UWF students sacrifice their Spring Break to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity

By Mackenzie Kees

Opinions Editor

 UWF students traveled to Boca Raton over Spring Break to help Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County. Photo courtesy of HFHSBC Facebook page.

UWF students traveled to Boca Raton over Spring Break to help Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County.
Photo courtesy of HFHSBC Facebook page.

Many organizations exist to help the underprivileged, one of the more well-known being Habitat for Humanity. Rather than just donate money to marginalized communities, Habitat for Humanity does something more tangible: It builds homes for those most in need, and it takes more than just monetary contributions to do this successfully. People willing to volunteer their time to help build the homes is imperative.

Over Spring Break, March 13-19, several UWF students heeded the call to service and joined Habitat for Humanity in South Palm Beach County (HFHSBC) for week four of the 2016 Collegiate Challenge. UWF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program made this outing possible through the efforts of trip leader Stacey Lee Field.

“Each ASB trip leader chooses a social justice issue that they want to work with; I chose to work with poverty and homelessness. It was through that decision that we decided to work with Habitat,” Stacey Lee Field, a junior majoring in psychology, said.

UWF teamed up with students from Indiana University to help repaint the homes of two families. Both of these homes were constructed by Habitat for Humanity back in 2004. “None of us knew that they would go back to [upkeep the homes]. It was nice to see that they helped keep the places looking good,” Field said.

In order to be considered as a potential Habitat homeowner, a long process must take place. A family must complete 400 hours of volunteer service, called sweat equity, which Mike Campbell, president and CEO for HFHSBC, told the Sun Sentinel “is [like] the down payment to their home.” Families also must complete 75 hours of classroom workshops to prepare for the financial responsibility of owning a home. The workshops also provide information on food and nutrition, as well as homebuyer education courses. So, Habitat for Humanity does not give houses away for free; instead, it provides people with the tools they need to better support their families, as well as a roof to sleep under.

Volunteers are the backbone of this nonprofit organization, and without the hard work of the UWF and Indiana University students who decided to sacrifice their Spring Break to help out those in need, these homes may have fallen into disrepair.

For more about UWF’s participation in the 2016 Collegiate Challenge, check out HFHSBC’s official Facebook page. To find out how to get involved with Pensacola’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, visit their website. More information on UWF’s ASB program can be found here.