By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
Matt Worthington is a visionary.
After seeing the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area and Mississippi, Worthington, sophomore theatre major from San Antonio, described the situation as heartbreaking and decided something needed to be done by students to help those most effected.
Worthington sent out messages on Facebook.com to members of large groups he had created, relaying to students an idea of forming a bike ride to New Orleans at the beginning of summer to help rebuild what was lost in the waves of Katrina.
Response was mixed, he said, and once he considered the logistics of a bike ride, he changed the plan to travel possibly by charter bus. Worthington said he had about 30 students who have talked to him so far about participating, and the plan is for the trip to be for three weeks in late May and early June.
“I think a lot of the reason I’m getting such a good response is that people really do want to help and want to send more than just money, which isn’t a bad thing; we just want to do more,” Worthington said.
Worthington is talking with a representative from Greyhound who he knows about the cost of taking a bus from Abilene to New Orleans or possibly Mississippi. He is also looking for corporate sponsorship to help pay for needed supplies to help rebuild buildings and said he will approach churches in the area about housing students for the time they’re there.
“This trip isn’t supposed to be comfortable,” Worthington said. “It’s supposed to be sacrificial. When you go down there, you have to give up a lot, not just time-wise, but emotionally as well.”
He said it is important to continue to help rebuild and much work will be needed six to 10 months from when Katrina hit. He said he wants to be involved in rebuilding things that benefitted the community, such as churches and shelters. While he has not nailed down most of the logitics, and he is still in the brainstorming stage, Worthington said he wants people to respond and get involved and not be afraid to take a chance to help others.
“I honestly believe that this is something that Christ calls us to do–to share other’s burdens,” he said.
If a student is interested in participating or wants more information, Worthington said they can contact him at email@example.com.
Worthington said he wants to encourage students not to worry about whether the trip will be considered a success, but rather, if they are being faithful to it and what they are called to do.
“If you want to be a part of this, be faithful to this,” Worthington said. “I need people who are going to create the ground for people to stand on. That’s the whole idea of faith: stepping out on a limb when you’re not sure what’s there.”