Courtney Smith, the treasurer for Reality Check. It focused on remembrance. It was a picture frame that you could design and put things on to to remember the trip so it was a nice break from talking, and it was a good way to end the day.
Chasity Wilson came up with the idea of buying shoes for the kids which is a fantastic idea since most of the time when we see the kids they don’t have any shoes on. One of our advisors, Maya Pillay, thought we could even take that further and provide some food and toys for the family. She asked the students to give whatever they could give and we raised a total of $400 dollars to go to buy food and other necessities for the family. The group applauded and cried with happiness. Also, Maya suggested that we give some of the hamburgers and hot dogs we have to eat to the family because we had lots of leftovers from previous meals.
Shopping & karaoke tonight
Tonight (Wednesday) we are going out on the town again. Some are going out shopping for the family and others are going to do karaoke.
We look forward to what is in store for us tomorrow and we hope parents and friends see this blog and are as inspired to help out as we are.
On that note, it’s time to stop typing and enjoy the night and bonding that’s in store for the group.
See you tomorrow,
WE ARE PENN STATE