“Bearkat All Paws In” brings community together
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 23:03
More than 700 students gathered to help the Huntsville community on Saturday for Bearkat All Paws In. I was one of those 700.
Let me be honest—I dreaded going. I didn’t feel like waking up at 7:30 a.m. to help out. I wanted to sleep in like everyone else on a Saturday, especially after staying up until 3:30 a.m. the night before. I figured, "The other people from my organization won’t show up, so why should I?" But you know what? Something inside me told me to go. So I rolled out of bed and walked to the Lowman Student Center.
When I got there, I kept thinking about how long the check-in line was and how cold it was. Once I made it to my group, there were only three of us standing there with an empty manila folder with our assigned address written on the front of it.
The three us on embarked on an hour long journey to our destination, thrown off course thanks to our GPS. Feeling discouraged, we made a pact that if we didn’t find our location by 11, we would go get IHOP. (I know it sounds selfish but bear with me).
Finally, after driving aimlessly for an hour, we found the park. An organization, International Hispanic Association, had already been there for an hour, cleaning up trash and raking leaves so when we arrived, we felt like a bunch of late a-holes who hate the community.
Just as we began to feel like outsiders and loners, we realized we were not. The organizations’ members gladly introduced themselves with bright smiles and kind voices. Our SGA site leader greeted us, empathized with our situation and gave us our assignment.
The three of us, as well as the IHA group members, cleaned up the park for the remainder of the time. We scooped leaves, held open trash bags, raked piles upon piles of leaves as well as fallen branches and thorns, and even shoveled leaves when we ran out of rakes. Though the work seemed mundane, each one of us became dedicated to the tasks, helping the appearance of the quaint park in the community.
Each one of us took turns doing the work and found ways to stay busy. If we weren’t laboring over a pile of leaves with a rake, we were shoveling leaves into trash bags. Many of us went to help the others who were struggling with a task just to give a helping hand.
Through the thorns, sticks, millions of leaves and endless raking were smiles and the sounds of laughter and joy from every one of the volunteers. I regretted how foolish I had been, dreading community service with people I didn’t know.
We loaded the dozens of trash bags up and we all began to get to know each other, learning where everyone was from and what they’re involved with on campus. I couldn’t believe how these students didn’t judge us for being late and, instead, were happy that we even came to help clean up the Huntsville community.
In all honesty, the people I met Saturday made my day and I believe we helped the community get one step closer to its goal.
Bearkat All Paws in was an enlightening experience. It taught me the importance of helping the community and it helped me meet people I wouldn’t normally come in contact with. I hope everyone can become involved with this project and experience what I experienced.
I loved going online afterwards and seeing others from Sam Houston experiencing and documenting the same joyful experience that I did, an experience that stemmed from meeting new people and coming together to make a difference.