Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baltimore Extended Service Trip!

Hey everyone!

Hope you're all enjoying the start of 2nd semester! My winter break was cut a week short...because I had the AWESOME opportunity to go on a MOVE extended service trip to Baltimore, Maryland. It was a chance to see a new place, meet some wonderful new people, and help a community in need.

Our first day there was a Sunday, and we actually had the day off. This gave the 10 of us a chance to get to know each other, walk around DC, and visit some of the Smithsonian museums and the monuments.

(all photos courtesy of the wonderful Anna Lester who was the staff member on our trip!)

Then, it was time to get to work. On Monday we started our volunteering...we went to Our Daily Bread on Monday & Tuesday, which is basically a restaurant-style soup kitchen. Being there for two days really allowed us to connect with the regular staff/volunteers and also interact with the guests who came in for food. This was probably my favorite location of the whole week! 

In front of Our Daily Bread!

Some of us with Jon at Our Daily Bread!

One of the unique things about the Baltimore trip is that we work with so many different organizations during the week, whereas some trips only work with one or two. On Wednesday, we worked at St. Vincent's Villa, a home for children with emotional or behavioral disabilities, as well as Sarah's House in the afternoon, which is a shelter for women & families. 

At St. Vincent's Villa, we organized a toy closet that was filled from floor to ceiling with every type of toy you could ever imagine. Then, at Sarah's House in the afternoon, we were kept busy by organizing a huge closet with clothes donations. Even though this day wasn't occupied with direct interactions, we knew that our tasks would still help them out in the long run!

The group in front of St. Vincent's! (minus Anna)
The toy closet after being organized!

On Thursday, we went to Gallagher Services in the morning, which is a center for people with intellectual disabilities. Here, we spent the whole time interacting with the residents/clients...we even helped them in the art room to paint a winter scene. Then, in the afternoon, we went to My Sister's Place, a day shelter/soup kitchen just for women. We did some small tasks like folding napkins and organizing a donation closet..but they were definitely very appreciative.

Some of us folding napkins at My Sister's Place! 

On our last day (Friday), we spent the morning at a home for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's. Hillary & I painted some of the ladies' nails, others played bingo, did puzzles, or just watched a movie with them...and Becky spoke spanish with someone from...Argentina? Don't quote me on that. This was another favorite of mine.

Well, if you noticed...I really only mentioned all of the service that we did (besides the first day in DC). Obviously, we had quite a bit of downtime during the week as well...

On Friday afternoon, we decided to check out the Baltimore aquarium, which is supposedly the "national aquarium"...we literally walked through a tropical rainforest, saw a dolphin show, and (my favorite) saw some cool jellyfish. 

All of us at the aquarium!

One of the nights, I think it was Thursday, we had dinner at a St. Mike's alum's apartment in Baltimore! Faith, a 2010 SMC grad who was a volunteer for two years (for Project Serve? Don't quote me on that either) invited our large group of ten over for a spaghetti dinner and to talk about how awesome St. Mike's is, obviously. It was really great to talk to someone who went here, went on the Baltimore trip, and now works in that type of field. 
All of us at Faith's apartment!

When we weren't out and about in the city, or visiting with SMC alums, we spent a lot of time just hanging out together, reflecting on our experiences, and playing games! We stayed in an old school building/parish house/church...which was reportedly haunted, but oh well! 

I can't imagine a better group of people to have spent the week with and I'm so glad I know all of you now! (Shout-out to Hillary, Steph, Emily, Emily, Dan, Chris, McKenzie, Becky, and Anna!!)

Some of us hanging out in the "lounge"

OH- and we decided to make a choreographed video to "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon...make sure to check it out below!

 And to anyone who has ever considered going on an extended service trip, or even to those who have never heard of them...I totally recommend doing one at some point, it will change your life!


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