Youth Volunteers Complete Outdoor Environmental Classroom - - The News for South Mississippi

Youth Volunteers Complete Outdoor Environmental Classroom

Justin Harris is a high school junior from Manhattan. He's not used to the hot South Mississippi sun, but it didn't deter him and more than 20 other VISIONS volunteers from putting the finishing touches on an outdoor environmental classroom for students at North Gulfport 7th and 8th Grade School.

"We've been here for a month, and one of my biggest regrets is that we're going home soon, that it won't be for another month. The weather's not that bad. I expected it to be a little hotter," Harris says.

The environmental classroom will be used by Marine Biology students. Since the beginning of July, VISIONS volunteers have been carrying out various projects in South Mississippi. It's the organization's first trip to the Magnolia State.

"We've had some extremely positive interactions with the local community," says Andy Hollenhorst, Director of VISIONS's Mississippi Program. "Really, for the kids to see what they saw on television and be able to come down here and meet people and to hear their stories, has really, really been great."

Rain fell while volunteers were working Sunday morning, but it appeared nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for the project. As for Justin Harris, he says this journey has taught him a lot about the country's worst natural disaster.

"I'm learning so much not only from my, the immediate community I'm down here with, but everything around me has influenced how I think about everything that happened with Katrina," Harris says.

A dedication ceremony for the environmental classroom was held Sunday evening.

By Toni Miles 

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