Community Collaborations International (CCI) works with universities, high schools, youth programs, families, church groups and others to provide support for service oriented travel in the US and Internationally. Our goal is to place volunteers where they are needed most and to provide a safe and fulfilling volunteer experience.
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Article re: One Group's trip through CC:
Waveland, Miss., is more than 1,000 miles away. But the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's influence there isn't finished.
During winter break more than 90 UNL students, faculty and staff members traveled to Waveland, a Gulf Coast town of about 7,000, to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
On Friday evening about 80 of those trip participants gathered to share their experiences with approximately 20 other UNL administrators, faculty and staff members. Afterward, students gathered to discuss how they could continue their work in Mississippi.
When Katrina plowed its way through the South in late August, it wiped out entire towns, displaced hundreds of thousands and became one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history. During the trip participants continued efforts to clear debris, rebuild homes and churches and listen to residents' survival stories.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs James Griesen applauded the student participants for learning early in life the rewards of volunteerism.
"There's no better feeling in life than being of service to others," Griesen said.
Two faculty members and two students did their best to describe the trip on behalf of the entire group.
Phyllis Larsen, an advertising senior lecturer, talked about how the students built relationships and stepped outside their comfort zones as they picked up trash, hung drywall, moved heavy furniture and tore down old buildings.
Larsen said the service trip also made students more engaged.
"It was dirt-under-your-fingernails real," Larsen said. "Our only power tools were our muscles and our brains."
Allen Ratliff, a sophomore English and sociology major, said the trip challenged him to grow.
"I was able to go down and see just something I wouldn't have otherwise been able to see," Ratliff said.
After showing a three-minute video clip of their experiences and ending the presentation, trip participants gathered to discuss how they could continue to help the Waveland residents.
The meeting was a continuation of a group brainstorm the participants had during one of the last nights of their service trip. During the meeting, participants said they didn't want to just go home and tell people about what how they helped others – they wanted to keep helping.
After going through a number of ideas on how to raise funds and spread awareness about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the group agreed to start a smaller task force to implement the ideas.
Some ideas included having a photo exhibit of the trip in the Rotunda Gallery of the Nebraska Union, holding a tool drive and raising funds during the spring football game.
During the meeting, Linda Moody, assistant director of Student Involvement, announced arrangements were being made to send another group of students on a relief trip to Waveland during spring break.
Emily Snodgrass, a senior elementary education major and relief trip planner, said the goal of the meeting was to harness the students' enthusiasm for service in the area.
"I think that it was important to really make the most of the energy and passion that students on the trip felt and transform that into action," Snodgrass said.
"We're not done. - Nobody is finished. We left Waveland, yes, but our hearts and passion to serve them has not."