Eleven students from Atlanta Adventist Academy (AAA) traveled with their principal, Raiza Fernandez, to Ft. Myers, Fla., on Sept. 26 to participate in disaster relief efforts on behalf of those affected by Hurricane Irma.
This was no luxurious vacation. More than 100 volunteers slept on a gym floor, shared two bathrooms, used 10 showers, and worked 7-9 hours each day for about a week.
The group from AAA assisted in the repair of eight homes over three days and also helped out at ECHO Global Farm, an organization that utilizes crops, techniques, and animals from around the world to teach small-scale farmers and gardeners how to provide for themselves. ECHO’s Florida campus includes a research center, reference library, seed bank, tropical fruit nursery, global bookstore, and staff oﬃces.
After working for two scorching days in the heat with high humidity, the AAA team was delighted when God opened the floodgates of heaven on Friday and Saturday—as a thank-you for all of our hard work, I assume.
At the end of every workday, students and staff from each of the participating schools ( Tri-City Christian Academy in North Carolina, Harbert Hills Academy in Tennessee, and AAA in Georgia) came together for food, worship, and cleansing showers. It was truly a blessing to see what we accomplished together in order to help others. It was also inspiring to see how
thankful the people were whom we helped and how many volunteers were ready and willing to do exactly what God asks.
I encourage everyone to make it your mission to join a cleanup effort the next time disaster relief is needed. Although it is hard work, you come to realize that you don’t need to leave the country in order to be truly helpful.
by Khaliah Patton, AAA student