12 Reasons Daisy Winner Loves SSP

12 Reasons Daisy Winner Loves SSP

Daisy Winner worked on SSP summer staff in Susanville, CA and Stockton/Coarsegold, CA. She is currently working for Seed Global Health in Boston, MA and is one of our newest 12xSSP donors. Here are 12 reasons she loves SSP:

  1. It inspired me to pursue a career dedicated to service
  2. It taught me flexibility and creativity in challenging situations
  3. Gave me life long friends
  4. It gave the skills to work well with others from a variety of backgrounds
  5. It taught me how a little help can go a long way in making a difference in someone’s life
  6. It taught me to love and accept others
  7. I can build a deck and reroof a house now
  8. It showed me that everyone has a skill and knowledge to share
  9. It brought me to new places whose beauty I will never forget
  10. It taught me humility and grace
  11. It showed me that everyone deserves love
  12. It taught me that service is something anyone can be a part of!


Taming the “Beast Ramp”

Taming the “Beast Ramp”

By Moe Leneweaver

SSP Summer Staff 2010-’12 and 12xSSP donor


My first summer on staff I was a part of a three-person construction team in South Los Angeles led by Brandon Leppla. This was Brandon’s third year of being on staff… and my third week. I would have been happy running simple projects all summer, afraid of messing up something as complicated as a wheelchair ramp.

We knew that she really needed a ramp.

Brandon and I visited a woman who had requested a wheelchair ramp. She was unable to leave her home, except the one time each week that her nephew would take her to church. We knew that she really needed a ramp. As we looked around her cramped courtyard we also knew that it was going to be a real challenge to build. This ramp was going to have complicated turns and platforms that needed to be drilled into the concrete. We decided to call it “the beast ramp.” Knowing that Brandon had the most experience, I thought it was safe to assume that he would be taming the beast ramp while I got my toes wet managing paint projects.

But Brandon wasn’t about to let me take the easy way out. He put me in charge of the beast ramp. I had to take all that I had learned during training and put it into practice. I had to not only plan the ramp layout, but I also had to teach teenagers how to build it!

It was an amazing moment that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

After six weeks of sweat and tears (thankfully there was no blood), I remember watching Ms. Garnett roll down the beast ramp for the first time. The joy of watching her was mixed with a terrible fear that the whole thing was going to crumble at any second. I breathed a sigh of relief when she made it safely down the ramp and out of her house on her own. It was an amazing moment that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

When Brandon put me in charge of the beast ramp, he gave me the opportunity to step up. When Ms. Garnett rolled down the beast ramp and out of her house, I had proven to myself that I was capable of more than I thought.

Flash forward four years. At the ripe old age of 23 I found myself in a position I wouldn’t have predicted. I was running a non-profit. I was responsible for organizing over 1,000 people to stand and demand change for their community. I was putting together proposals that leveraged millions of dollars each year. I was responsible for developing and managing the budget, for managing the other staff. I found myself with quite a bit of responsibility.

What kind of 23 year old does that? A 23 year old who has worked for Sierra Service Project.

I say all of these things not to toot my own horn- by any means. I say all of these things as a way of showing thanks for what others have done. I know that those skills, courage, and confidence came from opportunities that others gave me to develop them.

(…) there is no better place for me to invest the resources I’ve been given.

If SSP can continue to do this – to create change agents who have the courage to take on the challenges thrown their way – then there is no better place for me to invest the resources I’ve been given.


Editor’s Note: Applications for SSP summer staff are due February 8. Encourage a young adult you know to learn more and submit an application for an amazing summer experience!

Why I’m a 12xSSP Donor

Why I’m a 12xSSP Donor

By Cheryl Breitenbucher

SSP Youth 1995-96, Adult Counselor from Brentwood Community United Methodist Church


I’m a 12xSSP donor because SSP is the epitome of serving humbly in love. My first experience with SSP was when I was 16 years old, and my church group from Linden United Methodist Church went to Klamath. I was opened up to all sorts of new experiences. My group painted a house for a Native American family.

I’m a 12xSSP donor because SSP is the epitome of serving humbly in love.

I remember this very spiritual event where we walked along a rocky area near the river. We were asked to place paper bags at different spots. I’m sure we talked about how we seem small and don’t always understand what the big picture is. We hiked a bit, and scrambled up toward a bridge, just as the sun was setting. Down below, the SSP staff were lighting luminaries, and when we looked down below, it was in the shape of a hand that we helped make, representing God’s hand. It was incredibly beautiful, knowing that I was part of something bigger, God’s love.

It was incredibly beautiful, knowing that I was part of something bigger, God’s love.

That same night, it was warm, and we got to sleep outside under the stars, during the August meteor shower. It was the most magical light show I’ve ever seen. The following year, I went again as a camper, to Bishop. I was pushed past my own limits (roofing a home), made new friends, used an outhouse in a field of cows, and an outdoor makeshift shower.


During the last 3 years, I’ve experienced SSP as a counselor with Weekends of Service in South Los Angeles, Vernonia, and Sacramento with our youth from Brentwood Community UMC. Watching our youth group feel empowered to help others is a powerful thing, and I hope that Sierra Service Project continues their good works. It really helped to solidify my faith, and I don’t think at the time I realized how meaningful those experiences were until I really reflected on their impact.


Editor’s Note: Cheryl is one of over 100 individuals who are a part of the 12xSSP monthly recurring donation program. Considering joining them in support of SSP’s mission!

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  • #SSPsitevisit is underway in #SSPsmithriver. Volunteers will experience the profound power of the redwoods and North Coast. Check out updates on the site IG account: @sspsmithriver17
  • Just two weeks to go until the @bigdayofgiving! #GiveTogether to help us raise $10,000 to empower teens and repair homes. Mark your calendar to give on May 4th, or schedule your donation today! (Link in bio.)
  • WE LOVE @dayspringtempe! Not only have they participated in our programs for 15 years, their foundation just made a two-year financial commitment to SSP. This church body has contributed hundreds of youth volunteers, dozens of summer staffers, and $3,000 both this year and next (the cost of two wheelchair ramps)! If your church has a foundation dedicated to funding programs like ours, visit the link in our bio for more information.

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