The trip so far is off to a great start beginning with a breathtaking flight into Portland where we got a first class view of snowcapped Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens. We have been blessed with amazing weather so far where it has been sunny and 80 degrees with no humidity. The dorms we are staying in for the week are clean and spacious and perfect for the weeks stay.

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We started off the day early at 7:15am to have breakfast and head off to our first community service activity, Habitat for Humanity. We split into two groups, one which was heading to a build site in the Portland area to build a house, while the other group headed to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to help around the shop. The ReStore group engaged in numerous tasks including sorting hundreds of pounds of wood, sorting paint, and helping customers in need of assistance. Overall, helping out at the ReStore was a fulfilling experience and one which left all tired but proud that they served those in need.

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The group that was assigned to the build site participated in the building of houses. We were split into two even smaller groups. Group one took a run down patch of dirt and turned it into a useable space for green grass. The area will become a yard for a family where they’ll be able to play, grow a garden, and enjoy the outdoors. It felt great to help provide an outdoor space for a family to enjoy. The other group carried wood into the unfinished houses. The wood will eventually become parts of the walls, floors, and ceiling. We carried 2×4’s, ply wood, trim, and flooring.

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All around the activities at Habitat For Humanity were hard work and the two groups rallied together and worked superbly well. It was great to see the harmony among the groups and everyone working well together as well as working alongside other volunteers from the community. Getting to know people like George, Rob and Nathan was a great experience and gaining a clearer understanding as to why they do what they do. George is an aspiring medical student and hopes to be able to get the funds to go to med school, but offers his services to Habitat For Humanity on most Saturdays and thrives off of the opportunity to help others.

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The experience at Habitat For Humanity made me realize that despite all of our different personalities and interests, helping others was a joyous experience for all of us. We all felt proud to see the results of our few hours of hard work and we hope to return or do further projects like this in the future.

-Leader of the Day, Jack