ntorres@rollins.edu

About ntorres@rollins.edu

Hi my name is Nelson Torres. I am currently a sophomore, majoring in International Relations. One look at me and you can tell that I am not the normal college student. I spent 9 years in the Marine Corps and after realizing my passion for helping others on missionary trips in south east Asia I decided to make the leap and get out of the military to pursue a degree that would enable me to make the greatest impact. Leadership is what brought me here to Rollins and in the future I hope to make a global impact with the knowledge I receive.

Expanding my Horizons

After tonights dinner and reflections I believe that my previous post might have been a bit premature to say the least. Given past promises at the conclusion of service events past I was quick to “jump the gun”, but after tonights presentation I think that it would be wise for me to reconsider the projected outcome.

 

With that said the self proclaimed act of service that I have agreed upon has been the expansion of service  based volunteers by using both the bracelets that we constructed with bright eye catching colored beads. The other will be through the various organization that I am already apart of and any in the foreseeable future. Not only will this help garner new citizens of change, but will enable me to step out of my comfort zone and enable real progress to be made internally .

Fun While it Lasted

This our fourth and final day of being together we pack up and leave for orlando, but first we must stop off for breakfast and enjoy our last meal for the time being. Here we spend most of the time joking and laughing as we relive the prior 72 hours, and it dawns on me that the fun might be over. Thats right I said it, like many trips before I have grown close to a group of people only to have them fade off in the distance. While these actions might be unintentional it still happens, and not due to mean spirited individuals but because prioritize change, its human nature and its only natural that we adapt to them. I’m not one to be a downer and I didn’t start my draft in this direction but decided to send out this cautionary post instead. I hope that the break throughs, insight, experiences, and friendships that we have all formed throughout this trip stay with us and motivate individuals to stay active in the community and volunteer as often as physically, mentally, and emotionally possible and say this because it does take a toll in some way or another. As all ways I stand ready for the challenges ahead optimistically hoping to see familiar faces standing by my side.

 

Mission Accomplished

Having completed day two at the house and day three of the class I can say without a doubt this is the closest group of people that I have encountered while at Rollins. Seeing everyone working together like a well oiled machine showed that everyone showed up this morning with a mission to accomplish. After the dust settled and the tools were put away we looked at our accomplishment and realized that we had literally “put a roof over someones head”.

After dinner tonight we had the pleasure of having dinner with the actual home owner and her cousin. Here we had the opportunity to speak about our experiences and our contributions to the event.

Tussling With More Than Trusses

In keeping with the tradition of the weeks immersion I awoke this morning sleep limited and ready to help make a family’s life a little better. Arriving at the site we were greeted with news that the project was postponed for an other two hours, which enabled us to make a quick detour to the beach. Here we engaged in two new group building games both of which were new to me, the first I enjoyed the second not so much. None the less they worked as they awakened the group and gave us the drive that we would need at the project. The objective for the day was to install the trusses for the roof. Everyone had their respective roles and some might have changed through out the day, but everyone pulled together to help install half of the houses main beams and we witnessed what a small group of people can accomplish if they all work together.

 

 

After taking a break at the hotel we regrouped and attended a guest speaker panel where we heard first hand accounts of the many ways a person can fall down the path of homelessness, and how the laws effecting homelessness often hinder those individuals from feeling human or even visible. The hardest part of tonight testimony was how easy one day a person can be living at the top and one costly mistake might send them on downward spiral and render them invisible for some time.

The Discomforting Truth

This morning began by rolling out of bed foggy, and sleep deprived from a long night of reading and preparing for the experience to come. Two and a half hours of sleep under my belt for the day we entered our room for the morning session of instructions and strength building exercises, and after a brief introduction we began communicating our thoughts on the required reading The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler. Sitting there in class during the discussion and series or team building exercises I was constantly reminded how hungry I was, in my quest to get a few more minutes of sleep I failed to leave enough time for breakfast. As I sat there trying to be a contributing  member of the group I could only focus on two things the first was how was I going to stay awake, second when was I going to eat? After reading The Working Poor I could see it would be hard to maintain productivity when your constantly going through a cycle of short sleep and missed meals due to being over worked and underpaid. I unwillingly set my self up to walk a mile in their shoes, needless to say I couldn’t be more relived when we were released for lunch.

The second half of our trip challenged our groups to feed 18 participants utilizing only $50, and our group was tasked with tonight’s dinner and side. Armed with less then $3 per person we set out for a high carb meal that would be both filling and a source of fuel for tomorrow’s evolution. The event was completed but only by using generic, store brand, and sale items something most of us were not used to doing everyday. I hope that as we grow this week in our service that we keep in open mind and possibly teach others when we return to our homes.