Monday, March 22, 2010

University of Idaho Volunteers

Hey Ya’ll,

Life has been absolutely crazy down here on the gulf. I’m working on posting everything we’ve been doing.

This last week, a group from the University of Idaho came to Bay Saint Louis for Alternative Service Break. The group leader was the Dean of Students, Bruce Pitman, and it was really neat getting to know him. I was able to show him just how beneficial this internship has been and convince him that this program needs to continue at the University of Idaho. It was also neat getting to know U of I students that I had never met before. They were an energetic group that put their hearts into everything they did. I loved each and every one of them. I joined them for reflection every night they were here and really enjoyed seeing them experience the emotions that are connected to this kind of work. They realized why hurricane relief is still so important even 5 years after the storm. I know all of them were affected by their trip in a positive way, and I have faith that they will continue doing good in the world.

The video I posted right before this post is actually a discovery the University of Idaho students made. This house was untouched until they stumbled upon it last week. The family had moved away because they were unable to find their home after Katrina. Luckily, U of I was able to recover some of their personal belongs and give some closure to the family. Be sure to watch the clip.

ASB is hands down the best program at U of I. Thank you to the students who gave up their spring breaks to make a difference. You definitely succeeded.  

xoxo, Fran

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I've only known these people for a little over a month, but they are some of my very closest friends.
(Megan, Rey, Heidi, Michelle, Me, Matt, Lindsay) xoxo

School After The Storm

A few days a week I volunteer at a local high school… mostly helping kids in the Algebra I class with there homework. This week I was lucky enough to meet a staff member who was the principal of the high school when Hurricane Katrina hit. Before talking to this woman, I guess I never really realized how much these students had been through.

Hurricane Katrina absolutely devastated Bay Saint Louis and the surrounding areas. The former principal told me school was out for two whole months. All materials were destroyed and most of the building needed to be redone. They eventually started having school in trailers on the property, but at that point in the recovery process, students were still living in tents and some had absolutely nothing. Even two or three years after the storm, there were still students living in these conditions. 

I just can’t even imagine…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Catch & Release

I’m stuck in bed… hurting, bored and definitely don’t want to do homework. Then I remembered something HILARIOUS that happened last week, and decided I should share it with you.

John is a construction supervisor/facilities manager here at Mission on the Bay. He is as “Mississippi” as you can get (I can’t really think of any other way to say it). He has a heavy southern accent, loves Jesus and doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap. I’ve learned to love him, but I’m not going to lie, I’m also pretty intimidated by him. I definitely would not want to be on John’s bad side.

Well, the other day, I was minding my own business. I had just finished lunch and was talking with a few other volunteers. All of a sudden Lindsay came up to me and said John needed to take me somewhere after lunch and it was REALLY important. Everyone sitting around me was saying things like, “uhh ohh” or “wear something that can get muddy”… things like that. Even the director of Mission on the Bay said, “Well, I guess it’s your time Fran.” They all knew what was about to happen.

So I grabbed my jacket (and my camera) and met John out by his truck. I knew I couldn’t say no. As I was climbing in he told me to wait and to come to the back of the truck. I peered into the truck bed and noticed a fairly large cage… and then I noticed something inside the cage… A RACCOON!

So I guess John’s neighbor is an elderly woman who has a raccoon problem. They always come into her yard and eat the cat food on her porch. She came to John a while ago and asked if he could help her with this problem. A lot of people just shoot raccoons, but John chooses to catch and release. He sets up cages and attracts the raccoons with honey buns. According to John, a honey bun to a raccoon is like “cocaine to a crack addict.”

John showed me that poor little raccoon and said, “You wanna come with me to set him free?” Who could say no?! I was so flattered that John invited me to come along, and I’m so glad he had it in his heart to set it free.

We drove out to the woods and let him go. I had to stand back, and John opened the cage from the truck bed. He was gone before I knew it. I bet there aren’t too many people who can say they’ve been raccoon catch and releasin’!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Well, I’m proud to say I am now a member of the WHO DAT NATION! I can’t even explain how amazing it was to be in the gulf this Super Bowl season. Even though Bay Saint Louis is 45 minutes outside of New Orleans, the Saint spirit was alive! The game was awesome, and I’ve never enjoyed a Super Bowl so much. We set up a big screen and projector here at Mission on the Bay and had a little volunteer party. It was a good time!

The next day, a few of us traveled to New Orleans for the Saints Parade. Stephanie, Jake (two other Idaho interns), Rey (a long term volunteer), Matt (a construction supervisor), and I squeezed into Matt’s little Neon after work and made our way to the city. We sat for a good two hours in parade traffic, but it was worth every second. The streets were packed but we managed to get an awesome spot to watch the parade. It was so neat to be part of New Orleans that night. They deserved this win more than anyone. The players threw us beads, and luckily I was standing next to Jake (he’s really tall) so he was able to catch a ton! Drew Brees threw one to Stephanie, and I’m definitely a little jealous about that one! It was just a night full of adventure! Jake and I were even able to sneak into the Marriot to use the restroom. They were carding everyone, but we just walked in like we owned the place! Such a cool experience!

P.S. Thanks for the pictures Steph! I was too nervous to take my camera in such a big crowd!