Thursday, September 1, 2016

2015 Service Learning Trip by Michael Sullivan

IRYA has the motto: "Today’s youth; Tomorrows leaders."

The trip to the Twin Cities helped us achieve part of what we hope to be as leaders.  A leader is someone who is aware of much more than just themselves. They are aware of their surroundings and improve it for the betterment of others.  We aimed to achieve his goal though our trip.     

While volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis, we helped by disinfecting many rooms, vacuuming, and watering flowers on their grounds. We also had the wonderful opportunity to share a meal with many of the patients and their families. The house we helped can hold 48 families, and is always full, usually with a waiting list of families needing a place to stay while their children are treated for serious, life-threatening illnesses.  The Ronald McDonald House has a total of 10 kitchens and are able to use them at any time to cook, so that families are able to have an "at home" meal. This is particularly helpful for families who come from overseas, and would like to make familiar, ethnic foods.


Our other volunteer opportunity was helping at the Salvation Army. That was an eye opening experience. On average, they serve 700-800 people a full meal, which is prepared each day by volunteers that are very dedicated to helping those who need help.  They house over 600 residents that spend the night each night.  They have a special wing for males and females, and they also have a wing for those who are given an opportunity to go through a free 12- step program for rehabilitation.  The Salvation Army really strives to help everyone get back on their feet, no matter their situation may be. The house we volunteered at is 1 out of 7 Salvation Army houses that get filled EVERY NIGHT.  After all of the houses are filled, along with full churches and other homeless outreach shelters, there are still have over 2,000 people homeless individuals in Minneapolis, alone.


In conclusion, we were able to connect with a numerous amount of people, in a short amount of time, by helping families with children who are battling life threatening diseases, and also those who have hit rock bottom, and don't have a roof over their head, nor are they able to put food on the table.  It was amazing how a small group of 6 strangers on this trip become friends, and were able to feel like we made a small change. 


"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi


Michael Sullivan

Hibbing High School

Author: Jody Messner