January 25, 2018
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Mattea Schlender isn’t wasting any time turning her college experience into a valuable one. She spent part of her recent winter break traveling to the Beaumont, Texas area to help make a difference in the area’s post-hurricane relief efforts.
The 2016 Brillion High School graduate is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and plans to be a middle or high school social studies teacher after college. In Texas, she had a hands-on experience in helping build six houses. Schlender put up drywall and installed insulation. She also mudded, sanded and did yard cleaning.
“I didn’t know how to do any of this before going on the trip, so I had to learn very quickly,” she says. “But I caught on pretty quickly, so it wasn’t too bad. Most of the homes we worked on were either gutted up to four feet, or completely gutted because of flooding.”
On campus, she attends a church specifically for the college’s students known as Peace Lutheran Campus Center. The pastor at the church set up the trip and led students to St. John Lutheran Church in Beaumont. St John provided the group with a place to stay, meals, tools and supplies. The trip was 10 days total and included seven 10-hour work days that began at 6 a.m.
Schlender says that exhaustion set in halfway through the trip. “All the early mornings and manual labor really started to take a toll on both myself and my group,” she said.
On the group’s one day off, Sunday, they attended church in the morning. In the afternoon they visited Galveston and saw the Gulf of Mexico.
The whole trip sounds overwhelming for someone without experience in construction, but for Schlender volunteering is something natural.
“I guess I’ve always enjoyed volunteering,” she said. She was a volunteer at St. Bartholomew and at basketball camps in high school. She had never been on a mission trip like the one to Texas though, but wanted to for multiple reasons.
Please see the complete story in the January 25, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.