Category Archives: Louisville

Memories of a Special Bond

By Lindsey Johnson, alumna of Portland 2013 and Memphis 2014

While it is true that no two AJSS trips are the same, I was expecting the basic aspects of friendships and hard work from my trip to Portland, Oregon in 2013 to be replicated in my trip to Memphis, Tennessee in 2014. Those two things both played a huge role in my second trip, but there was something unique about this trip: Marie. Once a week, we visited the residents of an assisted living facility. We gave them manicures and assisted them with activities such as bingo and drawing. During our first visit there, I met Marie. I walked with her from the room where we had lunch back to her room, and I decided to stay and talk with her when we got there. She told me all about her childhood and growing up during the Great Depression, how her education was cut short so she could work instead, her late husband who was “the red head who was quite a catch,” and her grandson who was starting college in the fall and how she wanted to set us up. When it was time to leave, I gave her a hug and headed to the lobby to meet the rest of the AJSS participants. During the van ride back, we shared our stories about the different residents we spoke to.

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Summer of Service:
An Introduction

For AJSS Summer of Service, a typical first day would mean everyone arrives at the airport in the afternoon, spends the evening bonding over dinner and ice breakers, and gets to bed at a decent hour so the participants are well-rested for their first day of work.

But as we always say, there is no typical day on AJSS.

This time it was mother nature who had other plans. And while the day did go as anticipated for some, many spent their first evening still in transit, and others even stayed the night in Maryland, joining HQ staff for an AJSS cookout. But by morning, it was business as usual in Portland and Louisville. The groups began the day with a few ice breakers, chipping away at the initial awkwardness, as Max so aptly described in our previous blog post.Blog_Post_Image1_083013

Over the course of the summer, this blog will provide more detailed and trip specific updates as the participants continue their AJSS adventure. Stay tuned! After breaking the ice, the groups made their way to their respective job sites, and (patiently!) sat through orientation, which served as an important lesson in both safety and humility. The orientations not only introduced participants to the work they will be doing, but also to their new communities.
Whether in Portland or Louisville, orientation marked the groups’ first step in understanding the discrepancies between the life they know at home and the struggles faced in the community in which they’re now working and living. As they explore these differences throughout the summer, participants may be confronted with challenges and uncertainties, and be encouraged to push beyond the limits of their comfort zone. But the more participants embrace these opportunities for growth, the greater the impact of their Summer of Service.
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Over the course of the summer, this blog will provide more detailed and trip specific updates as the participants continue their AJSS adventure.Stay tuned!

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