a young age, I was taught that it’s important to help others. My parents told me there are plenty of people in the world who are less fortunate than I am, so, I wanted to make a difference [in the lives of others.] This was my second trip to serve the people of West Virginia [and] I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences [the trip] gave me.
Living in the Presbyterian church in Summerville and working in the house of Jason in the Netti area made us [better understand] the effects of poverty among the West Virginia communities. After our trip, I was curious about the history behind West Virginia’s poverty and I [learned] that West Virginia’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation. 2017 estimates indicate that 19% of the state’s population lives in poverty, exceeding the national average of 13%. I absolutely agree because of what I saw in some of the West Virginia neighborhoods.
The seven of us had an experience of social, economic and cultural aspects of rural poverty through serving and speaking with the people who lived in the region. We had a supervisor who helped us with the tools and made our experiences fun and enjoyable. Tim (our supervisor) is an example of how people should love unconditionally and help others. Tim is the one who introduced us to Jason and helped us in helping him.
We had two major projects in Jason’s home: converting two bathrooms into a bedroom, and converting a church pulpit area into to a flat floor since the house was first a church. While serving others, we had the opportunity to share our lives through service, prayer, reflection and time that we spent together. West Virginians were so grateful even for the little things we did for them. They cared about our wellbeing and were grateful for all of us to be serving in their midst.