From 2008-2011 I spent the third week of February as a team leader for a service learning program taking University of Guelph students to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
It started as a Hurricane Katrina relief program and grew into an amazing partnership. There were a number of factors to why I chose not to lead a program this year, but let me take you on a trip down memory lane to a place that is very, very special to me.
(helped insulate new homes that we re-built after Katrina, been on a great Civil Rights tour of Hattiesburg, MS, built sheds for new Habitat homes, visited New Orleans (x4) helped teach at an Elementary School, cleaned a coastal home that suffered a lot of damage from Katrina, stripped and dry-walled a home with extensive water damage, cleaned the site of the Maritime Coastal Museum in Louisiana, helped build a ramp for a man in a wheelchair, and NOLA one last time).
In addition to those photos, University of Guelph students have build community gardens, helped educate Elementary school kids about US/Canada geography, politics, and healthy eating, pack transport trucks with supplies headed to Haiti for relief work, unpack trucks and build walls of new Habitat Homes, plant gardens for recipients of Habitat homes, pack hampers at the food bank, and clean debris from the coast of Louisiana.
And some fun, too…
(baseball in February! and my first low-country boil)
Those weeks in Mississippi and Louisiana have been some the most amazing I’ve ever had.