HomeCity NewsLCPC Habitat Team Builds Homes in Mississippi

LCPC Habitat Team Builds Homes in Mississippi

First published in the April 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

By Anna Duncan
Special to the Outlook

On March 19, La Cañada Presbyterian Church’s Youth Ministry Department left with 15 students and two staff members for their annual trip partnering with Habitat for Humanity in Tutwiler, Mississippi.
Led by Bob McGlashan and LCPC staff member Anna Duncan, the 15 students from La Cañada Flintridge schools along with four other adults, framed their 24th house for the township of Tutwiler. Students spent the week on the construction site in the morning and either continuing on in the afternoon or spending the afternoon volunteering at the community center with local youth.

Staying in a dorm amid the houses that LCPC has framed over the years, the students get to meet residents and spend time in the community. On Sunday, students were able to attend church in Tutwiler at Rollins United Methodist Church under the care of Rev. Willie Williams. At a church service much different from the style they attend in La Cañada, students met Rev. Willie and members of the Rollins congregation who served the LCPC Habitat team lunch following the service.
At the end of each work day, the LCPC Habitat team had dinner at restaurants in the neighboring city of Clarksdale, at the home of philanthropist Sykes Sturdivant, and a homemade dinner cooked by the Tutwiler Habitat team.

The LCPC Habitat for Humanity team raises a framed wall of a house they helped to build earlier this spring in the township of Tutwiler, Mississippi.

Students were able to experience Mississippi culture by driving through Eric Clapton’s crossroads, roaming cotton fields and enjoying true Southern comfort food and hospitality. Finishing off each night with games in the dorm, the LCPC Habitat students framed a house with typically as little as four to five hours of sleep per night.
On a rainy day that prohibited job site work, the students were able to go to the courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, where two men who lynched, tortured and killed Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy, were tried and found not guilty in September 1955. Sitting in the jury box, the LCPC Habitat team was given a presentation of Till’s story by Benjamin Saulsberry and the Rev. Williams. Saulsberry is the Public Engagement and Museum Education Director for the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.
Students learned about Till’s killing, the impact the murder trial had on the Civil Rights Movement, and the apology issued in 2007 to the surviving members of the Till family from the citizens of Tallahatchie County. Students and adults were allotted time to ask questions and hear about the importance of remembering our country’s past in order to pave a brighter future for generations to come.
For six days, the LCPC Habitat team, whether it was their first trip or their 10th, had the opportunity to live a reality that feels far different from their own. Once the second poorest city in the United States, Tutwiler and its residents continue to teach teams year after year profound lessons in love, inclusion and gratitude. Whether it is learning how to use a hammer for the first time or beginning to be truly grateful for their lives back home, students and adults come back changed after learning, experiencing and serving in something bigger than themselves or the community they come from.
Contact Anna Duncan for more information on the 2023 LCPC Habitat for Humanity trip to Tutwiler, Mississippi, at anna@lacanadapc.org.

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