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Deep end of the pool

tSBig Love by Aaliya

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Sitting here in the tSB office, sitting at Matt’s computer, I had come to the realization that I have never loved tSB more! Just thinking about how far I’ve came since tSB is outstanding!

Since tSB I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and whatever I do. I can speak in public more easily, I can actually be proud of the things I accomplish. I feel like tSB has became such a big part of me, and I want to stay with it as long as I can, actually if you guys didn’t know I will be taking Ashley Miller’s job! Just kidding, fooled you didn’t I! But I plan to work my way up from prophet to peer leader to mentor to taking Ashley’s job!

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I entered tSB, but I’m so thankful I made the choice to join such a wonderful program and make so many new friends. We all know that life can be stressful sometimes right? Well since tSB all my stress has disappeared, I can always have something to look forward to! I have always been a person who closes their heart, doesn’t share much personal info, and stays a good distance away from people I don’t know. TSB has given me the chance to break out if my shell and now look at me! This is my second blog entry on the tSB website! Overall, tSB is something I want to stay with for as long as I possibly can! I LOVE YOU TSB!

Reflection from the retreat

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When I arrived at Youngstown at 7:30 in the morning, I was tired, doubtful, and closed minded. It took us a long time to get going, but as we all drank some coffee and woke up, we finally packed up into our cars and headed on our way.
The drive to Soundview camp was surprisingly really fun! The people in my car were really interesting and, we all got along. Yes, I did get us lost… but still, it was part of our adventure together! Once we finally got on track and figured out where the heck we were going, we arrived at Soundview!
The first day on the retreat was very hard for me. One of the reasons it was very hard was, I began to open up, break out of my shell, and be myself. When I really began to open up was during free time, which was right before dinner. (Yum!) During free time, I had first gone up to the B-ball court to watch Dub-C DESTROY south end! But when I finally realized I was a complete idiot to be sitting outside with very… not warm clothes on, I decided to go into the dinning hall to check out Matt’s literary discussion. Well, turns out no one had actually gone to it, so everyone was just drawing. I sat down and joined them, talked to some south end people, and some of my already friends.
After everyone was done playing basketball, they all came into the dinning hall, including Alberto, one of the mentors for Dub-C! I went and sat down next to him and we began to talk. We first talked about little chit chat stuff. Then he began to ask me about my grandmother’s religion. We talked about that for awhile and he seemed really interested! That made me feel like he was actually listening to me because he wanted to, not because he had to. Anyways, as we talked more and more about my grandma’s religion, some switch flipped in me, and I began to open up. I talked more about personal issues that had happened and I didn’t feel weird talking about them.
After we were done talking he stood up and gave me a hug and went to take a nap. I felt really relaxed after our talk, and I’d like to thank him for that right now; Thank you!
When we got our family groups, I was happy to know that person I had opened up to earlier was in my family group! I’m really thankful for my family group; Jjr. Maaac! (Javon, Jonathan, Rachel A., Mirkana, Alberto, Ameena, Myself, and Chel!) We had a lot of fun in our group, making up our little skit. Overall, I am very happy with my family group.
From that point on it seemed like the rest of the day just got fast forwarded to, the heart circle. I’m honestly getting a heavy feeling in my chest just thinking about it. Everyone shared so much, and I’m really glad everyone could be that courageous. When I spoke up, to share what I had to share about my life, I broke down and I couldn’t say all I wanted to say because I broke out in tears. My heart was so heavy with grief at that moment; it was so hard to sit through. When Matt began to speak, he told us about his life and his struggles, I began to cry even more, and I just had to leave. I asked the mentor that I was sitting next to if I could leave for a moment, she offered to come with me, and I accepted. Mandy and I walked to the other side of the cabin and sat down, then I just spilled everything I couldn’t say in the heart circle, she cried with me, she motivated me, and helped me stop crying. Mandy really helped me realize that a lot of the grief and stress I had didn’t have anything to do with myself, but it was actually other people around me affecting me with their problems. I would also like to thank her; thank you Mandy!!
Eventually Mandy and I did go back into the heart circle, and I felt much better, I still cried, but it was because I never thought it was possible to be in a room with so many people with troubled pasts.
Overall, the heart circle, and talking to Mandy, really got a big weight off of my shoulders.
When day two rolled around, I wasn’t tired at all! I felt so fresh and happy for the first time in a long time. I kept asking everyone in my cabin,
“Will you go to breakfast with me?!”
All of them just laughed and told me to hold on. At 9:10 (breakfast started at 9:00) we went to breakfast. After breakfast my hyperness, faded away…
When we all began our activities again, I really got into them! I decided to go down to the beach (which was one of our activity choices.) with some other people, to do some stretching and exploring. That was really fun, and I enjoyed hanging out with all the people and mentors that went down on the beach.
The time had come to get into our family groups again to practice our skit a couple more times before performing it for everyone. When we preformed ours, it actually turned out really good!
After all the family groups, both Dub-C, and South end, had gone, no one could decide which program had the better performances, Dub-C or South end. That turned into a dance off, which turned into a
“DUB-C!”
“SOUTH END!”
Screaming match.
I still to this very moment do not know who won…
But after that, we ate lunch then we packed up all of our stuff. After we packed all of our stuff up, loaded it all into the cars, we all headed to the back patio (the floor had just been cleaned in the dinning hall, so we couldn’t meet in there) to have our closing circle. We all gave gratitude to people, took our group picture and went on our way.
The drive home went much faster then the way there, I think it’s because we actually knew where we were going this time and because I fell asleep!
When we arrived back at Youngstown, I felt super sleepy, because I had just woken up! But as we all said our goodbyes, got in our cars and drove away, I realized something…
I love tSB!
Also, I’m really glad I went!
Love,
Aaliya
ps. we’re pulling together some sweet photos starting with this one with taken by Brianna Felix!

Jaesun’s Ode to tSB

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This was too beautiful NOT to post. Thank you Jaesun!

Gotta get up early, don’t wanna be late. Gotta get to tSB, got a service date.
Cleanin’ parks, trying to build community. One goal. One mind. Strong is our unity.
Won’t be beaten, shattered or tattered.
Stick together like glue, we some bad mamma-jammas.
On the mountain we conquer the powder and when we get thirsty, Odwalla we devour.
We got the spirit, we got the power to change the world hour by hour!