Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Service

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BY Sara Terpak

Asst. Features Editor

Habitat for Humanity is a dedicated group of students who strive to help improve the local and national communities in which they are a part of.

Each chapter of Habitat works throughout the country by participating in collegiate challenge alternative spring break trips, to assist different habitat affiliates in their mission and to broaden their perspective on what it means to serve.

Visiting over twenty-three states, Sacred Heart University’s chapter has planned four spring break trips this year attending three different states.

“Habitat for Humanity has always been an important aspect in my life and I was so excited to be able to continue this opportunity at my new home,” said sophomore nursing major Claire Vreeland.

Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County is an international nonprofit that has been transforming neighborhoods and building better lives. Whether people are interested in swinging a hammer, organizing a fundraiser, or serving on a committee, they are more than welcome to participate.

“I joined this club because I fell in love with the mission behind habitat and everything it stands for,” said senior health science major Leah Van Tronk.

Besides going away on spring break trips, their volunteering consists of ten to fifteen work days throughout the year on Friday and Saturdays. These volunteer days include cleaning up the environment around Bridgeport, or food canning which is outside fundraisers, to raise money for the trips and the families.

“My goal is to try to push people to think differently. I have a great executive board of ten members including me, two advisors, and support of the university. This is truly a collaborative effort,” said senior communications major Brendan Capuano.

Deciding where to go is a big factor. Habitat releases a list of locations; the board usually takes up to three weeks to decide where to go. They usually determine by calling up and asking questions, seeing what is around in the area. Most importantly which one is going to give the students the best opportunities.

“I love being able to give back to the community while building one. This club has opened my eyes to appreciate what I have,” said sophomore business major Amy Obraitiss.

The spring break trips include Hanover, Virginia and Cape Fear, North Carolina. New Bern, North Carolina and Fort Smith, Arkansas. There are about 65 students and faculty attending these trips.

“It’s not about where you go, it’s about the work and service that you do,” said Van Tronk.

Each trip is a new experience. People will experience new challenges, make new friendships, go outside their comforter zone, and hear inspiring stories.

“I love working with the people who have never been on a habitat trip before. It’s amazing to watch others grow,” said Capuano.

The North Carolina trips are addressing housing needs after the hurricanes that just occurred earlier in the year. In Arkansas, they will be working on a “new build,” meaning that the house has just been started. The group will be doing assignments like framing, raising walls, and roofing. However, the weather can be unpredictable, so the group may be painting and partaking in other activities in doors.

Three out of the four trips are being revisited to build. Virginia is a new location they will be travelling to. People are going to Virginia because there is a need in the community for infrastructure stability in the area.

Each trip is run similarly. Each work day on the trip is hard work. The students will wake up, go to work on the site, break for lunch, leave the worksite, and at the end of the day do a reflection on how the day went.

“Habitat is a wonderful organization that has touched the heart of many people, whether they be homeowners themselves or even the volunteers that help work on the homes. I will forever be impacted by Habitat for Humanity,” said Vreeland.

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