Raven 1’s first round project was a “split round,” which means the length of the project round was split over two (or more) locations. Raven 1 started in Winterthur, Delaware and then went to Danbury, Connecticut to work on a short term assignment with the Connecticut Mission of Mercy (MOM).
For our second project of our first round spike, my team and I traveled to Danbury, Connecticut to help CT Mission of Mercy (MOM) set up, run, and break down a free dental clinic. I arrived expecting just another project with long days, hard labor, and great company. I left MOM with tears of joy and gratitude, and a thorough understanding of why AmeriCorps NCCC is such an important program to so many individuals.
We awoke Friday morning at a brisk 2:00 a.m. That early hour, plus a malfunctioning coffee brewer, left many of us in a grumpy mood. We got to the work site around 3:00 a.m. to start directing traffic. I never fully comprehended how big of a deal this was until the droves and droves of cars arrived. They filled up every parking lot available, overflowed into a quickly filling parking garage, and once reaching max occupancy there, formed a single file line down the side of the road for what seemed like forever. The people then exited their cars and made the long trek uphill to the beginning of the line.
It dawned on me how much an organization such as this actually affects those it helps, and gave me great pride and humility to be a part of such a wonderful event. I was not the only team member who cried that day. These people became more than just patients to me and everyone else involved. They became brothers, sisters, friends, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and lastly equals. I gained many new friends, of which I intend to keep in touch with for many years.
The long days, arduous labor, and emotional strife of MOM left our Raven 1 team in awe of what we had accomplished together. I felt it very difficult to actually digest the mass amount of thanks that I received from countless masses of individuals, until we began to slowly drive away for the last time only to look out the window and see our sponsor crying, overcome with gratitude for the work we had done, for the people we helped, and most of all for the people we are.
|Raven 1 takes a picture with the project sponsors of the CT MOM project|
It was being able to cry on a teammates shoulder, overcome with emotion, and feeling the sense of security that only a true team can understand. My teammates understand little things like supplying a homeless man with enough granola bars and water he can possibly carry, only for him to give you a hug with a face overcome in tears. They also understand what it’s like to see such wonderful people crying as you leave after a mission accomplished. I tear up as I write this, with countless amounts of thanks for such a priceless experience, and sincerely hope everyone who put forth any time or effort into this opportunity of a lifetime the best and brightest futures.
Smiling often and forever,
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
― Mother Teresa
For more information about Raven 1’s first round project including photos of their housing check out their project debrief presentation.