“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi. Determined to live every day of my life by these words, when I saw an announced in the Daily Reveille for CHANGE Break 2014 I immediately went to the computer to apply. Not knowing exactly what the CHANGE Break trips would consist of, I simply applied with the interest of potentially being the change that I want to see in the world. Once I was actually selected for the CHANGE Break Vancouver team and learned that the trip would focus on working with the homeless population in Vancouver, BC, I was ensured that opportunities like these were created for people like me. People who have to hopes of Connecting Humanity Across Nations for Global Equality, my fellow CHANGE Break: Vancouver teammates and I would describe ourselves.
While traveling to Vancouver with 9 other students and two advisors the second week of January 2014, I was able to serve at The Dugout, Union Gospel Mission, the Covenant House, and the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center. At each of these locations we provided assistance with whatever was need whether it was serving on a food line, calling and thanking donors, sorting donations, cleaning, or simply providing a warm smile and light conversation for cold patrons. Each day as a team, we would reflect on the activities and events of that day to discuss and unpack their significance and personal meanings to us as individuals as well as us as a team. During the discussion, I could see that our personal views on homelessness and what it means to serve others began to change. We were able to interact with people different from us not only in regards to location but who were also from completely different backgrounds and connect with them on the basis of collective humanity.
There is no doubt that the CHANGE Break: Vancouver trip created an opportunity for ten students from LSU to serve those within the homeless population of Vancouver, but it also allowed the homeless population to serve our team by presenting an atmosphere where we could each grow as individuals.