As tour week approaches, Wartburg students are preparing for another round of service trips.
Andrew Richlen, a three-year veteran service trip leader, said he will be leading the largest trip he has ever led, a group of 19, in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“We plan on volunteering at a wolf sanctuary and we are told we will get to have some interaction with some wolves as well,” Richlen said.
Richlen said every experience he has had on service trips has been different and not one has been better than the other.
“I would encourage students to go on service trips because of the eye-opening experiences and the ability the trip has to bring unexpected people together,” Richlen said.
“Some great friends I have today are people that I never would have expected to befriend if not for the trip.”
Alaina Feltes, a senior at Wartburg, will be leading a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina, where the group will be working with Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM).
Feltes said the work focuses on providing upgrades and repairs to homes that need to be more accessible for the elderly or handicapped.
“Making these repairs and upgrades have a major impact on the homeowners and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to impact lives during this week of service,” Feltes said.
Feltes said the diversity of this trip’s participants is incredible with different ages and countries represented.
“I am looking forward to learning more about each of my peers and improving the lives of Wilmington residents,” Feltes said.
“I am also really excited about working with WARM because the work we will be doing will make immediate differences. We get to watch a house be transformed into a safe, more accessible home and know it was because of our efforts.”
Feltes said the WARM volunteers serve low-income households that cannot afford or are incapable of doing the accessibility upgrades themselves.
The changes that are made reduce the risks of falls, home accidents and illnesses, and lower the potential to be displaced from the home due to life-threatened safety issues.
Richlen said he is looking forward to sharing a final Wartburg memory with a bunch of great people.
“Seeing others come out of their comfort zones and having fun is something I really enjoy,” Richlen said.
Feltes said service trips are eye-opening in more ways than one and she encourages students to participate.
“It gets students away from campus and to cities with circumstances unlike Waverly, whether it be crime, poverty, or damage from natural disasters. It is a chance to be a part of something big and to make a lasting impact,” Feltes said.
“Service trips allow you to learn more about yourself, specifically what you value. There is so much diversity and so much to appreciate. A service trip allows people of different backgrounds to unite for one common goal.”
Another group will travel to Wilmington, North Carolina to focus on hunger and poverty related issues.
Other students will be traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana to assist residents with disaster relief and Denver, Colorado to work with Cope Boys & Girls Club.