by Alikay Wood
In July 2016, the Fulmer sisters from South Carolina spent a year visiting every state in America. Each week Lindsey and Lee Ellen agreed to volunteer at a local nonprofit in each of the 50 states. The sisters started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the road trip, and they were by hosted families in each state. The sisters had set out to inspire other people but along the way found themselves inspired. Here are a few of their experiences from their journey across the United States.
Though Lindsey Fulmer was enthusiastic about the cross-country trip from the start, her sister Lee Ellen (right) was skeptical (and felt homesick) until the pastor at the church attended by their host family in Minnesota offered the following bit of thought-provoking wisdom: "In life, you have a choice: You can choose peace, or you can choose panic." Lee Ellen decided to choose peace and thereafter saw evidence of God everywhere—with a little help from her sister.
Lindsey cleans the windows of the Shiloh Home of Hope in Emporia, Kansas. Shiloh Home of Hope is a non-denominational residential ministry for women and children. Those who are facing crisis can escape to this safe space of peace and positivity for themselves. The Shiloh Home's comforting environment and encouraging culture of support can help its residents get their lives back on track.
With the assistance of a helpful Labrador retriever, Lindsey works in the garden at Red Barn Farms. A nonprofit community farm and rehabilitation center for those with substance abuse issues, founded on the belief that "if students are brought back to their roots, new growth begins." Red Barn Farms provided a great opportunity for the sisters to learn more about an aspect of the human experience they were unfamiliar with, gaining perspective and knowledge that will serve them in their own lives.
Taking a selfie break with Sandy, the Executive Director of the Teddy Bear Den in South Dakota. The Teddy Bear Den is an incentive and education-based program for pregnant women on a limited income and their children.
Lindsey chips in to help with a clothing drive in North Carolina. "I'm learning to slow down and see how I can use my talents to help others in the long term," she said. The sisters are currently working on a book about their journey and hope their volunteering experiences inspire others to serve in their own communities.
The sisters land in Alaska to help out at Anchorage: reMADE, where volunteers assist a group of artists in repurposing items to help empower people to create positive change their lives. In 2017, they partnered with over 30 organizations and agencies to make that happen. Lindsey and Lee Ellen are seen here with members of the organization.
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