Spring Break FOREVER! (Houston edition)


Top – Mckenzie Weeks, Jerry Davis, Renaldy Byas, Lynda Jones Middle- Melissa Davis, Aneida Molina, Karyann Cruz, Nancy Saint Germain, Noelia Rodriguez, Bianca Aridou, Janelis Rodriguez, Neishka Rivera Tirado, Front – Samira Abdul-Karim

Samira Abdul-Karim, Staff Writer

Spring break for the average student is a week filled with partying and prioritizing, so that all the stress from the semester is at ease. To allow some much needed me time, that students don’t have time for during the semester.

Yet a fellow group of Yellow Jackets got to conquer spring break a bit differently in Houston, Texas doing disaster relief with ServeUp.

Along with a variety of institutions across New England, we gathered at the meet up point, Smith College with anticipation flooding the atmosphere. 30 long hours until arriving at our destination and little did anyone know it’d be way more exciting than we expected.

Noelia Rodriguez, AIC’s Campus Staff Member with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, prepared the group for the excursion. During a pep talk she expressed that during this trip we should keep in mind to, “Live your life for others and you’ll experience joy forever.”

This really spoke volumes, especially going into this new environment that is dealing with finding joy and peace after a disaster. Yet knowing we were there to help and could possibly bring that joy to someone else was all the flame needed to ignite the fire of service.

Initially it was peculiar engaging amongst this diverse group of students, yet the feeling was so invigorating being around people with the same passion for helping and healing, not only the community but themselves.

Work sites for the week were received and our group was fortunate to be assigned to Ms. Lynda Jones and her fluffy companion Boy George. Both full of life, and in awe of the opportunity at hand.

Ms. Lynda was full of charisma even during this time of despair. It was clear that although the storm tore apart her home, it couldn’t tear apart her heart. Which was bigger and beat louder than any storm that could ever come Houston’s way.

As our group tore down the ruined walls, cut off excess insulation, and prepared to redevelop the house. Alongside us the whole time were Boy George and Ms. Lynda, it was hard for them to just kick back and relax while we did our thing.

When we didn’t allow her to work, she showed her joy in another way, by writing on the walls where we kept measurements, “Because I Can!”, “Lynda did it!”, “Because I’m happy!”, an “SMILE :)”.

Bianca Aridou, Junior, and President of Christian Conquers, said “I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of Ms. Lynda’s healing process by helping rebuild the walls of her home.  ServeUp was such a humbling experience for me. It pushed me out of my comfort zone physically, emotionally, and spiritually, making me a better person.”

At the close of each day all the schools regrouped for community time where we debriefed and touched on topics of Loss, Lament, Healing, and Hope. Focusing on the story of Lazarus, in the book of John 11:1-45, then connecting it to trials we face today.

Samira Abdul-Karim amongst other ServeUp students at the Houston food bank.

Seeing our generation like this with so much compassion and faith shows that as a society we still have hope for peace amongst us all. It was very holistic.

After all the hard work we had the opportunity to attend Houston’s Rodeo and Livestock. Where I indulged in my favorite part of any fair the “carnival eats”, from Smoked Turkey Legs, Fried Alligator, to Fried dough. I was stuffed to the core just in time to Count Stars with One Republic, who sold out seats in the NRG Stadium.

The performance was phenomenal and kept up pumping for our last day.

Where our final stop was Houston Food Bank. Within 3 hours of our time we were able to pack 18,144lbs of food and prepare 15,210 meals. Although this type of service skips the personal face to face interaction, knowing we were able to feed almost 15000 times more than that one person was very good.

Overall the experience of one of a kind and the stories will last for days. To hear more and get involved meet with us, Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm in DC37.