My experience volunteering for the church helping repair homes of the less fortunate

Essay by mrsandman2369High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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6:30 AM wake-up calls. 9 hour work days. 100+ degree temperatures. One of

the most rewarding experiences of my life. Let me explain. Earlier this year, in June

more specifically, I traveled to rural Kentucky with some friends and other members of

my church to build and repair houses for the less fortunate. Looking back, I learned and

experienced more than I could have ever imagined.

Some people I knew from school and some from our parish had volunteered for

this work in the past. I had never been interested. I am still not sure what caused me to

sign up that weekend in March. Boredom? Curiosity? I vaguely recall a nagging, in the

back of my mind, to do something worthwhile. Maybe starting to consider the world

beyond my friends and ESPN is part of "growing up".

        Almost immediately, I began to have second thoughts. This was summer

vacation and Appalachia was not going to be a week at the beach.

I was already going

back to the millwork shop. Long hours of manual labor, but at least I would be paid.

Rural Kentucky was no pay, no air-conditioning, no McDonald's and, I was thinking, no fun.


The night before I was to leave my dad and I were collecting some hand tools

from the workbench. He knew I had lost my initial enthusiasm. "Keep an open mind,"

he said, "maybe it will work out better than you think." Fair enough, I decided, if I was

going to do this, I was going to go into it with a better attitude and ready to help. It

wasn't long before his advice paid off.

As we approached the house we were to stay at in the mountains, our van got a

flat tire. We were the last van in...