By: Kimberly Miller
Tori Hurst traveled for three weeks with the People to People Student Ambassador Program to New Zealand and Australia for a second time. Highlights of her trip were snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, holding a koala and petting kangaroos at the Lone Pine Koala Reserve, seeing “Lord of the Rings” scenery everywhere, and rappelling off of a 210-foot cliff in the Southern Alps.
Ryan Boyle spent his summer at Southern Dharma, a retreat center near Hot Springs, N.C. The center reflects many faith traditions, although all but two of the retreats were Buddhist and all involved meditation of some sort. When retreats weren’t happening, Ryan’s days consisted of cleaning the dorms, mowing the yard and staining the siding – a practice in and of itself.
Chris Metzloff spent his summer working at CooperRiis, a psychological healing farm in Mill Spring, N.C. CooperRiis incorporates a work program similar to that of Warren Wilson. Chris worked on CooperRiis’ kitchen, farm and housekeeping crews, along with doing other clinical tasks and organized evening activities. The primary goal was to help the residents whose mental illness had impeded their lives. These illnesses included schizophrenia, bipolar, severe depression and borderline personality disorder
Melissa Bertolo volunteered with the Dayton International Peace Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Because the museum did not have a permanent space, it used a “PeaceMobile,” an old RV that had been transformed into a museum. The exhibit for the summer was about the Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia, as this year is the 10th anniversary of the accords. Melissa scheduled the PeaceMobile’s appearance at various sites in and around Dayton. Melissa also helped found a program, Peace in the Parks, in which she and other museum members went to inner-city parks to talk to the children about peace and set up art projects.
Jordan Gregson worked with Appalachian Service Project, a faith-based nonprofit that works to improve the housing conditions for families and individuals living in the Appalachians. Jordan was one of about 30 volunteers who traveled to Anderson County, Tenn., (near Oak Ridge) for a week of service. He was also part of an 18-person teen delegation through Witness for Peace to Nicaragua. Where he attended an anti-CAFTA demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.
Kimberly Miller interned with Interfaith Worker Justice, a national organization that focuses on justice in the workplace. Kim was placed in Mississippi and organized low-wage poultry workers around issues of justice and equality. She worked with the local faith community to build support for the workers’ struggle for change.