Reflections on NOLA: New and Long-Range

Students from ROHS and Farmington reflect on the meaning of volunteerism and work in Louisiana.

This is my third trip and I still cannot believe how gratifying it is to help people on such a level. While we all aim to just simply have a good time and help some people along the way, the lives of the people that we help are overturned from desperation to joy. Through all the sing-a-longs, break time snacks, and games of euchre we are all working towards the greatest cause there is: helping our fellow human beings. Being somewhat of a “veteran” of these relief trips, I am always pleased to see other trip-goers experience the same thing I did on my first trip: altruism and perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                -Alex Kokesh, ROHS Class of 2014

This trip has been the first relief trip that I have ever been on, and I can honestly say that the experience is changing my life. Some of the moments have been sad, like when I had to extrapolate destroyed photo albums from the crumbling house of a Hurricane Isaac victim, but most of the events have been really fun. The most interesting events were slamming the roof to pieces with sledgehammers and exciting stories by the bonfire with new friends, but my favorite part about this whole trip is the hard work and determination that I (and everyone else here) am putting in for the good of someone else. The effect is truly phenomenal—I feel great! Some people were shocked to learn that instead of going on a vacation to California or Vero Beach, I spent money and time to go on a relief trip to Louisiana. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world J

                                                                                                                                                                --Steph Mecham, Farmington High School Class of 2013


Never have I ridden a bus for so long in my life. Fortunately though, the long rides to our sites provided me with plenty of time to read and to get to know the other ninety volunteers that have so selflessly given their time to help strangers in an unknown land. Normally, sitting on a bus filled with strangers may warrant shyness, but I realized that kids so willing to put others before themselves were people worth knowing.  Three days later, after working each other beyond exhaustion and accumulating much soreness, I am able to say that I have made many new and interesting friends.  This Louisiana experience has paid its sticker tag forward an infinity of times and I know that I will always cherish this week when I reflect and retell the stories with my new companions in the future.    

--Dylan Welch, Farmington High School Class of 2013



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Meryn February 22, 2013 at 08:11 PM
So nice to be able to read and see pictures of your progress! You all did such a great job finishing up the site that I was on with you in the beginning of the week! Dylan- very nice to have met you and I hope to see you on next year's trip as alumni. By now you're probably all on the bus headed back... Travel safe! -Meryn
Helene Kokesh February 23, 2013 at 01:21 AM
I am so proud of both my sons. Thanks for giving back and making life better for others. I am so pleased at how the volunteerism has multiplied over the past three years. Kindness is contagious!!!
David Pacifico February 23, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Good job everyone. Thanks for writing about it also.


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