This past winter break I decided to be a participant on my third alternative break in my college career (prior to this one, I had led one). Now as you continue reading this blog post just know that no matter how I put words together to describe this experience, nothing will live up to the life changing experience I truly did have.
I spent a week in Omaha, Nebraska at a juvenile rehabilitation center called Youth Links. No exaggeration- That place changed me forever. We spent all day long with the kids, just like them. Eating the food they ate, being stuck in between the same cement walls, and listening to the same rules they did.
Coming into this experience I was very nervous on how the kids at Youth Links would react to me, but that could not have been further from the truth. Over the course of one week I gained a relationship with one 12 year-old boy that I will never forget. We currently write letters back and phone and those letters literally mean the world to me.
Our service consisted of leadership activities, ice breakers, and learning techniques mostly related to the kids thinking about their future. In the situation that they are in, it is very easy for them to have no hope. One of their favorite parts was when we held mock interviews. It was amazing
On the very last day we had a Christmas Party filled with rootbeer floats, a white-elephant party, and Christmas card making. The little boy that I became close with I knew was acting secretive and come to find out he made me my own personal Christmas card. You better believe I cried!
Service comes in so many forms, and this trip came in the form of being mentors to youth in a juvenile rehabilitation center. It’s amazing where life can take you sometimes, and for me I learned not only about myself but where I could see myself in the future. Helping the juvenile system.