March 6, 2013
While most college students head to the beach for fun and sun, or maybe home for rest and relaxation over spring break, three Wolfpack student-athletes decided to use their time off to minister to those in need.
Football’s Asa Watson, men’s soccer player Lee Grander and former women’s soccer player Lauren “Woody” Woodson flew to Los Angeles on Friday to spend the week working for Athletes in Action’s “Urban Project L.A.” They will be working side-by-side with students from colleges all over the United States. On Sunday, they were joined by Julianna Prim from the Pack women’s swimming team.
For Watson, a senior tight end, it marks his second trip to work on the project, as he helped work with kids on L.A.’s notorious Skid Row in the summer of 2011. This week, he is sharing his experiences and those of his fellow State student-athletes with GoPack.com.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Yesterday was another full day. We got up and had breakfast and then our activity was the “Privilege Game.” We went out on the street and the director asked questions and we either had to go forward or backwards based on our answers. The questions were things like “Did you live in a two-parent home?” “Have you ever had your lights turned off for not paying the bill?” At the end, it gave us a very good visual as to how some of us have been gifted with different experiences and given different privileges that we don’t necessarily think about
I was somewhere in the middle. It made me appreciate what I have and what my parents have been able to give me. The ones in the back had to work harder to get to where we are.
It’s hard to talk because police choppers are flying over right now. It happens all the time here. It’s so much more real here. We are staying in the ‘hood.
In the afternoon, we all went to our mission site. I went to the Salvation Army in Compton. First we had a tour of the facility and it was really nice. I was really impressed. They described how the Salvation Army is a deacon in the community and gives people food, clothes or a place to stay. In the process, the staff can share the gospel with the people who come in. The kids are able to enjoy a lot of resources. They have a great gym, weight room – we actually worked out there after our day was over. There is a sanctuary and also a studio where kids can come in and make music.
I initially thought we would be working with kids, but after the tour they took us outside. The playground was pretty beaten up and neglected so we did a lot of weeding and beautifying the playground. I was thinking ‘I wish I could work with some kids and build some relationships.’ But God really revealed to me that I had some selfishness in my heart. The playground is on the street and it’s a great place for parents to bring their children, so if it’s appealing, they can come in and enjoy the resources. When I leave, the people at the Salvation Army will be the ones who will still be there serving the community.
We were there from 1:30 til 6 p.m. We are tired, but we still manage to stay up late and talk to each other and get in deep conversations and learn each other’s stories. It’s been cool to hang out with the others from NC State. At school, I don’t see them as much.
Last night was crazy. We were driving to get something to eat and you see prostitution right there on the streets. The pastor told us later on that you see that all the time.
Later we played a game called the “Poverty Game” where we split into groups of poor, wealthy and tourists. The object of the game was to show that when you’re poor, you have to resort to things you would never think you would do to survive and support your family. It really opened my eyes to that.