Personal interaction with objects, images, and space can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics, for your intended area of study architecture describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking, what did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?
A-S.T.A.R.-Y Weekend at a home within my home"
In our noticeably all for profit society, we must consider ourselves blessed to live amongst such charitable organizations, those individuals who strive to better the lives of those surrounding them, and I am even more fortunate to now call some friends. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to participate in The S.T.A.R. (Students Together Achieving Revitalization) program hosted by the City of San Antonio's Office of Historic Preservation. My love for this career choice was reawakened from what I first saw as a mandatory and daunting task became an event I would participate in for the next four semesters and lead me to participate in my first habitat for humanity to take place during my final spring break at SAC.
Nearing the culmination of a long and arduous semester, an early Saturday rise was definitely not something high on the list of priorities. Conditions were bright and warm; though slightly overcast at times, a morning with not much dew, arriving at Crockett Park ten minutes before eight a.m., there were many heads dawning assorted white, yellow, and orange crash helmets. Students were converging in a sandy vacant lot across from the park, some faces new others old and familiar. Many alive with anticipation, while others bore a burdensome distaste for the weekends planned activities. The air was electric with anticipation for what the day would have in store. The massing of individuals was clearly separated by the two participating schools, University of Texas San Antonio on one side San Antonio College on the other it was like the first day of kindergarten all over again. No such pleasantries were to be exchanged this was mandatory not fun. Now separated into perspective houses; twelve of us received house number three.
This was the revitalization of Ms. Helen's home, a pasty colossal two storey, four columned Victorian castle aged and leaning reminiscent of an old man perched over his cane. The white paint flaked as a dry scalp would on a black shirt. Standing facing each other we gave our introductions staring blankly at one another and then at the house. This was going to be a lot of work; paint scrapers now in hand we began to relieve its flaky shell. UTSA together in the front and SAC collected on the side. I chose to stand in the center of the team attempting to be a unifying presence. My first home renovating experience came as quite a physical challenge but the emotional gain made every drop of sweat, every cut, and every paint stained piece of clothing completely worthwhile. Day one complete and the pallid shell removed the castle was now ready for day two's painting and her reawakening.
Physically sore, day two began with a bang, hesitant curiosity hovering in the air a hands on opportunity would be presented to us. Mornings surprise of being presented with chainsaws, handsaws, and L-Square angle rulers. The usage of such materials, highlighted memories of construction and Prof Garcia's lectures of joists, columns, and post and beam, imagery of wood construction came flooding like monsoon tides. Giving our use scales and pencils a dreamlike past. The ability to use skills we had been taught was invigorating. I was flooded with many feelings mostly selfless accomplishment and privilege. Having the chance to actually spend quality one-on-one time with Ms. Helen really made an impact on my life by providing an even better understanding of how in need these forsaken families are. Working alongside Victor Salas contractor at our house was also learning experience that I will never forget. There are some people who will leave this earth having never done something for someone else, and there are those, too, who will leave this earth having been blessed enough to meet someone who sacrificed for them. I know that so many families have been touched by The Office of Historic Preservation's ever-lasting compassion and their desire to give deserving families back that place they call home, and returning San Antonio to her glory days. I am very thankful in having been able to be a part of this innovative and exciting program. Learning afterwards that I actually reside within Tobin Hill had me leaving the site giving out hugs and love because I was as impacted as the individuals we helped.