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Summer of '99: I Gave My H.E.A.R.T. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     This summer was like no other. I helpedpeople fix their houses by painting and doing yard work with H.E.A.R.T. Camp, which stands for HelpingEveryone Attain Repairs Today. When my mom said I could go, I couldn't wait. My friends were going, and Iwas excited to fly for the first time, too.

We got off the plane in Orlando, Florida ready for a longdrive. When we arrived at the school where we would stay for the week, we unpacked. The first day we gotacquainted with our groups. Three hundred young people from all over the country were there. We wereplaced in groups and our job was to get to know each other and work together on an assigned house. I waspart of a team of three girls and three guys. I thought I would be the quietest one, but it turned out myentire group was shy except for the adult leader. Everyone had a role, mine was Team Leader.I was to provide the other team members with job duties. In the morning we packedtools, put on old clothes, went to morning prayer service and then went to work. We also met the residentsof the house we were working on. In four days our group had to paint the house, cut the grass, weed thegarden and repair the steps. We had all the tools and supplies we needed and prayed for good weather so wecould complete our job. Our work was a success. We had help from the resident's son, who was eight, whichmade it fun and a wonderful learning experience.

At night we had programs with comedians, skitsand plays, slide shows, reviews from the day and long talks. Attending H.E.A.R.T. Camp was a blessing. Ilearned to step outside my comfort zone and be me. Oh, I also went to Disney World for two days as areward for a job well done!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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