Mitzvah Corps of the South Alumni shares her experience in New Orleans with her congregation. The article can be found on page 5.
This summer, I participated in Mitzvah Corps of the South (MCS). For two weeks, July 20 to August 3, I, along with 29 other high school students from around the country, traveled to New Orleans to volunteer and to try to help rebuild the city.
It’s 102 degrees outside, the relentless rays of the sun are imprinting permanent tan-lines into my back, sweat is gushing out of every pore in my body, and I’m holding a machete. Simultaneously glancing at my scratched up legs, swatting away hoards of gnats, and hacking at the base of an invasive tree twice as tall as me, I feel a profound question rise from within my soul: why am I doing this?
No one necessarily needs to find his or her connection with God in a conventional prayer setting; that feeling can come anywhere, with anyone, at any time
Urban Mitzvah Corps (UMC) is an intense six-week program that offers exciting social justice opportunities in and around New Brunswick, New Jersey. Through that program, I learned the answer to this question (as have many other teens for nearly 40 years).
Over the course of my summer vacation as an incoming junior in high school, I was enabled with the tremendous opportunity to engage in a truly life-changing experience.