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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Our Favorite Memories From Community Service California

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Wednesday was our last day volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. Everyone worked as a team and ran different booths at the Penny Carnival for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club. The club members had a great time at the face painting booth where Cat, Michaela, Rachel, and Zoe painted hearts, flowers, and dinosaurs on their faces. Their eyes lit up when they saw what the girls created. Tons of fun was had at the “ball in the hole” booth where Cameron, Maia, and Will ran the game and eventually gave out all of their prizes. Sydney and Devon led the “dot drop” and helped the kids drop their quarters in the right spot in order to win the biggest prizes. Macie, Haley, and Hope ran the cupcake walk, which was a yummy version of musical chairs with the winners being awarded a cupcake. It was a delicious ending to a fun game. In the gym, Jake, Jacob, and Nick ran the free throw station and gave the winners basketballs. Finally, Madi and Alison ran the soccer goal station which was a blast. Everyone had a fantastic last day with the kids and we were really proud of them – but the fun didn’t end with the carnival.

That night we went to the Santa Monica Promenade and Pier. After dinner we all met up and surprised trip leader Teddy with a flash mob to celebrate his birthday. The trip members’ hard work and secret planning really paid off!!!!

Universal

On Thursday we went to Universal Studios for our last day in Los Angeles.  it was really neat to explore the sound studios for shows like The Voice and Desperate Housewives. After a day of fun at Universal we had our last group dinner together at Buca de Beppo where everyone met Bella Throne from Shake It Up .

What an incredible ending to an incredible trip!

As a way to say their goodbyes the trip members wanted to express some of their fondest memories from their experience on their trip:

Jacob: The most memorable part was walking around the streets of Hollywood, seeing the Hollywood sign, and eating at Mel’s Diner – that was the night when I really got to know the members of my group and socialize.

Jake:  One of the most memorable parts was the Orange County Rescue Mission team at Trader Joes, the great hike, and Teddy’s birthdays surprise.

Will : One of the most memorable moments of the trip was when I convinced our waiter that it was Joelle’s birthday and Teddy and Melodie were engaged.

Macie: Although every part of the trip has truly fantastic, I found that the time I spent playing with the kids at the Boys and Girls club was by far my favorite. The feeling after making a kid smile was one of the best feelings. On Wednesday when we were saying our goodbyes to the kids one of the girls that I had grown especially close to began to cry because she was sad about me leaving. This made me realize what I did truly made a huge difference in these kids’ lives and made me feel accomplished.

Madi: My favorite memory of the trip is the morning song. We listened to it every morning and now every time I hear it I will think of all the fun times everyone had together on the trip.

Michaela: My favorite memory from the trip was working at the Orange County Rescue Mission. I wasn’t expecting it to be truly as fun as it really was, and I loved that such a little thing could make such a big difference. Specifically, I liked when on the end of the last day after asking for donations at Trader Joes, my group had forty dollars from people who had just donated money. We went to the supermarket and grabbed about seven packs of water, and we had so much fun trying to fit all the food in the car as we rode back. I really felt like we accomplished something amazing.

Hope: My favorite parts were going to Venice beach and really becoming friends with the other trip members. I also enjoyed working in the warehouse at Orange County Rescue Mission and seeing how every ones’ efforts make such a huge difference along with the food drives.

Zoe: Out of everything on this trip, one of my true favorite things was winning the food drive. It was so great to see how much people really cared to donate to the Orange County Rescue Mission and seeing the workers at the warehouse getting so excited when we weighed the food which was over 3,000 pounds in total for both days. I really felt like we all made a huge difference in people’s lives and that made me feel amazing about others and myself.

Rachel: My favorite memory from the trip was working at the Boys and Girls club. I was nervous going into it but the second we arrived, seeing the energy in the room, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. The kids were such an inspiration to see. They were all so kind and always had a smile on their face even after all they had been through. Spending time with them and seeing the impact of our three days of work really inspired me to do more for the people around me. I never expected to make such an impact on any of the kids, but in the end, saying goodbye was such so hard.

Haley: My favorite memory was working for the Orange County Rescue Mission. We got to see the great facility they had for all of the homeless people, and we also got to see how much progress some of the people had made by getting a job. Not only did we see where all of the people stayed, but we ran a food drive for two days and packaged some of the food as well. We collected food, such as cans and then got to deliver it back to the facility. I used to just pass by the people asking me to help out, which truthfully sounds very rude – but I learned from this experience that people are taking time out of their lives to help other people survive.

Maia: Although there were many memorable moments on this trip, the one that will stand out to me the most was the morning song “The Biggest Man in Los Angeles”. We listened to it every morning in the car, and it always got us ready and pumped up for the day. By the end of the trip, we all knew the words and would sing along to it. Every time I think of the trip, I will think of the morning song.

Sydney: My favorite memory was when we went to Boys and Girls Club. It was so nice and special to see how just a few minutes of undivided attention made the club members so happy. I remember one girl was crying when we were leaving just because she was going miss us so much.

Devon: Although there were many memorable moments throughout this trip, one that really sticks out to me is when we were doing a food drive at Trader Joe’s for the Orange County Rescue Mission. Along with collecting a bunch of non-perishable food items we also collected $50 of donations. We decided to buy about 150 bottles of water. Not only did we win the competition for collecting the most amounts of food and water, but we also collected a great amount of non-perishable food for the Orange County Rescue Mission

Cameron: My favorite part of the community service was visiting the Boys and Girls club.  After my visit, I became much more thankful for what I had and that we should utilize the resources that were given to us to help the less fortunate. It was very eye opening. I also thought the food drive was very fun. We loaded the van packed with food – it was incredible to see how generous people were. I will miss this trip and the memories that came along with it.

Alison: There were many memorable moments on this trip, but the most significant was when we did the food drive at the local supermarkets for the Orange County Rescue Mission.  It was amazing to see the amount of cans and other non-perishable food we were able to collect and how excited we were.  If we were that excited to collect the food, I can only imagine how excited the people at the Orange County Rescue Mission were to actually receive the food.  This made me more aware of the importance of giving back to the community and made me realize how simple acts can go a long way.

Cat: My favorite memory was working with the kids at the Boys and Girls club. It made me feel good that I was able to bring a smile to their face, and they made me smile too. I also really enjoyed volunteering for the Orange County Rescue Mission at the grocery store. I was very impressed by how much people donated.

Nick: My favorite memory was winning the food drive competition at the Orange County Rescue Mission.

We are all so sad our trip has come to an end, but the memories will last forever.

The Westcoast Blogger

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