As we return to River Falls, we have all brought a piece of New Orleans back with us. Below you will find responses from each of the group members as they respond to what has impacted them the most during the Destination experience.
The thing that impacted me the most throughout this experience was how much I didn’t know about the largest natural disaster in our nation’s history. Through the unthinkable stories we heard, videos we watched, and stories we read, I learned so much more than I ever learned 6 years ago when Katrina hit New Orleans. My heart ached every time I gained a piece of knowledge. It ached for the people who had to, and still do endure such hardships, and that as a fellow American did not know what they were going through. Through this experience, I have made it a goal to educate myself, and truly understand the social issues that are in my community, and do what I can to make a difference. – Christa
Learning that I got hurricane relief as my trip, I was somewhat bummed but after the trip I am soooo glad I got put in to this group. I learned so much and changed a lot too! The thing that impacted me the most is asking questions but going to find the answers. Now I plan to be educated about everything going local, national, and international once I ask a question! – Dani
Seeing that the city still has not been totally repaired. There are still many homes ruined and abandoned. Many people down there still need a lot of help. Rejuvenation of the city will take many more years. – David
I expected that we would have a positive impact on the house that we were going to New Orleans to work on, and we did. However, the greatest impact of this experience was seeing the value to the Williams family and how much that affected me. It was incredibly eye-opening to see how much impact the week of service we did had on others, it made me realize how important it is to make service a priority in my life and that it doesn’t always need to be a large contribution, sometimes the smallest things have a significant impact. – Tracy
What impacted me the most on our Destination trip was seeing what New Orleans still looks like today. Hurricane Katrina hit six years ago, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Driving to the work site everyday made me sad every time I saw a giant "X" on a house. It symbolized a family that was not able to return for a reason I will never know. Every time I saw an "X", I wanted to get out and repair the house myself. Knowing that Ms. Sarah herself has been waiting six years to return home, made it very difficult to leave it uncompleted. Though having to do so, I left knowing the people of Rebuilding Together will do everything possible to complete Ms. Sarah's house. They will also continue to help the families still in need, and bring them home. – Megan
It is hard to describe in just one paragraph the impact that this Destination trip has had on me. What stands out the most to me is the impact that Katrina had on the mental and emotional state of the residents of the impacted area, and beyond. Katrina not only destroyed the homes of the those in the area, but it broke apart families, destroyed communities, and severed friendships. The stories of frustration, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, depression, and post traumatic stress stick out in my mind like a sore thumb as a subject area that light needs to be shed on. My heart has been broken and put back together again a thousand times as I see the residents fighting to stick together, hearing stories of ordinary heroes and everyday miracles. The community is coming back. This is what has impacted me. Fighting. Never giving up. Being destroyed, inside and out, and quite literally, never giving up. – Brianna
I have never been on a Destination trip or even a service trip for that matter so I did not really know what to expect. One of the things that affected me the most was being able to have an impact on someone’s life through just a week of service. It felt good just being able to help someone out and knowing that you were not going to get anything in return, but really I think we did. I became more educated and had a greater understanding in the subject we were serving. We had the chance to meet amazing people and hear their stories. I learned more about myself and that I can make a difference. I want to continue making that difference in my community of River Falls. During the trip, I got the chance to get to know some truly amazing people and by the end, I had gained nine new friendships. I am so grateful for having this opportunity to go on a Destination trip, and cannot wait for next year! – Erin
Seeing the long lasting effects of Katrina and the devastation that it has unveiled on New Orleans has changed my life forever. Ms. Sarah in particular impacted me by sharing her strength and her story.
The stories I have heard from Ms. Sarah’s experiences will stick with me throughout my life as I continue to find ways to help in my own community. My group members also impacted me to be the best I can be and use all my talents to help those in need. Also I have been so impacted that I want to go back. – Steph
This trip impacted me in many ways. It was heart wrenching to learn deeper about the issue as well as Ms. Sarah’s story about all her heartache. I was impacted by her and the knowledge I learned through Mark and Devin. I was also extremely impacted by our group. I learned so much about them, service, and even myself. I really appreciate them and everything we experienced. – Shanna