PUKA Project By Jessica Higginbotham

PUKA Painting Team
——At the center of LDP is a team– a team willing to step up and go the extra mile for both the community and themselves. I found while working on the PUKA project that I had to rely on my team constantly in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. To begin, the PUKA project included two separate projects in which we would repaint the bookcase in the library and replace the decrepit roof on the shed in the playground. The PUKA School has worked for the last 45 years as a non-for-profit to improve the lives of children by providing a safe place to learn and grow. They are always open to any help from the community and as part of the LDP, it was a great experience to help them in anyway possible. Before this event, I had never led an LDP service project. While thrilled to accept the challenge, I knew it would be a personal challenge to trust and not micromanage. I physically could not execute this project alone, so I called on my team and enlisted the aid of two members to work directly on each project so that I could focus on the event overall.
     We hoped to build up our team by teaching new skills while providing the PUKA School with renovations that further their vision of providing an uplifting area for children to dream and grow. The event took a lot of planning, and we worked hard to prepare contingency plans for each project as well as a detailed layout of all tasks. Even when the weather refused to cooperate, resulting in the shed team project being postponed, the contingency plan was in place so that the event could still go on.

         With the focus the team had on learning and working together, we quickly started teaching new skills to the first year members from using a drill to edging a bookcase. With a clear understanding of what needed to be accomplished, the team started taking initiative in order to complete the project with excellence, doing small tasks like organizing the books into categories. With the focus and leadership of the project lead, I was able to correct any major issues of the event as well make sure that the team had all the resources they needed to accomplish our goal. The appreciation that the PUKA director had for our work was heartfelt and I know that the students will be able to use this bookcase for years to come.