Students receive opportunity to help during spring break

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published March 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 1, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
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When most people think of spring break, images of beaches, big cities and being lazy all day come to mind. For the four groups of students participating in Habitat for Humanity’s national alternative-spring-break program, Collegiate Challenge, their break will be spent in a much different way.

These groups, from four states, will spend their spring break in Benton to help build two homes in the city’s Partnership Village, where Habitat for Humanity of Saline County has constructed 53 homes since 1999.

The first group of students will arrive today and will stay in one of the homes in Partnership Village for the remainder of the week. The home will serve as the “volunteer base” for all of the student volunteers.

The volunteers will include students from Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.; the University of New Hampshire in Durham; and Western Kentucky

University in Bowling Green; as well as a youth group from St. Jude Catholic Church in Bossier City, La.

Amy Bennett, associate director of volunteer and affiliate operations for Habitat for Humanity of Saline County, said the Collegiate Challenge build is a great way for students to volunteer in the community.

“They always have a really great time getting to know the family [who will own the home],” Bennett said.

Students who participate in the program will build houses alongside the people who will own and live in the houses when they are completed.

“The community benefits because Saline County does have a lot of poverty,” said Lauren Warren, executive assistant with Habitat for Humanity of Saline County.

Warren said the students will be in town the first, second and fourth weeks of March. Habitat is expecting to have the two houses the college students will build close to completion at the end of the month.

Warren said she thinks the students will have a good time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

“The neat thing about Habitat is that you can look back and say, ‘I helped build that. I helped a family have a house,’” Warren said.

Habitat for Humanity builds houses with families in need, and the organization sells the home to the family at a lower price than would otherwise be available.

“A house could cost $95,000, and we’re able to sell it to [the family] at $65,000 because people have donated labor and materials to go into the house,” Warren said.

Although the Collegiate Challenge build is geared toward students, both Bennett and Warren said the organization always needs as many volunteers as it can get.

Information on volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Saline County is available at www.habitatsalinecounty.com.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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