Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

The End of the Beginning – Alexandra Ehrhardt

I write this blog post near the brink of tears at APEX Youth Center on July 2, 2015.

This morning brought two serious conversations, more than four physical violence situations, and many angry kids. Contradicting these situations, it’s summer camp and the activities of the children bring about laughter. Many of the conflicts that occur bring tension, desire for fighting, and no reconciliation. After a quick intervention, these situations find a place of forgiveness.

It’s been a year, reader. One year of fighting poverty one day at a time and I am surrounded by the best of coworkers, role models, and smiling faces. Every time I pull a child aside to have a conversation with them this month, tears well-up in my eyes.

I leave July 10th, and my time here will never be enough.

My presence here is a temporary solution; the wound remains untreated. How many non-profits must dig through the dirt and the wreckage before we finally claw at the poverty and the corruption that perpetuate the issues I and many other VISTAs fight every day? I keep digging, and sometimes my tools are inappropriate for the task at hand.

I then take a step out and realize that most people are not even digging alongside me. Others are content to supervise or watch from afar. America is changing, the landscape is varied, and still too many people like to stay in the comfort of their homes and observe. Many do not know where to start -start with VISTA.

My service to the children of the future, there is nothing better than this. If it weren’t for VISTA, my:

  • tolerance for stress would never be so great
  • understanding of poverty would be so little
  • inner sense of calm would have never grown
  • friends would never be so interesting
  • good work would have little impact
  • knowledge of the world would be so sheltered, if considered “knowledge” at all
  • paths would not have been challenged
  • ignorance would be perpetuated
  • listening skills would be sub-par
  • patience may no longer be viewed as a virtue
  • love for my work would never run so deep

I’m leaving. I’m moving on to China for opportunities that allow me to take my desire to learn towards an international level. I will never leave APEX Youth Center, however. Those kids will never leave my heart. Maybe someday I’ll be able to come back.

Source: Google Maps I'll be in Hunan Province, Changsha in particular

Source: Google Maps
I’ll be in Hunan Province, Changsha in particular

For the last time until the next first time, I wish you all the best, reader.

Let’s continue to fight poverty together, one day at a time.


2 comments on “The End of the Beginning – Alexandra Ehrhardt

  1. Jack Styczynski
    July 2, 2015

    You’re the best, Alle!

    • Allesan
      August 21, 2015

      Thanks, Jack – means a lot, even today! 🙂

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on July 2, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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