Messages from AWB Grads

We reached out to some of our AWB graduates to send messages to those heading out this week for their own memorable experiences.  Read what they have to say:

adina

Adina (l) with Mika Itkin-Weinstein and a Recirculating Farms Volunteer

Hey yo AWB 2015! I hope you are all really excited for the next week because you’re about to participate in a program that used to be what I looked forward to all year. Seriously, it was the countdown on my MacBook each and every time. Have fun and make the most of it, but take it seriously and truly immerse yourself in what you’re doing. Don’t breeze past the volunteering part because you came to see your camp friends. Take it as an opportunity to accomplish great things and learn from those you meet with the company of these friends you cherish so much. This will enrich your experience and you will be happier because of it. Good luck and enjoy!

~ Adina Gitomer – AWB 2012, 2013, 2014. Year Course 2015-2016

jaocb

Jacob, a New Orleans resident and Friends Volunteering with Greenlight

Hi AWBers! As you all settle into your week of volunteering, I want you to ask yourselves why you’re here in the first place. Did your parents make you do it? Do you simply enjoy volunteering? Are you just doing it to meet up with your friends? Think about it well. Do you have an idea of why you’re here, yet? Good. Now forget that. Toss away any preconceived notions of why you are here and what you will be doing over the next week. Regardless of your motivations, I can guarantee you will all reach a similar end result: a strengthened sense of gratification for your fortune in life. The people you’ll meet, the stories you’ll hear, and the activities you’ll partake in all mean so much more than a simple motive for volunteering. Because while you’re just taking a week out of your winter break, this week will change the lives of the people you work with. Your job this week is not to just go through the motions of volunteering; rather, your job is to really ponder the stories you hear and to put yourselves in the shoes of those you help. It will make your experience a heck of a lot more meaningful. Enjoy your week to the fullest, and don’t forget to have fun!

~ Jacob Rogatinsky – AWB 2012, 2013 and 2014. Vanderbilt University

jordan

Jordan (2nd from l) with Noa Jett, Lucy Greenwald, Mika Itkin-Weinstein and Adina Gitomer plant a garden for a NOLA resident.

AWB NOLA is where I learned that I don’t necessarily have to go out of my way to make a difference. Literally being myself might have just impacted those less fortunate. Being able to dance like nobody is watching with little kids and singing Christmas carols in a homeless shelter not only made MY Christmas great but also put large smiles on the faces of the citizens of my soon-to-be home, New Orleans. I didn’t go on AWB to earn service hours; I went to do something meaningful during a break where I’d usually spend time inside watching TV or down in Florida.

~ Jordan Lawrence – AWB 2014. Tulane University

gabi

Gabi digs a hole!

AWB was the first time that I really got introduced to the world of volunteering outside my hometown. It was a program I was excited to go on seeing as my brother had gone on it a few years before me, and came home raving about all the cool stuff he did, and the people he met. My first time on AWB was in New Orleans. It was the first time I had ever visited the city, and throughout the week, I learned a lot about the importance of helping others, and how fortunate I, and all the other participants were, that we were able to spend our free time helping out others in a totally different environment that what we were used to. AWB was an incredible experience, and I got a lot out of it, and hope that you all will too.

~ Gabi Schwartz – AWB 2011 and 2012. Tulane University