PDP: Flint Center for Hope

Section: Becoming an Active Citizen Serving the Greater Good: Service Project

I grew up about 30 minutes away from Flint, MI. The Flint Water Crisis did not affect me or my family, nor has the poverty and crime that has stricken the city as well, but just knowing that there are people in my backyard who face these problems every day breaks my heart. There had been a service trip earlier in the year to Flint, and I was devastated that I could not go. When I found out that there was another trip I knew that I had to go.

Since this is a PDP activity, there had to be some sort of stretch and meaning to this activity. While there was no lack of meaning in the activity, I had to come up with some way to stretch myself. So, I decided that I would make more of an effort to get to know some of the people that we were helping. Sadly, I did not really get that chance. But I’ll get to that later. For now, my experience.

We all had to meet at the Volunteer Center at 9am the morning of November 11th. I figure we would leave immediately, as to get the most out of this trip as possible (Flint is about an hour and a half away). I was mistaken, though.When we got there, our site leaders spent a lot of time teaching us about the service we were going to be doing. I though all of this information could have been explained on the car ride there to save some time. When we got to the Flint Center for Hope at around 11am, the 14 of us we lead into a room overflowing with donated items that needed to be sorted through.  

We were only in Flint for a little over two hours, but we sure did get a lot done. Half of us were sent to serve food to those in need, while the other half stayed in the room with all the donated items and sorted through them. When we arrived, there were only two ladies working back there, and they looked like they were drowning in work. They took one look at us and relief spread across their face. I imagined them in that room all day, sorting through all of those clothes by themselves; with a couple extra hand, we were able to sort through most of the clothes in the two hours.

My goal during this trip was to interact more with people that I would not normally. I achieved that, but in a different way than I had intended. Back sorting through the clothes, I didn’t really get to interact with any of the people that came through too much. There were some people from the community who came back there; it was amazing to see how grateful they were that we were there. I had wanted to go and help serve the food, and I would have been able to interact with more people there, but everyone else jumped at the opportunity before I had the chance to. Yet, I did get the chance to interact with some new people. A lot of the students on this trip were international graduate students; I had never really met any of them before, and if you have read any of my other PDP’s, you would know that I am super awkward at starting conversations with people. But, when on this trip, I had the chance too. They were all super sweet, and I loved getting the chance to know them. 

The place where we volunteered was called the “Flint Center for Hope.” A more accurate name could not have been given to this place. Everyone who walked through those doors looked so full of hope, like what was going on outside those doors didn’t even matter anymore. It was great to help these people by serving the greater good and doing my part to help those around me. 

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