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  April 28th, 2014  Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity Current News RSS/XML Feed

Students Trade Swimsuits for Hammers

FRANKLIN, WV (April 28, 2014) Some students are trading their swimsuits for hammers, the beach for construction sites, oceanfront hotels rooms for bunk beds and cots during their spring break vacation this year. They are giving up a week of relaxation to help families in need by building and repairing homes with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity.

The students are participating in Habitat for Humanity’s alternative break program called, “Collegiate Challenge.”

“This spring break, 24 groups, totaling over 450 students and faculty, from 14 states are traveling to Pendleton, Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties to build houses and hope for those in need. Collectively these students are contributing over $67,000 that will be used to buy the building materials necessary to repair existing homes and to build new ones,” says Michelle L. Connor, CEO of Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. “We’ve been hosting Collegiate Challenge volunteers for over 20 years, but as part of our service area expansion, two years ago we started hosting volunteers in Greenbrier County and we are excited about continuing to host volunteers in Pocahontas County,” continues Connor.

Katie Aldrich, from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana reflects, “I absolutely loved this spring break! I definitely plan on working with Habitat again in the future. I think the organization of this program is incredible and serves as a great learning process for volunteers and group leaders alike.”

Gabe Alvarez, a student from Illinois Institute of Technology, sees it as better than any beach vacation, “I now see the power of this organization to promote change in the world and advocate for a chain reaction that will benefit all those in need. This has been a true eye-opener and I am blessed for this opportunity that was given.”
Greenbrier, Pendleton, and Pocahontas Counties are not alone. For the past 25 years, more than 230,000 students have spent their school breaks volunteering across the country through Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program, donating nearly $24 million to Habitat affiliates.

”We are grateful to all of the students who have so graciously dedicated their spring break to helping others over the last 25 years,” said Mark Andrews, Habitat for Humanity International’s vice president of volunteer and institutional engagement. “Many families have been able to realize their dream of home ownership thanks to the Collegiate Challenge program.”

The Collegiate Challenge program is one of the many programs Habitat has to engage youth ages 5 to 25 in Habitat’s work. In addition to the ongoing support State Farm® offices provide to local Habitat affiliates across the United States, State Farm has served as the national corporate sponsor of Habitat for Humanity’s youth programs since 2007.

This year, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity plans to help 30 families. The organization has served Eastern West Virginia for 25 years providing safe, decent, affordable homes for hundreds of families. To date the organization has built and sold over 150 new homes and performed repairs on over 600 additional homes, all in partnership with low-income families in need, making their dream of homeownership a reality.

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