Overall, I am so excited and happy to see how far this project has come. We started with nothing and ended up distributing almost 400 bags with more money and supplies left over as well. In the beginning we had no idea if this would work out, but we had to try. It is kind of crazy to think about how far we have come in such a short amount if time. I have learned so much not only about myself, but about working with others, helping others and making a difference, and about never giving up. It is so important to always push yourself to do better and to try and help someone else everyday. Although we did not always see the direct results of the project, I am still so glad we got to make a difference and I see how important it is for anyone who has the resources and motivation to step up and help others who can’t. My new goal is to make a difference in someone else’s life everyday. We did not reach our goal of distributing 500 bags, but I think that if we had been able to continue working together and if everyone had played their art and contributed, we could have used all of the donations and the supplies we bought and we could’ve met our goal. I am hoping that a junior will take over the project and can continue to work on it to help others and to provide for these women who can’t provide for themselves. Bella said that she talked to Julia in the past, but we are waiting for her to talk to her again, and then we can give them everything we have and we can give them tips for how to work together and divide the work, and all of the tips we have regarding each aspect.
Today, I was talking to Senora about Operation Luna. We gave her all of the bags for the shelter in Tijuana back in December, yet she hasn’t had a chance to deliver them, and we have been worried about the possibility of having the bags confiscated at the border. So, today we talked about other organizations that already bring donations to Tijuana to bring our materials with them as well. Senora told me that she has a date set for Spring Break to either bring the bags on her own, or if she hears back from the organizations, she will give the donations to them instead. Either way, I will just be happy for the victims of the hurricane to receive the donations and have to worry slightly less about their feminine hygiene problems. Honestly, looking back, I cannot believe how far this project has come. I had no idea we would have so much success, and that we would be able to extend the project to a global issue. I have learned to take pride in my actions, yet at the same time be modest and be okay with making a difference without seeing the change, so the benefit is purely for others and no self-reward. I have tried to be more selfless and to continue to uphold my values or caring for and helping others.
I took a couple hours of texting back and forth to finally plan a project and meeting place, but we eventually decided on sewing pillows for women with breast cancer, and I volunteered my club house as a place to meet. Yesterday, as a side service project, I met with 3 other girls in the National Honors Society Club to start our project, making pillows for women with breast cancer. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed, as I had only sewn a couple of times when I was younger, but one of the girls went through the steps to make the pillow with us. First, we had to cut the cloth into somewhat of a heart shape, then cut that in half so the pieces matched to be sewn together. Then, we sewed the pieces together, turned them inside out to hide the thread, then left a little space open to stuff them and then sew them closed. In the 2 hours, each of us was able to make two. I found that by my second one, I was starting to get into it more and get better at making the stitches smaller and tighter. I hope that next time we meet, in a week or two, I will be able to improve my skills even more and enhance my creative side. Again, this is an activity in which I won’t be able to see the results of the product given to the women, yet I hope I can make their daily life slightly easier.
After months of waiting, we were finally able to get our project back up and running. Bella contacted WTLC and scheduled a distribution for yesterday, March 4th, so we made a plan to pack everything that we had sitting around. So, on Friday, we all met at Michelle’s house to pack the bags and take the tampons out, as this shelter does not accept tampons, to repackage the bags, and put everything into the pink Operation Luna bags. After an hour or two, I had to take my younger brother home from practice and Michelle had to go to her lacrosse practice, so we left, and Bella finished putting the last few bags together. The next day, everyone met at my house, and we transferred the products to my car, then I drove to Santa Ana. Because the location was secret, as many of the women have been abused, I was worried about the safety and finding the exact place, so we got there extra early to be safe, and we ended up needing the time to find it. I finally noticed a building that looked like it had multiple rooms and was behind gates, so we took our chances. The entire distribution only took a few minutes, as they seemed like they did not want us to go inside, so we just handed off all of the bags. Although it would have been rewarding to see the women receive the supplies and be able to talk to them, I am just glad we were able to help them. It is important to do service not for personal gain, but just knowing that you are making a difference in another’s life.
About a week ago, Michelle, Bella, and I met Tracy, Stacy, and Chelsea at Don Jose’s to celebrate out success. Throughout the evening, we told them about all of our successes and troubles, and all of our future plans. We talked about possibly handing over the project to another IB junior to continue next year, and we could come back and help, as it would be hard to continue in college. It was great to be able to celebrate all of our success so far, and to hear advice from them. They told us to experience and live everything while we can, and to enjoy every moment.
We finally confirmed a date to meet with the women at Barney and Barney, yet they wanted to meet at Don Jose’s to celebrate. A few nights beforehand, I updated our inventory sheet, balance sheet, and the list of items per bag. I also ordered the last few bags of pads from Walmart to replace the ones they cancelled, and now that they will ship them again. We have everything we need to pack another 150 bags, and we have 30 bags packed on top of that from last time.
Today Bella and I went to drop off the finished bags at Senora’s house. Yesterday, Bella stopped by Michelle’s house to pick up extra bags, as we were about 20 totes short from the ones we had already gotten from Michelle’s. I left a little before 1230 in the Yukon, then had to stop for gas on my way, and went to pick up Bella. On the way to Senora’s, Bella put the last few Ziploc bags in the totes. When we got to her house, we unloaded everything, then talked to Senora about the Tijuana shelter. She and Karly, the connection we met at the “Dia de Los Muertos” plan on going next Wednesday, yet Senora mentioned that Karly has not been consistent with meetings, so they may have to reschedule. We would have loved to go, yet Senora talked to the principal and they concluded it would be best if students did not go.