The Richmond Register

March 18, 2014

Alternative Spring Break at Habitat for Humanity

Student groups stop in for week of service

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Since Habitat for Humanity of Madison & Clark Counties began in the early 1990s, student volunteers from colleges all over the United States have traded their spring break for a week of service work during Alternative Spring Break, said Judy Flavell, executive director.

This week, students from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., are working on Habitat’s 100th home at 107 E. Walnut St.. It is the future home of Ron Cochran, a retired roofer, and his wife Marsha, a retired educator.

So far, the students have installed all of the home’s wall insulation and should have most of the siding up by the end of the week, said Marty Capo, Habitat’s construction supervisor for nearly eight years.

He said most volunteers come in with little or no experience in building a home, but the students “do a pretty good job.”

The 1,070-square-foot home is slated to be complete by May, he said.

“It helps to have that boost of energy,” Flavell said of the students’ help. “Habitat is really about giving people meaningful opportunities to be of service.”

The experience is especially important for young people, she said. “If they have a good experience doing service with us, hopefully they do that throughout their lives.”

The Habitat office, 1417 E. Main St., has a lodge above the offices where the students can stay while they are volunteering, she said.

While out-of-town help is welcome, local volunteers are needed year-round to help build and to help at the Habitat ReStore in the Richmond Mall, Flavell said.

Although student groups visit each year, there are many volunteer opportunities available, she said. “The need has never been greater.”

A group from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, N.J., will be volunteering next week and Mercy High School from Farmington Hill, Mich., will arrive April 20.

Habitat will soon raise the walls on its 101st house at 420 W. Walnut St. in Richmond.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.