Students and chaperones – 30 in total – from The University of Findlay recently returned from the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge Alternative Spring Break Trip in Mandeville, La., March 3-11, where they helped to build six homes in different phases of construction and even saw some alligators.
Once the group arrived in Louisiana, they worked with the Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West affiliate, which coordinated their work during the week. Building site tasks included raising trusses, insulating the houses with foam and house wrap, raising and securing walls, laying interior trim and more.
The Peace Lutheran Mission Center provided lodging each night.
“It was so rewarding to know that I was making someone’s life a lot brighter,” said Danielle Rasey, who especially enjoyed getting to know the other people who traveled with the group.
Rasey became familiar with Findlay’s Habitat group after helping with a local build in September 2011.
For Kassy Wene, the spring break trip was her first spring break trip of any kind and her first time traveling farther than southern Indiana. Wene applied to be part of the trip because she felt that she could give back to others who needed it. “My family received help from our community when my dad had an accident in 2001 that left him paralyzed. I know how important it is to serve others …” she said.
In addition to gaining 29 new friends and helping others, one of Wene’s favorite memories is from the trip’s cultural experience day. The group took a Cajun Pride swamp tour, which included a boat ride through the Louisiana swamp and getting up close and personal with alligators, and sightseeing, shopping and eating in New Orleans.
UF alumna Jeanine Scheidler also traveled with the group as a chaperone after having participated in the alternative spring break trip twice while she was a student at Findlay. She said she wanted to give back to her campus community and serve with current students in a new capacity.
Crystal Weitz, coordinator of Campus Compact and Habitat for Humanity UF chapter adviser, enjoyed sharing the trip experience with so many students who hadn’t previously taken part in an alternative spring break. “The students brought their willing hearts and hands to serve others and build the Habitat for Humanity family,” she said.