A Civic Engagement Story

A Civic Engagement Story

After a long night of celebrating birthdays, and celebrating life, we gathered in the lobby of the RAF (Residential and Academic Facility) at NoMa to engage in a civic engagement project last Saturday morning!


As part of The Washington Center's program, we are expected to partake in a civic engagement project. You can either join one of the TWC-organized projects, or you can create one of your own.


I enrolled in a TWC-organized civic engagement project called 'Animal Welfare.' As part of this project we were educated about harmful and inhumane activities concerning animals. We got to enroll in a side project within the Animal Welfare project as well. As my side project I enrolled in a project advocating against puppy mills. We wrote a series of "letters to the editor," and sent it to a bunch of news organizations. I am pleased to say that my letter to the editor was published.


Another part of 'Animal Welfare' is volunteering. As I mentioned in a past blog, we went and cleaned a dog park in Wheaton, Maryland. And last Saturday, we volunteered at a horse farm, also in Maryland.


Hard working TWC'ers

"ARE WE THERE YET?"If someone denies Murphy's Law, then read the following story! Murphy's Law is real! We met in the lobby at 12:30 p.m., and were supposed to arrive at 2:00 p.m. at the horse farm. That didn't happen! Murphy's Law decided to haunt us that day. Our project leaders took us to the Shady Grove metro station, where a bus was going to pick us up.

It all started with D.C.'s lovely transportation system. As it was the weekend, D.C. Metro was having scheduled track work. Track work is the most horrible thing about D.C. public transportation. We left from NoMa metro station, had to get off one stop further at Union Station, transferred to a bus to bring us to Gallery Place - Chinatown, waited for 20 minutes to take the next metro, transferred at Farragut North metro station (while our train was supposed to go directly to Shady Grove), and finally in the end we arrived at Shady Grove.


Hard working as well


You are mistaken if you thought that the problems would be over once we arrived at the Shady Grove metro station. We hopped on a specially rented bus. Because the seats were so comfortable I leaned back, and started listening to my iPod. One song, two songs, five songs, ten songs, 20 songs, 30 songs, and we still weren't there. The ride was supposed to take 30 minutes, but it took ages. The bus driver passed the farm by 15 minutes, so we had an extra 30-minute delay. We arrived at 4:00 p.m., two hours late, and one hour before we were supposed to leave (the horse farm closed at 5:00). So we basically would be there for an hour. We put ourselves to use and did some gardening, some cleaning and we did some socializing with the horses, too. As a special treat they gave us a tour of the farm and talked to us about the condition of the horses when they come in, and what happens when they are adopted.


The day's gain


Hungry, and only 90 minutes after our arrival, we had to leave again. As an acknowledgement of the struggles, the bus took us home directly to the RAF, instead of having to take the Metro all over again. Our project leaders made the bus stop at Dunkin Donuts because we were all so hungry and treated us with some donuts. After a much shorter ride back home, we were exhausted (from doing nothing).

In the end, I think it was kind of funny that we had a lot of bad luck that day. At least we were still able to contribute to the well-being and happiness of the horses, and it was still very interesting to learn more about the horse farm, and what it actually entails.

Later that night I had an amazing party at El Centro to celebrate the well-being of the horses (and my own well-being).

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