Neah Bay, Washington
Located in the North-Western corner of Washington, Neah Bay is a site renowned for its beauty and history. Situated on the coast where the Makah tribe have lived since pre-colonial times, the Neah Bay team took a cultural plunge into tribal life on the Makah Reservation while working in elementary schools and providing residents with service projects.
"My most memorable moment came when we listened to a prominent member of the Makah community (an older man from a whaling family) speak about the importance of whaling to the Macah people and how the last few decades have led to the steep regulation and political red tape that exists today. The passion with which he spoke about the topic was inspiring and helped me understand the issue of whale hunting from an entirely different perspective." -Anonymous
Jonestown is a construction site where students serve the local community by renovating houses. The group paints, repairs roofs, porches and much more. They also build relationships with local children and the community as a whole
"While working in Jonestown we became well acquainted with those whose roofs we were rebuilding, and several members of the local community joined our efforts. In doing so they made us feel like we were truly welcomed into their community; friends lending a hand rather than outsiders there to do service. This hospitality was a great reminder of what is really important on trips like this one and throughout one's life." -Brian Gravelle
Students work in the urban center of Denver with the African Community Center, an organization that helps refugees from all over the world resettle in the Denver area. They spend time working in the local thrift store "Safari Seconds" and also tutor and teach English to local immigrants and refugees.
"Beyond serving in Denver, we were able to have personal time filled with games and reflection. The fact that 14 people signed up to commit themselves to others for a week meant that everyone was there to help and to grow. The growing came with learning from our experiences and from being vulnerable and open. Our group clicked because we were able to get beyond the chit chat and have the real conversations that drive people in life. It all starts with getting out of your comfort zone and being willing to reflect." -Ryan Inouye
The Knoxville group works with Operation Backyard doing everything from painting houses to yard work. They also work at the Boys and Girls Club located two blocks from the church where they stay during the week.
"My trip to Knoxville is something that is still impacting me. The people that I met, both in my group and in Tennessee, are some of the most amazing people I have ever been blessed to meet. The 14 of us flew across the country together barely knowing each other only to come together as a community. When we were up on the roof, tearing off shingles in 90 degree weather, nothing mattered except the fact that we were working together to do something for someone else. To me, that sense of community really can't be found anywhere else but service." -Katy Carnell
St. Louis, Missouri
The focus of the St. Louis group lies in serving at the St. Patrick's Center to assist their clients. Since 1983, this center has improved the lives of over 75,000 homeless men, women and children. St. Patrick's is a combination shelter providing a soup kitchen, dental clinic, job placement, and a job training center for the homeless in downtown St. Louis.
"Working with the homeless population in St. Louis was an incredible way to spend my Spring Break and I wouldn't trade it for anything. The experiences I had, the conversations I participated in, and the relationships I built had such an impact on me as a person and the role I play in the world. It teaches you that no matter how small the impact, every action counts." -Morgan Karney
Mission: Possible serves the Hill-Top neighborhood of Tacoma by partnering with the Guadalupe House (also known as Tacoma Catholic Worker). They also work at L'Arche, a community of adults with developmental disabilities. While at L'Arche, students work alongside the residents at the L'Arche Farm. At TCW students do special projects focusing on homeless outreach.
"Mission: Possible Tacoma provided me with direct insight into the systemic issue of homelessness and hunger in the United States. Through serving at the Guadalupe House I was confronted with both the societal causes and effects of homelessness, challenging me to recognize that the personal struggles of those I met were varied and unique, though they all resulted in great destitution. Overall, my experience in Tacoma led to a personal discovery of my vocational goals with more clarity than ever before and forced me to realize that the marginalized populations I worked with were far more like me than they were different." -Piper Sutherland
In this North Central Montana town, Mission: Possible serves children at the Blackfeet Boarding School and at the "Immersion School" at De La Salle.
"I went to Browning, Montana and volunteered at De La Salle Elementary School working with 5th graders all week. I would help them with assignments, talk about the issues they were having, and just be their friend for the week. Coming from a completely different background than these kids, it was hard to know what they were going through but all they needed was someone to talk to and a friend to lift them up. I was able to be there for the kids during this week and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life." -Erik Cone
In the Rose City, Mission: Possible works with non-profit organizations as they address the basic needs of the vast homeless population in the city. A few work sites include the Portland Downtown Chapel and the Blanchet House of Hospitality.
"My group worked with a variety of programs that give love and support to the street population in the downtown area. The nature of the trip allowed me to become close to the population I was serving; I have never had the opportunity to become so immersed and emotionally involved in a service project. Unlike much of the other service I have participated in, this trip left me with a desire to really take action and learn more about the issues I was exposed to over the course of the short week we were there." -Megan Batty
This year, Mission: Possible's primary partner was the Community Council of Idaho, which works for Civil Rights Advocacy. Students help Latino families and migrant workers, assisting the council as needed.
"One morning, we stuffed over 700 Easter eggs that the staff at Caldwell Housing Authority were going to hand out to the kids who live there. In the afternoons, we volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in Nampa. This proved to be immediately impactful; it was amazing to see how quickly the kids bonded with us, many becoming very attached to members of our group. One girl would come and sit by me at snack every day and ask me to help her with homework or play games with her after. She was adorable and pretty quiet but she always stayed right by my side until she had to leave." -Emily Pierre
San Francisco, California
San Francisco focuses on environmental justice issues and works with the parks conservancy at sites overlooking the beautiful bay area and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are opportunities to work at one of the largest farmers markets in San Francisco and to work at local urban farms as well.
"It felt really good to help the environment and learn methods of altering my everyday life in order to conserve what resources we have left. I felt inspired to spread the word to my friends and community members upon returning and now have a new outlook on what I can accomplish outside of the classroom." -Anonymous