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Students will help build homes for Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville, Fla.
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Students Go on Alternative Winter Break

For several years, Notre Dame College students have spent their spring and fall breaks building homes for Habitat for Humanity. For the first time this year, they will use part of their winter break to do the same in Jacksonville, Fla. While the students are anxious to get out of the Cleveland snow and spend time in the sun, their prime motivation is to be of service to others.

“I like to go on these trips to see how others live and I like knowing that I am helping other people,” says sophomore Amanda Misencik, who went on previous volunteer trips organized by Notre Dame’s Office of Campus Ministry.

NDC students will put their hard hats on building homes for Habitat for Humanity this winter break.Misencik and 13 other students will head to Florida this Saturday to take up Habitat’s “Collegiate Challenge,” a year-round alternative break program that connects students with one of the 200 Habitat affiliates throughout the country. The group will spend one week working in partnership with the local affiliate, the local community and partner families to help eliminate poverty housing in the area.

The students will blog about their experiences on the College website.

“There’s a spiritual dimension when they are there,” says Director of Campus Ministry Anthony Camino. “This is a little more than just physical labor. This is global responsibility in action. It illustrates the need to be of service to others and be responsible for others outside our circle.”

Camino says the service trips are popular among students because they get a chance to interact with the people who will help build and later live in the Habitat homes.

Laying tile is one of the many construction jobs the students will perform.“The students have a chance to interact and hopefully form a common bond with people in need,” Camino says. “Hopefully service will have become an integral part of them when they leave Notre Dame College.”

Sophomore Erin McGrath, who coordinated the trip, says the Habitat for Humanity trips add to a student’s college experience. “I am excited to see how each individual student will change through the experiences we will gain,” she says.

McGrath and her fellow volunteers each paid $100 for the trip, while the College picked up the rest of the tap. The students will drive to Florida and make a pit stop at a Habitat affiliate in Mount Airy, N.C., where they will spend the night at a Baptist church.

After enjoying a day off on Monday, the students will work on the homes seven hours a day for the rest of the week. They will stay at a local church and have the afternoons available to soak up the sun, before heading home to snowy Cleveland on Saturday.

By Christian Taske ’07, editor & writer at Notre Dame College.