At first I thought " You want me to go down there with dead people and all of this kind of stuff" but I eventually got over it and I was like "its a good idea, it'd be nice to help people out," said 17-year-old Jessica Blair.
Although Blair and 19 other members of the Kaleidoscope group were excited about helping out others, they were not prepared for the destruction they would see.
"Dead cats in trees, windows blown out, everything was wet and it was horrible," Blair recalled.
While in New Orleans, the teenagers helped to tear down a 3600 square foot, 3 story home, and according to Blair with the heat and rough conditions it was hard to work.
Lee Fowlkes, youth pastor of the Greenwood Park Church of Christ (which also had a group that went along with Kaleidoscope), said despite the conditions the work brought the teenagers closer to the ravaged community and also to each other.
"I saw them grow in their relationships with each other. A lot of barriers were broken down between adults and teenagers and teens from different groups, different social backgrounds," he recounted.
"Spending time with those kids seven days and nights. Sleeping on cots showering outside, going through those tough times and lending a hand to someone really brought that group closer together," remembered one of the Kaleidoscope leaders, Gary Hook.
Blair said she will never forget the time she spent in New Orleans or the important lesson it taught her. "I learned that I should appreciate the things I have now. Don't take it For granted."
The Kaleidoscope group is planning to return to New Orleans in June 2007 to continue the work they began last summer.