ABC senior lends more than a hand in South Carolina

Senior Xonatia is with her host family in South Carolina this week working on group house-building projects for low-income families.

She joined 45 other student volunteers on a South Church Andover youth mission trip that departed at 5 a.m. on Friday and traveled 2 days by van from Andover to John’s Island, South Carolina.

Along with her host sisters, Libby and Sarah, Xonatia is working long, hard days at construction sites as part of the church's mission to provide safe shelter for economically disadvantaged families in this region. Host parents Brian and Carol are long time veteran chaperones for this trip.

“I am so thankful to have this opportunity,” Xonatia told her host mom, “I didn’t think I would ever do something like this.”

Carol is thrilled to watch Xonatia engage other students in conversation and be embraced by everyone on the trip. She recounted how Xonatia got up one evening and offered a funny perspective on her love for the Yankees. She received good natured boos from the crowd— all Red Sox fans!

Xonatia has jumped right in like a pro working alongside the other student volunteers. Each day she works on different sites, helping different families. The first day she was on a painting site and power washed a cinder block house.

Xonatia says that for a city girl she has been surprised by how she hasn’t been bothered at all by the bugs and heavy lifting and cleaning— she will have lots of new skills by the time she returns!