When I awoke at seven a.m., I thought, Why am I voluntarily getting up at seven on a Sunday morning? I had to get up because my ride was coming in 30 minutes. We drove to school where we met 15 other girls and took the train into Boston, Massachusetts, a 45-minute ride, where we joined thousands of familiar and not-so-familiar faces from various other schools and organizations.
We were all taking part in Servathon, part of City Year, an organization that sets up day-long projects as part of an effort to improve our cities and towns. Projects include helping out at soup kitchens, painting buildings, and helping people recover from floods, just to name a few.
Each group has an assignment. My group's was to aid the Red Cross in flood relief in Roslindale. Our job was to help people with damage from a recent flood. Each group of five was assigned to a street. We were to go door-to-door and ask people if they needed any help. Some people spoke Spanish, so they didn't understand us. Others didn't want help, but some people did need and want our help, so we helped them. Our duties included carrying saturated furniture out to the street and loading the damaged items into large dump trucks.
Our experience on one street was especially touching, and we spent much of our afternoon there. We threw out years of people's belongings - letters, pictures, old books, children's toys, tables, lamps, that had been damaged by the flood. What was even sadder was that things like pictures, letters and books are irreplaceable memories.
During the day I learned how unfortunate it is to lose everything. I also realized how lucky I am that I have never had to face the devastation of a tragedy like this one.
After the day, I arrived home glad that I participated in City Year and I that I was able to make a difference by helping people in need. I would definitely participate in a similar event again, and I would recommend this project to anyone who wants to make a difference in their community. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.