Where I work, Stride, is treating me well. They are a small organization but they make a huge difference to the families they help. We just finished up a three month long process of sending out and collecting wish lists for Christmas, just last week the gifts came in from several different organizations. We sorted them, made sure each one had what was asked for and filling in for anything missing. We check them twice and wrote their name on each of the bags for the families. All the children of the 70 families we got 4 gifts ranging from a scooter to a giftcard. With some of the families having 5 children we filled our entire basement with gifts. All of the staff worked during their off time and sometimes stayed late to work on sorting and checking. We have a strong attitude to work whenever we can. I feel very comfortable in my work place and am good friends with everyone there.

Above is everyone who works at Stride with a Santa and a few elves  


Merry Christmas Everyone 


A Celebration of Life, of Growth, and a Passing of Year (My Sister’s Birthday)

Then and now, October 9th was and is the most important day to me. A birthday; a celebration of life, of growth, and a passing of year.  These fundamentals will never change for me.

When I was younger, I realize what kind of person Louisa was and what amazing things she could become. I began to see how hard she pushed herself, how she was great at creating friendships; it was too easy to become jealous of her and so I did for phase of my life. It was sickening, so I joined her before jealously became a part of me. I never want my family to know, especially my sister, so I only gave a large compliment every few months. I looked forward to Louisa’s Birthdays with joy of seeing a year pass and how much she had grown in it. I celebrated her life and enjoyed it and I always will.

I love Louisa and all she is, she may be 11 forever to me but she is in her friends, brother, mother, father, classmates. I celebrate her growing within us, shaping us as we grow and flourish with each passing year. And with each passing year I celebrate her with chocolate on this day, and this up incoming year I plan to let her flourish inside by going outside my comfort zone and trying new things.

Watch her grow in this video, and know that Louisa never stops growing with people she has touched.

Orientation, it went by quick and ended in a BANG

A few nights ago we said goodbye, to go into a year of experience with the power to change a lifetime. The last two days have been amazing, Saturday was one of my favorite birthdays ever. With a talent show and a crazy dance party to boot, I could not have asked for better way to celebrate. I spent much of that day finding people on facebook and making sure I could contact people while they would be half a world away.

Sunday was a great end to the week. I went to church only 20 minutes away from where I live, I knew the pastor David Frost  from Holmes Camp and I saw an old camper of mine.  It was a small church with a congregation of maybe 20.  When it was my turn to speak, I stayed true myself and went up without a plan. I spoke of where I came from and pointed out my connection with Holmes. That I will working at refugee camp/thrift shop in Denver. As I explain how I will be working with people who have run from their home do to harsh situations, I share with them my promise to respect their culture and learn who they are before I try to help them transition into our culture and move on. I ended on a passage my mother showed me in the beginning of August, 1 Timothy 4:12 “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity.” Being one of the youngest YAV this year it was perfect to represent the up incoming year. It felt wonderful and natural speaking without reading from a script. During fellowship afterward many of the congregation complimented me on my speech and ask if I had some training. I simply answered “No, I knew to have around three points and talk about whatever came to heart.”

So far, so GREAT!

Wow, its only been 1.5 days and I have met so many people and have learned so much. I spent the first day of orientation greeting people and making bracelets. I met the four girls I will be with in Denver, each of them are kind and welcoming in their own way. By end of the first night it was starting to feel similar to staff training at Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, I could feel everyone was there to experience something new and a year to last a life time. There are 73 YAVs here many more then Holmes staff and I started out not knowing a soul there quickly I had a least shook hands or said hi to everyone there.



Today was long but really eye opening, we spent the majority of the on cultural dynamics. I have worked with people from over seas, so I thought I had a pretty good idea on what it was all about. It did not take long to understand I have only have seen the tip of the ice burg. We may all understand something simple, such as rice, however what it means to us and how prepare it can be drastically different. Rice can be it own meal, cooked in pork fat and some salt, or simple plain rice steamed and side to main meal of the night. If your sick, getting over might going to a Doctor and getting some meds. With patient confidentiality it very solo process with only you know what all the details are. In many cultures its a important social aspect to show their support when someone is weak with homemade fever reducers and tucking into to bed

This is going to be crazy, you can quote me on that