By Jennifer McBratney for the Youth Mission Trip leadership
Early in the morning of Sunday, August 5, 12 youth and four adults from St. Michael’s and all Angels in Portland, OR climbed into two vans to drive 15 hours to the Bay Area. As we arrived at the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island, we were all wondering what we got ourselves into. But for five days, we all worked hard and played hard.
As we learned throughout the week, Life Learning Academy is a public charter high school serving low-income and at-risk youth of the area. This is a place where students come when they’ve possibly exhausted all chances of earning a high school education. However, at the Academy, they receive an education like no other. They cultivate a giant garden where they grow and sell vegetables, and they learn culinary skills in the state-of-the-art kitchen. And soon they will have the option to live in the newly constructed dorm.
Throughout the week, our crew worked in the garden, harvested chamomile flowers to dry for tea, built a permanent trellis to help grow vines, fixed chairs, shampooed carpets .
In our free time, we played card games, walked miles in San Francisco and attended a Giants game. At the end of the trip, we were exhausted, but we all had a much better appreciation for the benefit of a good education for all and cultivated new friendships.