This week changed my life. I ended the week with life long friends and memories that I will still remember when I am sitting in the nursing home at the ripe old age of ninety! Also during this trip I learned some incredible things. I learned that life is always the same. How you view life though is based on perspective. This week we saw some very big problems that are occurring here in Springfield. Next week we will be students at Missouri State University, but all of those people that we interacted with last week will still be dealing with these big problems. I learned that in order for us to not just turn our eye away we need to understand that this may be just a week to us, but to the rest of the people, this happens every week.
United Way also taught me a lot about what their program does for the community. The United Way is an agency that touches so many individuals and helps make a positive impact within the community. One example of this was seen on Friday at the Boys and Girls Town Emergency Shelter. These kids celebrated a birthday, they celebrated my birthday. It was great to know that my birthday wouldn't only make my day better, but that all of those kids days would be made. This brought me the most amount of joy from the trip. It also caused the best birthday that I have ever had to occur.
This trip was also a great tool for the United Way to prove to people just how much they impact the community. I called my dad on my birthday (Friday of the trip) and told him about all of the awesome things that I had gotten to experience while on the trip. He informed me that he used to donate to the United Way, but stopped because of a scandal that had occurred within the organization in the 80's. He had lost hope in the United Way. However, my father informed me that I had convinced him that the organization had turned around. He was going to start donating again, because he now saw and understands what United Way does for the community. I love this because my energy and experience could help cause change for a future individual that is involved with United Way!
Jordan Upchurch, Trip Leader