Day four! We can’t believe it is almost over. Today was our last service day 😦
One group went to the Thomas Merton Center, where they helped to clean out cans and other food from the basement and then went to Holy Rosary to help Angie with food packaging. This group was also fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to go to an exhibition with Angie which displayed photographs from the photographer Ed Brinsko in McLevy Hall. Brinsko took photographs of Malcom X speaking at University of Bridgeport, and JFK speaking outside the transit station! The students who went there were mesmerized by the beautiful photography, and learned some great history about Bridgeport!
The other group went to Hall House, where they helped with a Basketball Tournament. They sold tickets and did a little cleaning. They also learned a little about a girl named Kristin, who died at the age of 15 from a disease that she had since birth. Despite the challenges that she faced, she lived by the motto love life. Her parents created an organization in her honor, with the same motto. This organization helps to promote awareness, hope and funds for children in need.
All in all it was a productive day! At night we were able to hear about what drove SHU to become so service oriented from two retired faculty members, Ralph and Eileen. It was amazing to hear their stories about service and how the Volunteer Programs and Service and Learning Office got its start.
This week has been an amazing experience for all of us. It has been an incredible week, where we have had the opportunity to meet so many new people both in the SHU and Bridgeport Community. The members of C.U.R.T.I.S Week will continue to go out into the community and leave their mark.
Even though we had our last day, we will not stop, but instead continue to strive to make the world a better place to live for everyone. Before we pack our bags and load our vans, to journey back to campus to embark on Spring Semester 2015, we went to Spanish Mass at St. Charles. We were able to celebrate mass at the parish that we had called home for the past few days. It was a wonderful experience and definitely a great way to end the week and start the new semester!
This week was only a taste of what we do during the semester. There are so many great organizations to volunteer with. If you are interested visit the Volunteer Programs Office in SU 100 to see the weekly volunteer projects!
We are already three days into CURTIS Week. Every morning we wake up at St. Charles Church in Bridgeport, make breakfast then organize ourselves into teams of two to go out into the community. This year’s group is pretty big with 17 students in all. That includes 3 upperclassmen leaders. The leaders drive us to our work sites and help organize us as we volunteer at different locations throughout Bridgeport.
Today, first we went to Caroline house where we sorted and organized the classroom making the learning environment better for the children. We got to meet Jean who runs the Caroline House and she told us some amazing, but sad stories about some of the women who come to the Caroline House. It really helped us understand how fortunate we are and how our work is helping others.
After this, we went to the hall neighborhood house again where we got to play with children, both infants and preschoolers!!! We absolutely loved all the love we got from the children and also getting to talk to the teachers and hear their stories too was one of the greatest experiences.
In the evening SHU’s Father David joined us for dinner to speak about urban issues of the community. It was a busy day, but we had such a great time!
By: Meg Lackman
Now that my second Mississippi trip is coming to and end and I am going to graduate in May, it is sad to think that I may never come back to Lucedale, Mississippi…
Friday was our last work day. We finished our pergola, finished the mural, built some more walls and even started a rehab project. For a group of 22 people, we sure get a lot of projects done. Every time we finished a project, we were all looking fore more work to do. We are such a hard working team and never turned down a project. If we were asked to do something, we would do it without question.
All the memories that I have made here In the past two years is like something so different and something that I can not explain. Coming on this mission trip is different than going to a Habitat spring break trip. While on this trip I have gotten to know 21 different people and grown so close to them. In comparison to my trip from last year, I feel that I have grown with this group so much more than any other group I have spent time with on a trip.
Bonding with this group started the morning we met at school to get on the bus to head off to the airport. Through the week not only working together brought us closer together but, our reflections at the end of the day let us open up in many ways most of us never would to anyone. Letting someone know your deepest, darkest secrets is one of the scariest things that someone can do. This means you must have trust in the other person or in our case a group of people. I know that I can go to anyone in this group with a problem or just to vent and they will be there for me.
Leaving these people is going to be one of the hardest things ever. Today we had to say goodbye to the Habitat Re-store and the warehouse, along with the many workers we grew close to.
We definitely left our mark in Mississippi this year. Peter Pan once said, “Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” So this is not goodbye, it’s only “see you later.”
Today we broke up into two team again. One group went the Brooke Street Shelter and then to Holy Rosary Church. The other group went to Caroline House. The team that went to the Brooks Street Shelter had tons of fun painting the walls of the shelter! We met a great guy named Louis who had directed us in our project and fed us a great lunch!
After the Brooks Street shelter we went to Holy rosary where we helped package food for the food pantry for those in need! We also got to meet Angie there who shared some amazing stories with us! She was a truly an inspiring person to work with and I can’t wait to see her again! I look forward to what tomorrow is going to bring 🙂
The group that went to Caroline House helped to reorganize the center. They got a lot done and got to play with some adorable children!
Back at our host site, St. Charles Church, we had a delicious veggie chili dinner and listened to Sister Eileen talk about poverty, homelessness and joblessness in Bridgeport.
By: Logan Cook
Day Three was one of the most productive work days so far this week and everybody can attest to that. Everybody got to work right away. I started off building wall frames with Maria, Sam and Rebecca. This was such a rough part to start the day. Sam and I were together and started to build the basic components of the wall. Let’s just say this was a very frustrating start. We kept trying to balance the wood pieces and trying to nail them at the same time. The wood kept splitting and the pieces were not lining up evenly. We finally got the drive to forget about the problems we were facing when the constructing coordinator built the same piece we were working on faster than we did. We stepped up and the errors started going away.
The next step was building the next step of the walls. We came back together as a group, “aka the Wall Squad.” We definitely bonded together and grew closer while nailing and putting the pieces together. We all shared the mutual dislike of the nails. We just wanted them to get in cleanly. Some would bend and we would just get so frustrated. It was alright because it just fueled the fire for us getting the work done. When the work was completed, we all left tired (you know that’s a good day of work), closer relationships, and a hatred for nails.
Another highlight of the day was during lunch. I was sitting next to Eli, a former Habitat worker who came back this week because he knew we (the SHU group) were coming. He handed me a pin and said “Happy Belated Birthday.” I was definitely surprised by this and it really was a sentimental moment. This is someone I just met and have definitely developed a relationship with. It was such a simplistic thing but it will be something I will always remember.
We ended the very productive day with a very powerful reflection. As a group we discussed our strongest and weakest virtues among hope, faith, courage, patience, and love. This was definitely an emotional moment. People could totally let down their guard down and tell stories that normally they wouldn’t tell other people about. This truly shows how close of a family we are. Everybody cares and loves each other. A perfect example is that I talked about about my grandfather. I knew it would I would be teary-eyed but I already was from others’ stories. The tears definitely came but I had the Mississippi family behind me. I knew the first person to come up to comfort me after would be Meg. Meg and I have grown closer since the first day. We are always cracking jokes and having a great time. Being a senior she also teaches me too. It’s great to see someone you barely knew to become a close person to you.
WE ARE FAMILY.
The first day started off smoothly. After meeting at SHU, we headed over to St. Charles in Bridgeport where we will stay for the next 4 days. We headed out to our sites early and had a good day at each site. One group went to the Merton Center to helped out with the food pantry. We moved quickly and worked hard as we helped to organize the food pantry. We packed food items into bins for storage and moved the bins to a larger storage space in the basement. The response from the Merton House was great. The other group went over to the daycare at Hall House, also in Bridgeport.
In the afternoon we went back to St. Charles for some dinner and some reflection time. The group got comfortable with each other pretty quick. Having a larger group this year – 17 students – makes things fun and interesting. The Volunteer Programs staff made us a spaghetti dinner with ice cream for dessert.
Tonight, Larry Carroll from the Volunteer Program office spoke to us about Bishop Curtis, who CURTIS Week is named after.