By Nick Kettelkamp , Student at Iowa State
Coming from the Midwest, I was unsure of what to expect of a Southern state such as Mississippi. My experience at United Way’s Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi, MS has surpassed my expectations. The local community members are nothing but friendly, accepting, and very appreciative of our work. Many people question how we can make an impact on our society, but you have to just take the time and put forth the effort. Alternative Spring Breaks such as this one organized by United Way Worldwide and United Way of South Mississippi are a great way to do just that.
Our group, “The Biloxi Blues,” has had the opportunity to serve at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport. It has been a great experience to be able to help an organization that is devoted to inspiring young children through hands-on learning. Lynn Meadows is a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on volunteer work and donations. My team members and I have had the opportunity to serve by painting, landscaping, cleaning the exhibits and steam cleaning carpets in the three-story facility.
Lynn Meadows resides on six-acres which was in the need of landscaping and other beautification. We were able to spread mulch throughout the playground facilities, mulch the trees, and cut down scrub trees – all helping to improve the look of the Center. Although the work was challenging, our group was always up for the challenge and never complained. After seeing the improvement from the fruits of our labors, it really made the hard work worthwhile.