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Showing posts from 2019

Living Out My Pacific Northwest Dreams through Service

by Melissa Hoffman

2017 Most Valuable Student Scholar
My name is Melissa Hoffmann. I’m a sophomore studying Environmental Studies at Vassar College in New York. I’m involved in climate justice and environmental activism work on campus and with the community. Traveling to Portland, Oregon, with the Elks marked my first time traveling alone, and it was to a place I’ve never been with people I’ve never met. My first Elks Scholar Service Trip ended up being the best spring break I’ve ever had.
One of the reasons I was interested in the trip to Portland, aside from wanting to connect with other Elks scholars and use my energy to make a difference in the world, was the location. As an environmentalist who fully embraces my love for a good soil composition and a low-carbon lifestyle, Portland has always interested me. It is known as one of the greenest, if not the greenest, city in the U.S. for its high-quality public transportation, walkability and bikeability, access to green spaces, and sust…

The People Make It Special

by John Kavula
Elks Scholar Fellow
At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 12, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. After a week of long days running around with kids at the Boys and Girls Club and serving in the Mississippi sun followed by little sleep, my first Elks Scholar Service Trip was over. While it certainly wasn’t easy, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I like to think I have one of the best jobs in the world—I get to travel around the country, learn about new communities through service and, best of all, meet amazing people while doing so. This year’s winter trip to Biloxi was no exception.
Returning to the Gulf Coast was a bit of a homecoming for me because I lived an hour away from Biloxi for about 10 years. Even though it was only for a week, it was great to see the scholars, many of whom had never been to Mississippi or even the Deep South before, get a taste of what the Gulf Coast has to offer. And I don’t just mean the food!
A highlight, or at least very memorable …