Unification News for September 2002

Service For Peace Testimony - Down By the Riverside

by Hyosung Loum, 15

The July service projects by several SFP volunteer groups went exceptionally well. One group went gardening, another helped to beautify and clean up a park, and the last group went to outreach to the community through a small rally. All three projects were successful in their own way.

The gardening project felt like it got off to a slow start but in the end when they glanced back at all they were able to accomplish project participants realized that a good amount of work had been accomplished. They went down to a small branch of the International House of Prayer in NE. First before everyone started working, the kids had to get to know each other. They had volunteers from both groups, SFP and IHOP, sit next to each other and split them into groups of four. The groups had to find out about their members and talk about them to the other groups. "It was really fun meeting new people" says Kolson Pickard of DC1. Most of the kids talked about things like music and sports and where they were from. Most of IHOP volunteers were from Nigeria. After the kids got to know each other, they went straight to work.

The water in the house was not working properly so the kids had to get water in order to plow the soil from a nearby creek. The soil was not ready for growing yet so the whole day consisted of irrigating the area to soften the soil. After the days' work finished people still seemed to be inspired to give. "I gave my love to new people and the community and I talked to the earth." Says Kirsten of DC3. We all took a group photo and got ready to go home. The gardening project got people closer together. Dorris the head of the project says "I started this gardening project because I love children and I want to keep them off the streets."

The Park cleaning project was quite successful as well. The project consisted of trimming back branches, cleaning streets, clearing leaves, picking up trash, cleaning out a building, dishwashing, and sweeping. "There were many bottles and cans on the streets and in the park that we had to clean up" says Taisuke, leader of DC3. The volunteers really invested into the project together. They were split into pairs so they could get to know each other but due to the high amount of work that needed to be done, some of them did not have enough time to truly get to know their partner. " I felt that I couldn't really talk to my partner because we were working so much." Says Jeung Ju of DC3. The cleaners finished a little early and played games to help build closer relationships until it was time to leave the project site. Everyone was proud of the work they had done. "It was a stepping stone for other service to come," says Tammy of DC3.

To begin the rally the SFP members started to give out flyers to people on the streets. They were located around where the Million Family March had taken place. They played music, watched young break-dancers express their creativity during the rally and shared the vision of SFP. The rally was a real learning experience for the kids involved about being prepared and planning for success before you hold an event. Although the rally wasn't quite as successful as the members had hoped, they felt satisfied in a lesson learned. "If at first you don't succeed, try try again" says Victoria of DC3. "The rally was an experiment and a starting point for bigger rallies." says Danny of DC3.

Overall the projects done over the past few days went pretty well. Many people are looking forward to doing more service projects for the remaining days left of the "Summer of Service". We all look forward to helping other people and continuing to work with the larger community in Washington DC.

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