Posted by: ajsssummer | July 17, 2013

Making the Most of Every Moment

By Lily Grier (originally written July 3)

It’s strange to think that we’ve all been on this trip for only one week. The connections made and the friendships formed seem to transcend that small amount of time. Somehow, together, we manage to turn every moment (working on a job site or even killing time in traffic) into a memorable experience. And that’s exactly what happened today.

photo 19 Jul 11This morning got off to a bit of an unusual start. In honor of Bonnie’s birthday, we all greeted her with hugs and singing as soon as we awoke. But then we had to take a break from the celebrations to head off for a full day’s work.

Or so we thought.

On the way to the work site, the car that I was in, along with five other participants and a staff member, got a flat tire. We made ourselves useful – checking the air pressure and chugging some Slurpees – until, serendipitously, a kind stranger came along and helped get us on our way.

Instead of reporting to the YouthBuild headquarters as per our usual schedule, we went to the People’s Garden, a community garden in Louisville. photo 1 Jul 11We weeded, harvested and mulched all day long. Even though the work was hard and it was hot, we didn’t mind because we knew that our work would be directly helping others to get fresh and healthy food in one of the nation’s food deserts (as we learned the other day). We even got to take some of the collard greens back to the synagogue with us, and we prepared them with our celebratory pseudo-homemade pizzas (in honor of Bonnie’s birthday).

photo 15 Jul 11After dinner, we went to a Louisville Bats’ (AAA League, whatever that means) game. While I don’t understand the first thing about baseball, it didn’t matter, because we all had a great time sharing the experience together. We even stayed after the game to watch a fireworks show as part of an early Independence Day celebration. By the time the fireworks ended, it was late and we needed to get home.

After making our way back to the parking structure, we realized there was positively no hope of getting out of there in the foreseeable future. So we did the only logical thing we could think to do: We got out of our vans and proceeded to partake in an impromptu sing-off against a group of native Louisville teenagers. The experience was spontaneous, confusing and awesome. The lot was still completely clogged after we finished battling it out, so we walked around and got a midnight snack together. Six hours from our departure from the synagogue, we finally returned and promptly crashed on our air mattresses.

I’d say it was a productive, impactful, surprising and overall wonderful day. And now I must sleep.

Signing off,




  1. Beautifully written, Lilly! I had tears in my eyes and felt like I spent the day with AJSS Louisville!!!! Mazel Tov!

  2. What do you mean you don’t know the first thing about baseball –you know who the Tigers are, right!? Seriously, I enjoyed your account of AJSS Louisville’s doings. Thanks for sharing with us. Love Dad/ Eli Grier

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