Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What volunteering has meant to Patrick

Patrick Brutus sent the following along.

This says very well why you should get involved with BonaResponds.
"Since I began to attend St. Bonaventure, volunteering has become an important part of my life. One of my most moving and memorable experiences was my first trip to Mississippi, March 2006. It helped me realize the extraordinary difference I could make in the world. It also opened my eyes to the needs of people, as such needs are not found in my community. To this day, some people are oblivious to the great catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina. In the beginning, everyone would hear about the crisis on every news channel all day long; but once the media stopped covering Hurricane Katrina, most Americans thought that everything had been restored and things were on the verge of being normal. Unfortunately, this was not the case because even today families are struggling to reassemble their lives.

Since my freshman year, I have been involved with BonaResponds. I have done local volunteer services in our community. I have been to Buffalo relief trips about 4-5 times. I have been to the Gulf three times, every year on my Spring break. I plan on going down to Texas this year for Spring break to help rebuild homes from the disaster caused by Hurricane Ike. Each service was significant in its own way.

Nonetheless, my first time working with BonaResponds was in March 2006, when St. Bonaventure sent 300 Students to the Gulf to help families with repairs. Hands-on experience helped raise awareness for many students about the on-going suffering and burden that individuals and families continued to endure. However, this experience was not significant merely because of the houses we restored or the streets we cleaned; the meaningfulness of this experience came from receiving hugs and kisses from strangers. This experience gave volunteering a new meaning. We were hope to many people. I remember vividly one lady who cried as she was thanking us, and with her teary eyes she called us her heroes. We do not go to the gulf to build houses, we go to reestablish homes. Experiences like this are indescribable because words would do them no justice. This is what makes volunteering such an important aspect of my life."

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