Last Day in Biloxi

March 15, 2013

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Today was out last day on our service project. We had a half day project today so we could spend Thursday afternoon in Biloxi. We spent the morning working with the DNR in building baskets for oyster shells. They are working to build a wall that is 1600ft long to help protect the shore from erosion and to build a reef for oysters. The baskets we built were made from chicken wire. In the afternoon we had a group picture made with the staff from Moore Community House earlier in the week so we took them a framed picture so they could remember the group from Armstrong.

Tomorrow we begin the nine hour trip back to Savannah. This week has been a great week for everyone. We have learned about the issues here and hopefully have made an impact in the lives of the people in the communities that we have worked. This is also the beginning of Armstrong developing an alternative break program and look forward to sending more students out during future breaks to help others.

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We are continuing to have a great time and great experiences on the trip. On Tuesday we spent the day at the Moore Community House again. The weather was much nicer on Tuesday so we accomplished a lot in the yard. We began painting the play group equipment and benches. We also cleaned up two years worth of trash, leaves and debris that had built up around the perimeter fence. When we left the place looked like a brand new place.

On Wednesday we headed to Hattisburg to assist with tornado relief from the tornado that went through Hattisburg last month. Part of the group finished removing shingle nails from a roof and other helped clean up debris from yards in the neighborhood. We spent some time driving through the neighborhoods that took the brunt of the storm and there is still a lot of damage to many homes.

Being in this area that suffered so much from Hurricane Katrina it is very compelling to hear the stores from everyone who lived through the storm and how they are still recovering.

We have one more half day of project work and will spend Thursday afternoon in Biloxi. One of the greatest experiences is sharing stories and experiences with the other colleges who are here from the different projects taking place all over this area.

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We had a great first day at our service project. We are volunteering this week at Moore Community House which provides free early head start programs to low income families in east Biloxi. The center also provides construction training for women seeking construction based jobs. Today the weather was cool and rainy so we were inside all day. We did a variety of administrative jobs around the center to help the staff out. We did tasks including conducting inventory, helping with large mailings, and data entry. The tasks were small but were a huge help to the staff.

The evenings are a lot of fun around the camp. After dinner we have a group reflection to discuss the day and what happened during the day. Afterwards the groups for all of the different colleges hang out and play cards and other games together. It is a great bonding opportunity for everyone.

Group Photo

March 10, 2013

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Made it to Biloxi

March 10, 2013

We have successfully made the 9 hour drive to Biloxi. The trip was long, well at least I-10 through Florida. We are staying at a Boy Scout camp just outside Biloxi. The camp is rustic but clean and backs up to a bay. The main tourist areas of Biloxi are not far from the camp. The camp is quiet this evening. They are expecting 200 college students here this week who will be doing different service projects in Biloxi. So far there are colleges here from the University of Virginia, Florida State and Texas A&M. Tomorrow we will spend the day touring New Orleans before starting our projects on Monday. Other than being tired the group is excited and ready for the week.

With the growing emphasis on civic engagement and volunteer service, Armstrong’s first official university sponsored alternative spring break will take place March 9-15 in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Eight students and one staff member from Armstrong will be working on hunger and homelessness issues in the Bilox, Mississippi area in partnership with the organization Community Collaborations.  The group will spend the week working in food pantries, soup kitchens and other service type projects that work to address the hunger and homeless issues in the Biloxi area.  We hope you will follow our blog throughout the week that we are gone and see the work that we will do in Mississippi.

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