Photo Credit: Brittany Allen

By Brittany Allen, Central Washington Student involved in the CWU Wesley group

I don’t really know how to start this so I’m just going to dive right in. (Take note this is something one should never do when using power tools or doing any kind of construction.) My name is Brittany Allen, I am a sophomore at Central Washington University and two-time Alternative Spring Break volunteer with Sierra Service Project.

I was first introduced to the organization last year by our United Methodist campus ministry, CWU Wesley, and it seemed preferable to going home to sit around my parents’ house for a week. This year it was just a given that I was going.

Personally, I am a journalist and a photographer because I want to help people share their stories in the most authentic way I can and to educate others on the topics raised by those individual testimonies. Besides the spiritual renewal SSP trips provide, I feel like it also allows me some practice in this concept of, for lack of a better label, “philanthropic photojournalism.”

People should know about places like Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon. They are a community of people who most would write off for what they don’t have instead of realizing what they do have. Their living conditions may not be the social norm, but together, and with some help from organizations in the area, they’ve created homes for themselves.

Stories like these, showcases of determination and good will, are the reason I love being involved with SSP and also how SSP has consistently renewed not only my faith, but my love for what I am doing.

Note: Dignity Village is a city-sanctioned homeless camp in Portland, Oregon, in which 60 people live and work together. If you are interested in participating in SSP’s Alternative Break program in Portland or Los Angeles, please visit the Sierra Service Project website.

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