Church's youth help with recovery in New OrleansThe onslaught of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina left the greater New Orleans area in such a shambles that today, almost four years later, there is still much work to be done. Wednesday, 30 students from Mitchell’s First Lutheran Church arrived in the New Orleans area to do their part in assisting with recovery efforts.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
The onslaught of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina left the greater New Orleans area in such a shambles that today, almost four years later, there is still much work to be done.
Wednesday, 30 students from Mitchell’s First Lutheran Church arrived in the New Orleans area to do their part in assisting with recovery efforts.
The youth, along with five adult leaders, make up part of a group of 1,800 from the South Dakota synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church. The size of South Dakota’s delegation makes it the largest to make the trip.
“I think South Dakota will make an impact and a statement,” said Anne Anderson, director of youth ministries at the First Lutheran Church. “There’s a lot of work still left to do.”
Between the delegation’s arrival and its departure Monday, the youth will attend church services, work with a local artist to create a mural and visit a plantation and former slave auction site.
With a theme of “Jesus, Justice and Jazz,” the program is designed to not only give Mitchell kids the chance to assist with the recovery efforts in New Orleans, but also to expand the teens’ cultural horizons, Anderson said.
“We’re going to meet lots of people of different backgrounds and colors and sizes and shapes,” Anderson said.
But it will be up to each student to determine what they’ll bring back from the trip.
“I think everyone will get something different out of the trip,” Anderson said. “Some kids will just come back with some memories of a good time in the Big Easy, where others will say ‘Hey, this changed my life.’ ”
To raise the $30,000 necessary for the trip, the students delivered phone books and held car washes and auctions. Anderson said the largest amount of funding came from “investors” who, in return for a monetary donation, will receive an invitation to a private picnic at which the kids will recount their New Orleans experience.
Investors also will receive either a postcard or letter from a teen participating in the trip.
Trevor Flemmer had never been to New Orleans. Before leaving on the two-day bus trip Monday, he said he was excited to begin the experience.
“(I’m looking forward to) seeing all the different cultures and seeing how different it is out there,” said Flemmer, 16. “I could see some things that could change my life.”