Monday, April 11, 2011

For WC Students, Building a Home for Habitat Is "the Very Best Way to Spend Spring Break"

CHESTERTOWN—Twenty-eight members of the Washington College community spent their spring break week building a house in Columbus, GA, as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge Program. This was the College program’s 12th alternative Spring Break trip, and its largest team of participants yet: 25 students and one alumnus (Charles Grigg ’10) were joined by staff member Maria Hynson and economics professor David Wharton, both of whom were making their fourth Habitat trip.
During the Week of March 14-18, the volunteers partnered with NeighborWorks of Columbus and Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity to erect a home at 2055 Cusseta Drive for future owners David and Tomeka Grayer and their children Kayla, 13, and Brandon, 9. They worked through sun and rain, and slept on the gym floor of St. Mark's United Methodist Church, which has hosted Washington College for four years running. In their off hours, the volunteers took advantage of free movie passes, ice cream and hockey-game tickets provided by Columbus merchants.
The students returned full of satisfaction about a job well done. “Seeing Mr. and Mrs. Grayer read the notes we wrote on the wall really touched my heart. It made me feel like I was actually helping a family in need rather than just building a house and having fun,” sophomore Katie Bradley told the campus newspaper, The Elm.
“Once again the Spring Break Habitat for Humanity trip has provided me with one of the best weeks of my life. It is the very best way to spend spring break,” added junior Amanda Whitaker.

Senior Kris Kelley, a resident of Chestertown and a three-year veteran of Habitat, shared a scene from the trip with the Elm’s Aubrey Hastings. “As we passed the worksite on our way home I saw the Grayers walking into their new home for the first time,” said Kelley. “This image will forever be with me. There are few things that can fill my heart with this much happiness.”

This year was extra special for returning Habitat for Humanity members, because the group went to a home it had built for a family last spring and was able to see the family living there.
In addition to Kelley, Eastern Shore students who volunteered for the week included Sarah Billmyre ’11 of Oxford, Courtney Burton ’12 of Salisbury, Taylor Goss ’13 of Denton, Aubrey Hastings ‘13 of Seaford, DE, Devin Hayward ’14 of Townsend, DE, Kristina Kelley ’11 and Amanda Whitaker ’12 of Chestertown, Darcy Klinedinst ’13, of Dagsboro, DE, Billie Ricketts ’13 of Crumpton, and Jacob Startt ’13 and Steve Stranahan ’12 of Easton.

The Washington College crew poses with the owners of 2055 Cussetta Drive in Columbus, GA.