BREW in your own backyard

“There’s no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.” Though the author is unknown, this quote has long been one of my favorites. It reminds me that no matter where I am, all I have to do is look around to find something new, exciting, or interesting.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Washington Parks and People to clean up a park that I never would have visited–or even heard about–otherwise, and it turned out to be fascinating corner of the city with a rich history.

Meridian Hill Park is located in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., north of the National Mall. In addition to being a National Park, Meridian Hill is also designated as a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. It is not as flashy as the Lincoln Memorial, nor does it boast the kind of stature seen in the Washington Monument, yet it possesses an intricate architectural design that is uniquely its own. It is almost entirely constructed of concrete aggregate, and it was the first time that the material was used in the United States.

While the park itself was interesting, I was also able to connect with other volunteers from the area and the volunteer coordinators. Many of us were there to fulfill a community service requirement, while others simply wanted to give back to their community in a tangible way. One volunteer was an exchange student from Asia, a few others were local, and some were students like me, studying in D.C. only for a semester. It was cold and raining, but by working together we were able to rake leaves and pick up trash, making the park more enjoyable for all who use it.

Opportunities like this are all around us, no matter where we are–around the world, across the country, and in our own cities and neighborhoods. Becoming responsibly engaged in the world (BREW) around the world is a great purpose, and if you have the chance to travel, by all means, do it. You’ll be exposed to new cultures, new people, and hopefully, gain a new perspective.

Yet those new cultures, people, and perspectives can also be found in our own backyards. Traveling far from home is an unforgettable experience, but we can’t forget those in our local communities either. Opportunities exist all around us–both the expected and unexpected–we just need to choose to see it. After all, who has time to be bored?


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