As a group, we can all genuinely say that our last day couldn’t have been better working with the CCI and Samaritan’s Purse. For our first site of the day, we met a jack of all trades, Stephen. His life stories left an impact on the group as a whole in a plethora of ways. His natural insight and open-mindedness taught us a whole new perspective on topics such as beliefs, career paths, and visual and performing arts. It was an absolute pleasure to have Stephen, and all the homeowners we’ve met throughout the week, welcome us into their home.

By the end of the week, the other individuals in our workgroup from all around the country, including ourselves had meshed into one big family. Working with them for the whole week gave us the opportunity to learn about all their personal backgrounds and ways of life. We can’t thank them enough for the everlasting support they provided.

On another note, going into an experience like this for many of us was very new. We are all so incredibly grateful for the connections we have made in and outside of our group. Although there were challenges faced, they were just another chance to grow and learn more about ourselves and the people around us. We can also thank this amazing city for keeping our spirits lifted with all the vitamin D we could wish for.

Panama City itself has been absolutely beautiful this whole week. Although we got to enjoy the beaches and tourist scenery, finding the beauty in disaster along the way made a huge difference. The homeowners and other individuals we got to meet made it that much more special to us. We can speak for everyone when we say that Panama City is an unforgettable place.

Our host facility, The Ark, where we have been staying since Saturday, has left a lasting first impression on everyone. They have been constantly positive, welcoming, and encouraging throughout the process of our week. We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with new organizations that the Alternative Spring Break Program hasn’t gotten the chance to partner with before. Staying with a bunch of other groups brought a true sense of community living to the trip.

Once we reached the end of our last day, we made sure to leave everything on a high note. We discussed what we all got out of the trip as a whole and how we all personally impacted each other in different ways. We all feel the week absolutely flew by and wish we could stay and help create an even bigger change to the area. Thanks to the Center of Service and Leadership at Springfield College, we get to look forward to seeing these beautiful familiar faces on campus. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Thank you to Alexandra Cioni for the update!

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