This Spring Break, the members of Habitat for Humanity will be volunteering their time and efforts in the construction of homes for people in need across the southern United States. This year, the locations include Maryville, Tennessee; Sumter, South Carolina; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that aims to build and repair homes for people who do not have sufficient forms of shelter. So far, the organization has helped serve over 3 million people worldwide.
“On campus, our chapter works to plan the Spring Break and Fall Break trips, plan local builds for volunteers, raise money, and raise awareness about poverty and Habitat’s mission,” Senior Habitat Spring Break Intern Brooke Meyer said. Alongside Dave Newell from the Center for Servant Leadership, Meyer is involved in planning all aspects of the Spring Break trip, from tracking fundraising efforts to completing paperwork.
Each year, Habitat sends three groups of students to three different locations on what are known as “Collegiate Challenge Trips.”
“Each group will be working on houses during the day, and exploring the cities and doing team building and reflection at night. We’ll pick up wherever the last group left off, construction wise, so we won’t know exactly what we’ll be doing until we get there. In the past, groups have done roofing, siding, built walls, laid foundations, painted, and many other tasks. Twice a day, team leaders will engage students in discussion about what they are experiencing and seeing on the worksite and in the community, and how that connects with their daily life,” Senior Co-President Tristan Richards said.
After the Spring Break trip, Habitat will also be focusing on Act!Speak!Build! week. From April 14 to 19, Habitat will be building a shed to be donated to the St. Peter Habitat house. There will also be events occurring each day of that week.
The Gustavus chapter of Habitat for Humanity won the opportunity for speaker Jose Quiñonez to appear through a Habitat International contest. He will be speaking on Tuesday, April 16 about advocacy and leadership.
Habitat for humanity teaches its members value of what it means to have a home, something many people may take for granted.
“I’ve formed some of my deepest, most meaningful relationships through Habitat, and the people I work with blow my mind every day with their passion. Working with Habitat has been an opportunity to constantly reflect on what “home” means to me and it’s taught me a lot about my values, skills, and passions,” Richards said.
While reflecting on a past trip, Maricle-Roberts is reminded of the familial-like bonds created through working together towards a common goal.
“When I was a freshman, I went on the trip to Bluffton, S.C. and had an amazing time.Everyone shared a common purpose, a common passion. We worked hard together, we got dirty together, we slept in the cramped vans together. That camaraderie is something I’ve never found in another group of people. Everyone I have met through Habitat has been so kind and so passionate about helping others and volunteering. I love surrounding myself with people like that, and that is why I wanted to be on the Executive Board,” Maricle-Roberts said.