My name is Matt Hecky, I’m 20 years old, I’m from Lake St. Louis, and I currently attend Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO. I worked with LOVEtheLOU for 4 weekends in St. Louis as an independent volunteer. By that I mean I went on my own and worked with a different group each time.
What kind of work did you do while volunteering with LOVEtheLOU?
The work I did ranged from gardening/landscaping to painting to building a retaining wall. Leading up to my first day working with LOVEtheLOU i was extremely nervous because I had no idea what to expect. So if you are considering working with LOVEtheLOU without a group hopefully I can give you an idea of what to expect.
So what does a day of volunteering look like for an independent volunteer?
Each day started with me meeting up with Jake Barnett or Lucas Rouggly and the group I would be working with. Jake or Lucas would brief us on what they wanted to accomplish for the day and often divide into smaller groups to work on specific projects. Usually I would ask Jake what project he thought I should work on and go from there. After working for a few hours we would break for lunch. Lunch consisted of eating and then usually Jake or Lucas would talk for a while. Each group I worked with was a church group so they would talk with the groups to explain what God was doing through them and what they could do in their own neighborhoods. These talks could be longer depending on the group and the break could last for 45 minutes to an hour. After lunch we usually went back to work for a couple more hours, met up once more as a final debrief and call it quits for the day.
Was it easy for you, as an independent volunteer, to join in?
As an individual I worked with a different group each day aside from Jake, Lucas and Korri. Each group that I worked with was awesome. They were always very accepting and made me feel extremely comfortable working with them. Not once in the 4 weeks I was there did I feel excluded or left out. I also got to work with some of the neighborhood children a couple of the weekends I was there and I enjoyed it a lot. They helped out with the projects and were always entertaining with their jokes and bantering among themselves. Even the neighbors seemed really supportive of the work LOVEtheLOU is doing. Each weekend there were numerous people who and honked and waved as they drove by. I had several conversations with the different neighbors and all of them were thankful and supportive of what we were doing.
Would you recommend volunteering with LOVEtheLOU to others?
The work they are doing really is awesome and I think it is something you have to see firsthand to really understand what they are doing for the community. If you are on the fence about volunteering I would absolutely recommend that you try it at least once. I really enjoyed my time working with LOVEtheLOU and plan on working with them again the next opportunity I get.