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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Service Learning

Service Learning

Kentucky: Spring Break '10


View photos from Kentucky

Words cannot even describe the amount of fun and learning my group and I experienced when we drove the 13 hours from St. Pete to Mount Vernon, Kentucky for Spring Break 2010. Working with the Appalachia: Science in the Public Interest Organization allowed us to add a learning component to our service for the week. Together, the eleven of us picked up trash off the side of the road, planted trees on a reclaimed mountaintop coal mine, and helped repair hiking trails in the mountains, but we also did so much more. Deb Bledsoe, the leader of ASPI, a recent cancer survivor and environmental enthusiast, drove us around eastern Kentucky, showing us Mount Vernon's lack of a sanitation department, the clean freshwater stream that people still drink from, and the devastating effects of coal mining in the region.

Cold, sleep deprived and constantly hungry, my group never complained once as we cleaned up next to highways and down ravines, making the landscape even more beautiful for the residents of Mount Vernon than it is naturally. Not only did we help others, however, we also helped ourselves. I am truly proud to say that I brought a group of eleven individuals together, pushed them through labor-intensive work for a straight week, and we still came home the happiest, closest group you could ever find. Leading a trip to Kentucky certainly changed my life for the better, pushing my limits and showing me exactly what I am able to do, both physically and emotionally. I am delighted that the eleven of us were able to provide such an important service for our own country, all the while learning about ourselves in the process.

View photos from Kentucky

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