There we were. It was mid-May and we were home free; done with classes, done with finals, and done with packing. We were on our way home for summer. But wait! What were we going to do with our three whole months of freedom?
For sophomores TJ Pearson and Alexis Washington, they kept their summer schedules busy.
First, TJ’s summer was set at a Crow Native American Reservation in Lodge Grass, Montana. Here, TJ found himself working with YouthWorks, a mission organization.He worked on a team of four young adults to run a camp for Native American kids living on the Reservation. As a leadership team, they would host other youth groups who would travel from all over the country to serve this community. Teams of approximately 50 students would come and serve the area through work projects and Bible-teaching programs.
As part of the main program staff, TJ was in charge of the sports camp, as well as occasionally leading worship and a message. “The craziest part was being in a community and constantly thinking of serving,” said TJ, reflecting on the ways in which he learned servant-hood and leadership.
TJ enjoyed his time with the kids immensely and still keeps in touch with a few via Facebook and texting. He particularly recalls a time with a certain annoying little boy. While practicing the song “How He Loves” for worship, this little boy, who had been a pain all week, entered the room and began to sing along. “I was blown away by God being everywhere.
I think this was just Him showing off to me.”
Alexis also found herself working with a lot of people, although her internship took on a different look.
After stopping by an Obama Campaign office in Philadelphia one afternoon, she found herself with more than just pamphlets. She received an application, and two days later, was offered a position within the campaign office.
“I did some not so glamorous things,” Alexis stated, “a ton of data entry, door to door canvassing, and phone banking.” In addition, she had the opportunity to plan and lead events, as well as recruit volunteers. She was even chosen from her area in Upper West Philadelphia to work the Women Vote Summit 2012 event in Philadelphia.
Here, she experienced the highlight of her summer, standing among White House officials such as Valeria Jerrett, Congresswoman Debra Wasserman Schultz, and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. The line-up also included singer Alicia Keys, who Alexis was honored to meet. “Most people would say that is the best thing I did all summer: meet Alicia Keys.”
Alexis enjoyed being able to stand in the presence of these great women who support President Obama. Aspiring to work in this environment in the future, she found a good fit and made a difference. She highly encourages everyone to vote, saying, “It is imperative to vote in this election and educate yourself on which candidate will truly give you a voice. This election will not only affect us for the next four years, but for a lifetime.”