By Lauren Smith and Marissa Morrissette
President and Vice President of Reality Check, respectively
We all woke up this morning bright eyed and ready to get work done. Today we felt an even greater bond. There was something very special about the group that went this year. Most of the people were brand new to this experience. It was like putting 24 strangers together and having them get to know each other from scratch. It was so great watching everyone progress together as a group. Before we went off to our work sites, the head of United Saints, Daryl, gave us some great final words to end the week with about how volunteering is important and how we can make a difference. It was very rewarding and humbling to know that by doing the little tasks we do, we still make a big difference. Today Ian’s and Sarah’s group went to Pop’s house to finish up the last bit of work needed there and Courtney’s and Maya’s group went to Mr. Steven’s and Mr. Morris’ house.
Mr. Steven and Mr. Morris brought doughnuts in the morning, and we got to work on siding on the house. Some people teared down the old siding, others hung up new ones and some people painting the newly hung siding a pretty light shade of yellow. It was a big assembly line that we had going the whole day. To our surprise, Mr. Morris grilled for us at lunch. He had hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, baked beans and potato salad. During lunch, the group heard stories of Mr. Steven and Morris and their families about how their experience was with Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Steven brought out albums of pictures and they got to look through them and see how much damage and pain that Katrina brought to the city. At Pop’s house, it was a race for us to finish up the house. What a great last day it was that we were actually able to accomplish our goal and finished up all of the house work that needed to be done for the site. We had a lot of team work going on with some doing cocking, finishing siding, painting the siding and finishing painting on the front porch. We had a bright sunny day for last work day in New Orleans and had a lot of fun accomplishing our goal.
While everyone raced to get showered, we had a special night planned. First was a reflection that was led by Mark. This reflection is such a great take away for everyone on the trip. What Mark explained to everyone is basically that we would be making a brown bag of love to keep. Each person has a brown bag that is theirs. Everyone on the trip writes a small note to each other explaining what they learned about that person or something positive they want to share with that person. It is such a great pick-me-up on a rough day back at school. After reflection finished, we headed to our dinner spot for the night, Poppy’s Crazy Lobster. The restaurant is well known for their seafood and was featured on the Food Network. There were no complaints and no full plates left once we finished our meals. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of love filling the restaurant. Later that night, some people went to Café du Monde again, others went souvenir shopping in the French Quarter and some other people hit up Bourbon Street. It was a last night to remember for many years to come!
~ Lauren and Marissa