Spring Breakers use time off to volunteer

University of Delaware is off for spring break this week.  Instead of using this time to soak up some sun on a beach a group of students traveled to Laurel to help Habitat for Humanity with a restoration project.

The group is part of UDAB, or University of Delaware Alternative Breaks.  The program helps students find community service events they can become involved with.

"My one friend actually did a UDAB trip last semester and I was talking to her about it, and she said it was overall like a great experience," said Jonathan Rego, a chemical engineer major.  "Helping out the community, learning more things, and I thought it would be a great way of spending spring break."

The home at 211 Oak Street was stripped of its floors and insulation.  Enough junk to fill a dumpster was removed from the backyard.  Two feet of sand was dug out from the crawlspace and distributed around the backyard. 

Habitat works with colleges and universities to get groups of college students to contribute.  So far, Sussex County Habitat has worked with about 25 higher education institutions, some as far as Minnesota and Maine.

"These students bring a real energy to the work," said Jan Gundy with Sussex Habitat.  "They decided to… give their spring breaks in this capacity."

The work done by groups like this can shorten renovation time by weeks or sometimes months, giving new homeowners that extra time to enjoy their home.

Andy Amponsah says the future homeowner at 211 Oak Street came out to help at one point.  He said that put a new perspective on things.

"It was cool to actually see one of the homeowners come out here and work with us yesterday.  Seeing the smile on her face from all the work we're doing, it's all worth it."

For Gundy, he hopes something like this can inspire a lifetime of volunteering.

"We hope through their service here that they may work in other Habitat organizations in the years ahead.  But very importantly, they see the value of volunteering in an organization such as this and carry on that volunteer work throughout their lives."

Categories: Delaware, Local News