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Spring Break for Good

April 21, 2015

Through Drexel’s Alternative Spring Break program, students have the chance to travel locally, nationally, and around the world to dive into service projects that benefit society and those in need. Product Design student Alexis China recently joined the 2015 trip to New Bern, North Carolina, where she worked with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a local family. “It was by far the most meaningful and life-changing service experience I have had. It truly opened my eyes to how powerful service can be,” she said. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at what service trips really are, and the meaning they impart on volunteers, in Alexis’s words. And, for more information about how to join an Alternative Spring Break trip, click here.

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“Over this past spring break I had the opportunity to participate in an Alternate Spring Break trip through Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College. On Sunday, March 22, eleven other students and I, supervised by two honors advisors, took two minivans down to New Bern, North Carolina. Over the course of the week our group helped to build a home through Craven County’s Habitat for Humanity program for a local family in need. The family for whom we were building the home was a couple with four children from Burma. The parents were with us at the work site each day, assisting in every way that they could. They were extremely friendly and excited with the progress that was being made on their new home and very grateful to all those who were helping.

Our group stayed at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, where we slept on couches and cots and were treated with a steady flow of Southern hospitality. We woke up early each morning to head over to the worksite down the street where we were greeted by local residents of the New Bern area. These locals were mostly retired men who volunteer countless hours each week to Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes for those in need in their area. They were so unbelievably helpful to our group, teaching us how to do everything from hammering nails into the wall supports to installing the siding on the house. The Habitat for Humanity volunteers were very patient with us and our inexperience. They not only explained how to complete the tasks at hand, but also took time to get to know us and allowed us to get to know them. The bond that was formed between our group from Drexel and the Habitat for Humanity volunteers from New Bern made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Working with Habitat for Humanity of Craven County, I was able to directly interact with those who I was serving and really understand how service can change people’s lives. Interacting with the locals also changed my perspective and outlook on life, as I saw people who dedicate so much of their lives to helping others. They are not obligated or required to attend the worksite every day, or to teach and get to know the inexperienced volunteers who come to work with them each week, but they are so enthusiastic each step of the way. I really looked up to them and hope to start gearing my life more toward serving others, both in my immediate community and beyond.

I would like to thank Drexel University, the Drexel Pennoni Honors College, and Habitat for Humanity for giving me this opportunity and to Dean Sabinson for his support. It is deeply appreciated.”