MELBOURNE, FLA.—Instead of taking to the beach during their spring break, six students from Florida Institute of Technology volunteered their time helping families in Tacoma, Wash., through Habitat for Humanity’s national alternative spring break program, Collegiate Challenge.
The alternative spring breakers, Nora Ashoura, Brittany Parker, Damian Harasiuk, Jason Cudemus-Brown, Courtney Moyer and Paul Regencia, with their adviser, Cat McGuire Carnley, assistant dean for student activities, helped families to live in simple, affordable housing. The group traveled to Tacoma March 5 to 12. The week was filled with a variety of building tasks ranging from installing new roofs, to putting up siding on the houses, and building an entire second story of one house.
“This is our university’s first time traveling during our spring break to volunteer for Habitat and we are delighted to be of service to other communities,” said Carnley. “Every single student had nothing but amazing things to say about their experience. They bonded over the common goal of helping those in need and would do it again in a heartbeat,” she added.
Following the positive response from the students who attended this year’s alternative spring break, plans for next year are already underway. “Next year, we should try to get more students out,” said Parker, one of the six students. “This experience will be remembered forever and makes me want to volunteer more with our local Habitat affiliates.”
For the past 22 years, more than 182,000 students have spent their school breaks volunteering across the country through the Collegiate Challenge program. The Collegiate Challenge is one of many that Habitat efforts to engage youth, from 5 to 25 years old, in volunteer work. Since 2007, State Farm Insurance has served as the national corporate sponsor of Habitat for Humanity’s youth programs, with a sponsorship commitment of more than $1.1 million in grants each year. Additionally, State Farm offices contribute more than $500,000 annually to Habitat affiliates across the United States.
“We recognize that these students could have done a number of things during their spring break and we are grateful for their support,” said Cody Logsdon, manager of youth volunteer engagement, Habitat for Humanity. “The work these students do during their spring break will have a lasting impact in communities across the country.”
CUTLINE: Front row, from left: Brittany Parker, Norah Ashoura, Paul Regencia
Back row, from left: Damian Harasiuk, Cat McGuire Carnley, Courtney Moyer, Jason Cudemus-Brown