Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Certain Things in Life

When I came to AmeriCorps NCCC I was unsure as to what I wanted to do with my life. Now, with a mere week left in AmreriCorps I am still plagued with this same uncertainty. My mind is constantly buzzing with the same questions – What do I want to go to grad school for? Where do I want to go? Do I even want to go to grad school?

However, I accept this uncertainty because the last ten months in AmeriCorps has made me certain of other things. I am certain that there is nothing better I could have done with this last year of my life. Our last week in New Orleans we got to see Wanda and her family living in the house we framed and wrenched back together during 2nd round. Never before have I really felt like I have made a difference in someone’s life.

I am certain that there exists in my peers the intelligence and motivation to get through the turbulence our generation will face. My fellow Corps members have given me confidence in our generation, that the economic and environmental battles ahead will be no match for this force of change that I have seen all around me. I am certain that service to others is the most important thing in life. This year has shown me an America full of diversity and unnecessary hardship, everywhere around us there are people in need, and every single individual has the power to help. I am certain that everyday of my life from here on will be enriched by this AmeriCorps experience, by my new knowledge ranging from teamwork to dry walling, by my newly found confidence, and by my new family members – the Earth Oneders.

Even though I don’t walk away from AmeriCorps knowing exactly where my next step will land, I know that as I stand right now I stand more strongly, confidently and happily than I have ever stood before. With this sturdy footing I know that my next step can be wherever I want it to be.

~ Katie

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Experience Worth a Thousand Words

We're back in Denver now. It's been cool, crisp and sunny. The mountains are beautiful. I missed fall. It never really felt like autumn in Louisiana. It was always too warm. But here the leaves are off the trees, there's cider and pumpkin pie in the grocerie store and the weather is perfect! We went hiking up into the foothills of the Rockies yesterday. It was gorgous.

As great as it is to be back I definately miss St. Bernard. People keep asking me how my last round was. I don't know how it sum it up. We did so much awesome stuff and met so many great people I can't begin to explain. I tell them about how rewarding the work was and how fun the people are. I tell them about some of the awesome things we did and how it was great to be part of such a loving, caring, hardworking community. I tell them about my homeowner, Harrold Wheat and about Taco Tuesdays and Camp Hope. But often I feel like words don't quite do it. Hearing about Taco Tuesdays isn't the same as being there. Seeing pictures of a finished house isn't the same as finishing a house. So in the end I recomend that everyone experiences the joy of volunteering and the closeness of St. Bernard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Full Circle

Here at The St. Bernard Project everyday is exciting. Everyday I have no idea who will be showing up to volunteer at the house I am supervising. On Monday it was a group from Brooklyn, Tuesday it was a group of genetic researchers from Tulane University, on Wednesday it was a senior class from a private girls high school near by, on Thursday it was a group from Boston, and Friday it was a bus full of Spanish speakers from all over Central America. I did take a lot of Spanish in high school, but unfortunately there was not a chapter on "the construction site", I would have done much better if we had been in a grocery store. With the help of an interpreter I eventually found out that these people I was working with were hand picked to be awarded this three week long trip across the US that they were on. These people helping me drywall a pantry were congresswomen, mayors and founders of non-profits in their countries.

This Monday I find myself working with a couple from California that is celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and I am struggling to keep up with them! Never before have I found myself around such a variety of extraordinary, inspiring people. I feel like I am learning so much from each group that comes in, and I am so honored to be a part of their New Orleans experience.

Two years ago I was a college volunteer gutting a house in New Orleans under the supervision of an AmeriCorps NCCC corps member. It was that experience that made me decide to join AmeriCorps. Now, I am the one in the A leading volunteers, I feel like this story has gone full circle for me. That week trip out here two years ago was life changing for me, and now I get to do my best to send these volunteers home with a similar experience.


Friday, October 31, 2008


The team is currently getting ready to go out together for Halloween. Kate is dressing as a yellow footed rock walby, Stacy is going as a dinosaur, Katie as Zorro, Sam as Indiana Jones, Paige as a princess, Andy as an old man, Mallory as a zebra, and I am going as a tomb raider.

Camp Hope is a buzz with everyone getting dressed. Our dinner crew here dressed up for dinner and got a few laughs. This is our last weekend out here in New Orleans because we leave on Thursday. As the time comes to an end we are becoming a little more sentimental about spending time together. I can’t wait to spend this night out with my team and make the more memories.

~ Amanda

Done with Drywall!

Last week I finished dry walling my house! Hooray! My volunteers finished in one week which is pretty stellar.

This week I’ve been working with Amanda and Katie mudding their houses. I am becoming an excellent mudder.

I’m really excited about going back to Denver to see everyone again and to say goodbye. We'll be graduating from the program on November 19. I’ve loved my AmeriCorps experience but I’m ready to go home and spend time with my family.
~Maria B.

Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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