by Maya Wernikoff, Ella Swimmer, & Andrew Stern
Participants, Mitzvah Corps New Orleans 2014
From July 2nd to July 3rd, we were volunteering with the Lower 9th Ward Village in the Lower 9th Ward community of New Orleans. This town was heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina. Over this two-day time period, we learned about the importance of a strong,
hopeful community and how to maintain it, even through an extremely difficult time period.
The jobs we were given entailed us to mow lawns, clean garages, organize shelves, and cut down weeds and grass from overgrown lots. No matter what task we were given, it was extremely strenuous, and made a huge impact. At some points, the impact of our work was so strong we could even see a visible difference from the beginning of the day. The work was hard, hot, and required full exertion of our energy. Though we might have been complaining at the time about our discomfort, we all could agree in the end that what we had accomplished was extremely rewarding and taught us all valuable lessons.
The man who guided us through the suns scorching rays was Mack, a man who had turned his life around after Katrina. In the years since the disaster, he has dedicated his every waking moment to preserving the community. Mack runs the Lower 9th Ward Village, and taught us how important it is to be proud of where you come from and discover what really matters in your life. Mack showed us it is possible to change your path and perspective from someone who is self centered to someone who is open minded. We spent about an hour reflecting on what we had gained from this experience. Though the jobs we preform
ed were similar, we are all taking away very different lessons from this experience.