Some students to spend break rebuilding neighborhood

imageWhile some classmates head south for fun and frivolity in the sun, about 20 SUNY Oswego students will spend their spring break working with Habitat for Humanity to revitalize an inner-city Baltimore neighborhood.

This will be the fifth year students, through the campus Center for Service Learning and Community Service, will participate in an Alternative Spring Break, the fourth working with Habitat for Humanity to build and renovate homes for families in need.

From March 14 to 20, Oswego students will help rehabilitate multiple row houses as part of an effort to re-establish a Baltimore neighborhood in tandem with the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity program, said Christy Huynh, coordinator of the college’s Center for Service Learning and Community Service. They will live in the neighborhood for that week to feel even more a part of the community, she added.

Huynh said $2,000 in Student Association funding supports the project, as well as around $500 that students raised. In addition, each student contributes $100 for travel, lodging, insurance and food. But participating students expect to receive invaluable experience even as they give their time.

“I hope to gain a few new friends and a respect for myself knowing that I have done at least a little part to help someone realize their dream,” said freshman Alexander Lyndaker. “Possibly learn a few more things about construction and be able to spend my spring break not just partying but helping someone.”

Sophomore Andrea Brandl looks at the project as an opportunity to lend a new perspective to her life while helping others. “I hope that through this experience I will gain an even greater appreciation for everything I have,” she said. “I also hope to make a difference in the life of someone who needs it.”

Tristan Foster, a senior, views the trip as a unique learning opportunity. “From this experience I hope to learn more about what can and is being done to help those in need. I hope to learn more about the people that are helping others. I hope to learn how I personally can help,” he said. “I hope to learn from the people around me, as well as give them any knowledge that I may be able to contribute.”

Students will have a special opportunity to see how their work helps when a house is dedicated and turned over to a family on March 19, the day before they wrap up their break.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Building dreams: This house at 600 Montpelier in inner-city Baltimore is one of many structures being renovated through a project by Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity. About 20 SUNY Oswego students will participate in an Alternative Spring Break project March 14 to 20 to help the community rebuilding effort. Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity.

(Posted: Mar 09, 2005)