When I entered the town of Panama City, I was saddened and shocked. I didn’t truly have any expectations for the devastation that would greet us prior to our arrival but when I saw what Hurricane Michael had done to this town about eight months ago I realized what work we would be doing and I fully understood the seriousness and rigor of it. The way I viewed the trip as a whole changed completely. Though grueling, the first day of work excited me for what else was to come and I can easily say the second day of work didn’t disappoint either. My work has primarily consisted of painting. I have painted trims and a whole bathroom with my peers and have enjoyed the task that has been at hand. I honestly didn’t realize how much I would enjoy, even appreciate, doing a task most would feel indifferent to. I found such a rewarding feeling through this seemingly simple task from the fact that I could so easily see my progress and hard work right in front of me. The primary source of my motivation though was the thought of the impact I would make. The fact that I am able to play such a small part in a force that really would move mountains is an incredible honor. This service program has introduced me to a new sense of teamwork. This new sense has made me understand the real and true importance of helping others. I am putting this new perception to complete use on this trip and in the work we’re doing. The past two days have definitely been tiring but they have been so fun and I am ecstatic to continue to be a part of this well-working machine.

– Sophie Castillo