Huntington, Ind.—While some chose to lay on the sandy beaches of Florida to work on their tans, 13 students from Huntington University gave up their week of rest and relaxation to build houses in Benton Harbor, Mich., on March 16-20. The university's Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service partnered with Harbor Habitat for Humanity, the local Habitat affiliate, to take a group of HU students to complete multiple service projects around the community.
Scott Cressman and Lindsay Sherman spread mulch. Christopher Erickson is in the background.
Benton Harbor is located in southwest Michigan approximately two and a half hours from Huntington. Throughout the week, students spent their time working on a variety of tasks ranging from picking up trash, spreading mulch, and working directly on a house, putting up roof sheeting, painting, or putting in hurricane stripping. Students were on the worksite from 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m. each day.
Susanna Bucci works on a house.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students,” said Grace McBrayer, the JMC staff advisor. “All week I saw students be selfless, inclusive to each other and serve, serve, serve!”
After putting in more than five hours of physical work, the students took their afternoons off and enjoyed the environment. During free time, students enjoyed the scenery, interacted with members of the community, held devotional times, participated in other service projects, and spent time together as a group playing games and building relationships.
Johnathon Ralson, Josh Lawrence, Jon Birkey and Scott Cressman work on a roof.
Josh Lawrence, program coordinator of the JMC and the student leader of the trip, felt each student had a good experience. He thought the trip served as a good reminder of just how blessed students are relative to other places not too far from Huntington.
“Our group was great, and it meant a great deal to me that everyone was willing to give up their spring break to make a practical difference,” said Lawrence, a senior business management major from North Judson, Ind. “We not only grew as a team, but we saw the direct results of our efforts and the work we had done. I also think it helped put things in perspective for us.”
(beginning from the top of the pyramid) Josh Lawrence, Scott Cressman, Holly Harris, Johnathon Ralson, Heather Mayer, Susanne Bucci, Jon Birkey, Christopher Erickson, Kaity O'Brien, Michelle Kottlowski, Lindsay Sherman and Grace McBrayer
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