Crossing over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge while listening to our group’s theme song, “Sweet Disposition”, I felt myself beginning to look at the Camden trip as a whole instead of daily increments. I realized how not only was our trip remarkable regarding the volunteer aspect, but also phenomenal in the friendships I’m making and can take home with me. At the start of the trip, I found myself anxious and scared with being out of my comfort zone. I also found that my uneasiness made me less willing to have an open mind. Within the first half of the trip, I tried to gather what I was learning, develop the life lessons I was obtaining from those who have little to nothing or nothing at all. I found myself holding back from the new people I was encountering. Because of my awkwardness, I reached a mental block and found myself unable to collect my thoughts.

It was through talking to my group members and truly reflecting on service that my uneasiness dissipated. I find myself waking up with an open mind, ready for anything. Each service option has something different to offer and something different to contribute. I realized that I needed to throw myself into the experience without any limitations. And so I did. I feel now, (as it is a day before our trip comes to an end), that the lessons I learned don’t require soul searching; finding them only requires listening or what is here called “ministry of presence.” I understand now that making a difference doesn’t mean playing Superman. It simply calls for giving someone the time of day.

I’ve been involved in service opportunities throughout most of my education and I feel like it took something like ASB to make me grasp the reality of situations. For example, I’m in Camden. I’m in what is critically acclaimed to be the most dangerous and poorest the country. It’s scary, but it’s real and there’s no escaping the reality. Today, I played with a little baby boy, Wamir, in the homeless shelter, New Visions. And to me, he wasn’t homeless. He wasn’t poor. He was like every other one year old sharing the same right to things that most of us take for granted: an education, clothes, a home. He is the future just as much as anyone else.

So, to my teammates, I thank you for helping me break out of my shell and thank you for the experience. Together, we truly have made a difference.