There are a lot of great opportunities available to be a part of here at CCP. One of these opportunities comes around every spring break and it’s known as the Alternative Spring Break Option. This event is a chance to volunteer to spend the week of spring break giving back to those less fortunate.
CCP partners with Habitat for Humanity to send students and faculty volunteers to locations where their help is needed. The volunteers help at the location with whatever is needed, things like painting, putting up drywall, refurbishing, even putting up support beams for the walls, and laying down concrete for the foundation. Habitat for Humanity has both the future homeowners and professionals/experts come to show the volunteers what needs to be done so no prior experience with building is necessary.
Volunteering is a life enriching experience that will only cost you the time spent, which will pay off in the long run. Helping someone build their future home is an experience that will leave you feeling humble and so very grateful. This past spring break I attended the Huntsville, Alabama trip and worked to put up the walls of someone’s future home.
When we arrived there was a driveway and a concrete slab with some piping sticking out of the ground. For the next couple of days we worked to put up the beams that would support the roof and walls of the home. Most of us had little-to-no prior experience with tools or building anything, but after a few days it was wonderful to see the outline of someone’s home take shape.
“For three days we were able to build about 90% of the framework to some’s home,” said Angie DeCaprio, a volunteer on the Huntsville, AL trip. “Words cannot even begin to describe how amazing this experience was and how thankful I was to get an opportunity like this. I made new friends and new memories that I’ll keep forever and always remember. And I can’t wait to hopefully do it again next year.”
It’s also an opportunity to travel and meet new people. While volunteers are there to work hard, there are often opportunities, after the work day is done, to explore and discover a place that you’ve perhaps never been to before.
On the Huntsville, AL trip, we were lucky enough to make stops to places on our way to and also close to our destination such as visiting the Vulcan statue in Birmingham, AL, and also stopping to hike through The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on our way home to Philly. Meanwhile, on the Jacksonville, FL trip, volunteers were able to enjoy a beach day.
It is also beneficial for applications to do volunteer work. Being able to say that you have done volunteer work previously is something that looks great on resumes and college applications. It may also serve as a starting point for future interests in volunteering.
Our chaperone, Professor Jeff Markovitz an English professor and director of the creative writing certificate program here at CCP, enlightened us to the idea of “paying it forward.” Hoping to perpetuate the cycle of giving back to those less fortunate and thus, in turn, hoping they help to give back in their new communities and so on.
Editor-in-Chief of The Vanguard, Michael Castaneda, was one of the volunteers on the Jacksonville, FL trip. They worked on houses that were already built by painting and other forms of maintenance. Their hard work helped put the finishing touches on a home that a deserving family would soon live in. This particular group also got to meet with and work alongside the family who would live there.
“It was really nice to meet the people who were going to buy a home from habitat for humanity,” said Castaneda. “I was able to talk with a few of them and they were really grateful for our help. Some of our students were able to donate their time to the homeowners, so they could get closer to their mandatory 300 volunteer hours.”
Helping someone you’ve never met before but you know needs help will hopeful inspire them to help others in need simply because they need it. It’s a cycle that will hopeful continue and grow larger with every new volunteer.