The Fulmer sisters are share more than just a last name. Lindsey and Lee Ellen share a heart for service. This shared inclination is so strong that the two women came up with the exact same idea at the very same time – set out on a road trip with the goal of volunteering in all 50 states.
Inspiration hit while the girls were living hundreds of miles apart. Lee Ellen was finishing her education degree in South Carolina and Lindsey was getting ready to start an internship in Oklahoma. When the girls found out they shared a desire to travel the states in search of service opportunities, they immediately began making plans.
And that’s how Project Wave was born. While Lindsey began planning out their route through the continental U.S., both girls began saving up their money and asking for donations to fund their journey of volunteerism. Another requirement was to find local non-profits to serve in each community where they stayed that would truly benefit from their volunteer efforts.
Finding smaller non-profits not only allowed the girls to work directly with people, but they felt it would educate them on what it means to serve. “We wanted to learn as much as possible on this trip,” Lee Ellen shared. “With the smaller non-profits, you have the opportunity to talk with the founders and directors and different department heads and work more closely with them.”
After a year of planning, Lindsey and Lee Ellen finally headed to Tennessee for their first week of volunteering in the summer of 2016. Now, more than a year later, the girls have visited 41 states and learned more than they could have ever imagined from their road trip of service.
“When you’re helping people of different backgrounds in different regions, you have to go in with an open mind,” Lindsey observed. “We’re going to help you do what you need done. We’re going to come in and learn about what you’re doing or what people are struggling with without any judgment. Whatever you need, we make it happen.” For Lee Ellen, the bottom line is inspiration. “Our simplest mission is to inspire people of all different talents to get out and use their talents to help their community.”
So what have the girls learned so far on their road trip? “One of the things we’ve seen throughout this trip is that organizations, people in need, families, everyone – people are genuinely good at the core of themselves,” said Lindsey. “They want to help people. They just need and opportunity to do that.”