During spring break, a group of students from LHU took a trip down to North Carolina through MountainServe to build a house for a single mother and her five children.
Thirteen students gathered together and took an eight hour drive down to Newport, North Carolina at 4:30 in the morning. On the ride down, they had no idea where they were sleeping, they were all expecting to be staying on the floor of a church. “We didn’t know where we were staying on the drive down, we had no idea what to expect until they gave us the keys to our house on the beach and drove us there and it’s not always like that so we are very lucky.” said Hailey Vaka, a freshman majoring in Health Science.
On their first night, they were able to meet the family that they building the house for. They got to know the mother and five children who ranged from ages 7-17.
Vaka said, “Something that helped make the trip better was that we all got along and had a common goal of wanting to do community service and to give back to the community.”
Habitat for Humanity’s national alternative spring break program, Collegiate Challenge, works with college students in hopes to engage the next generation of leaders.
“I liked how I felt like we helped a town that really needed it because we were on the TV, radio and on the front page of their newspaper, so I felt like we were really helping the community. “ said Morgan Capobianco, a freshman majoring in Health Science.
Most of the costs were covered by SAS, Habitat for Humanity also provided dinners and lunches. There were also free activities to do as part of service learning trips. “We took a ferry over to Carrot Island, visited Fort Macon and went kayaking,” Vaka mentioned.
One of the volunteers there, also helping with the building process, told the group of students that seeing them give up their spring break and giving back to a community makes him feel good about the future.
“I think the greatest thing was that I was going with a group of people from the university that all have similar interests and it was nice to go with a group of people who wanted to give back to the community,” Vaka said.
This isn’t the first year Lock Haven has done this. Last year, students went down to Georgetown, North Carolina and put together door frames and windows for a few different houses.
“I did a lot of community service in high school and wanted to continue once I got to college. I’ve also always wanted to get involved with Habitat for Humanity and was glad this opportunity came up.” Said Chloe Farrell a freshman and health science major studying pre-physical therapy.
Terren Lesher, a Sophomore majoring in Secondary English Education and Special Education said, “It’s wonderful to see the progress you can make by just using your hands in just five days and how much you just changed a family’s life.”
“Even though we were able to stay on the beach, I would still go down just for the people even if it meant sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. It’s a great feeling to give back not just to one person but to an entire community,” said Capobianco.
Photos: Chloe Farrell