Go Beyond Barrington teens were one of the groups honored in the video which won last week. But student organizers were already gone when Rihanna arrived. They were in Joplin, MO, helping to rebuild the community devastated by a tornado May 22, 2011.
This was the second visit to Joplin for Go Beyond Barrington
Ryan Burgoon, a BHS senior, said when the organization arrived in Joplin, in February, 2012, they found that the debris had been cleaned up, but the town had been decimated.
“They had no homes and they still needed a lot of help This year we wanted to raise funds to build a home with Habitat for Humanity,” Burgoon said.
Go Beyond Barrington raised $25,000 through a variety of fundraisers, both within the school and in the Barrington community.
“It’s amazing to see the support we got from Barrington,” said Katie Sowders, a junior.
Katie said she became involved with the the organization over the past summer.
“I heard about their message and it was inspiring seeing the videos and amazing to hear the stories. I really wanted to get involved,” she said. During the visit to Joplin, Katie said she’s been amazed at the impact they have had in the Jopin community.
Katie Andraschko, a sophomore, said last year, the community needed 500 homes.
“In one year, 30 percent of the homes were built, now 84 percent are done. I really have so much respect for the people in charge of Habitat for Humanity here. It is truly humbling how much they were able to achieve,” Katie Andrascko said.
"I remember standing in the middle of a 7-mile stretch and there was nothing. Coming back here it’s great how much they’ve built in the last year. It’s really surprising,” Ryan said.
Student volunteers said it was interesting to see the before and after rebuilding photos and to hear the stories of the tornado from residents.
“It’s been really inspiring to see the people and listen to them sharing their stories when planting trees. We got to meet a lot of locals and to hear the horrible things they’ve been through. We don’t see how bad it is in our privileged area,” Katie Sowders said.
Katie Andraschko said the trip was especially meaningful because, not only did they raise funds to help rebuild Joplin, but they also were able to visit, help and make personal connections with the residents.
Jake Herb said the students spent a rest and hiking day on Sunday planning to grow and increase awareness of Go Beyond Barrington.
‘We’re excited to come out with momentum and good feelings for next year,” Jake said.
"We seek to empower communities not support them. We are not looking to give handouts, but hand ups,” he said. Jake added that Go Beyond Barrington also discussed what service project they will do next year, but they have not yet made a decision.