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BU students spend their spring break doing good

     Now that spring break has ended and the second half of the semester is well on its way, we’re all wishing that we were back on spring break. But as we think of that time, the question comes; did we spend it wisely? For twenty Bloomsburg University students, they can proudly say yes. These twenty students spent their spring break helping to build homes for those in need, with Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s “Collegiate Challenge” program.
When asked about her choice to work for Habitat for Humanity of Broward, Bloomsburg University student, Katelyn Santana, said that she was, “excited to actually do something with spring break and give back.” Meeting the families that she was helping had a huge impact on her.

     The dream for most spring breakers is a week spent lounging at the beach; of course reality is normally a week spent at home doing nothing. But what if that time was actually spent doing good for others. Habitat for Humanity has provided alternative spring break volunteer opportunities to college students for more than twenty-five years. More than 250,000 students have committed to building safe, affordable homes across the United States. Habitat for Humanity of Broward, located in Fort Lauderdale Florida, hosts this unique volunteer program for several weeks during the month of March, each week hosting almost 60 students.

     Students from all over the country can select Broward as their site. Students, alongside Habitat Broward’s Leader and Core Volunteer worked on seven new homes in Fort Lauderdale and six new homes in Pompano Beach during their visit. Maybe you’re thinking, this is all great but where am I supposed to stay after traveling all the way to Florida? Well, Habitat Broward provides accommodations right on Fort Lauderdale beach, at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. And what do you know; you still get to spend your spring break at the beach!

     Mariah Butbil, another BU student, said that the experience was really cool, and that she’s “never done anything like this before”. Working side by side with the homeowner, and being able to be a part of his homebuilding process was one of the most amazing parts for her.

     Over 100 students representing six colleges from all over the country used their spring break to make a difference by building homes this March. Participating schools include: University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, Catholic University of America (Washington D.C.), University of Findlay (Findlay, Ohio), North Carolina State University, Truman State University (Kirksville, MO), and Theta Tau Omega from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Maybe you actually do want to volunteer, but you don’t have a group that’s already going. All you need is five or more friends! Or you can convince one of the clubs you participate in to join. Pick a location that you have always wanted to travel to in the U.S. and go there to make a difference!

     If your parents aren’t sold on the idea, tell them that Nancy Robin, CEO and Executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Broward says, “Collegiate Challenge offers an education all on its own. Young adults learn construction and build lifelong friendships. At the same time, families realize the dream of home ownership. That makes for a truly memorable spring break”.

     Habitat for Humanity prides itself on the work it does to help make a difference in the lives of hard-working, low-income families. Volunteers play an essential role in their mission, “Building strength, stability, and self reliance through affordable housing”. Habitat Broward builds houses in partnership with families who are willing to work hard to provide their children with a stable home environment for the future.

     When talking about the work that is being done, Alex, a site supervisor, says, “It’s everything to the families. Under normal circumstances they wouldn’t be able to own a house”.

     But there are so many ways to give besides volunteering to build houses. Are you part of an organization that wants to do some good in the world? They can become a sponsor for one of the projects. The year is slowly but surely coming to an end and soon it will be time to move out and head back home, or maybe off to a new place. Is there any old furniture or appliances that you were simply planning on chucking before you left? Instead donate to Habitat for Humanity! And maybe you have a job lined up and are planning to buy a newer and more reliable car. Don’t let that old car go to waste, donate old vehicles to help build homes.

     BU student Melina Blundetta says that her experience at Habit for Humanity Broward was, “a lot of fun”. She also states that it was a “good new experience for a lot of us”.

     Although this chance might seem like unnecessary work for students who really just want a break from school, it is a fun new experience that you’ll remember forever. So maybe instead of going to the beach next year, you can go someplace new, meet new people, and really make a difference. Or, if you don’t want to sacrifice your time, donate your money or just old things for a good cause!


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