For many students, Spring Break is a time to relax and unwind after a stressful Winter Term. Returning home to spend time with family or going on a trip with friends is the norm as students attempt to recharge before yet another busy ten weeks. But for some students, Spring Break is a time to give back and help others. This year, one such group of Lawrence students went down to Tennessee to spend their week volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
The work they managed to get done for the organization in such a short amount of time is very impressive. Trip leader and Lawrence Habitat for Humanity Secretary, Jenni Sefcik, elaborated that the group “helped build and finish about five houses, we put down a lot of sod and did a lot of roofing. Other than that we built some walls and worked at the local Habitat ReStore, where we helped sort clothes and other items so they could sell them.” Although the work was difficult, the week wasn’t all spent with a drill and hammer in hand. When the group wasn’t volunteering, they spent their time taking full advantage of what Tennessee has to offer. Sefcik mentioned trip highlights like “hiking in the Smoky Mountains—so much fun– learning to Contra Dance—best part—or going to the Knoxville Zoo.”
It seems that the students got as much out of the experience as the community they were helping. For freshman Kara Taft, the greatest benefits of the trip were “being able to get closer to the other people on the trip while also doing something worthwhile to help others. I think we all had a lot of fun together while also doing something to help the community we were staying in, which was very rewarding.”
Sophomore Hayley Cardinal felt the experience was similarly worthwhile. “The whole week was incredibly rewarding,” said Cardinal. “I learned how to roof a house, sod, and build walls—all things I never thought I would be able to do.” But the benefits of the work went beyond the technicalities of the work for her as well, as she expanded “I’ve always wanted to go on a build, and I feel like I utilized my break in the best way by giving back in this memorable way. I also had an amazing time, getting to make tons of new friends and seeing the gorgeous landscape of Tennessee.”
That our students are willing to volunteer their free time for the benefit of others is something that the entire Lawrence community can be proud of, and the Habitat trip was just one of many ways that students gave back. It serves as a reminder that there are always opportunities to contribute, not just to the Lawrence or Appleton communities, but to the world at large. Based on the experiences of the Habitat trip, no matter what kind of volunteer work you’re doing, the experience will no doubt be a rewarding one.