Students Take Community Service to South Beach

To students everywhere, spring break is a much needed nine days of alleviation from their chaotic everyday lives. While most students are counting down the days until trips, friends, family, sleeping in, and all that’s implied, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Habitat for Humanity has something else in mind: Hammers, nails, shingles, paint brushes and an ultimate goal of helping the less fortunate. On Saturday, March 13th, twenty-five active Habitat for Humanity members will depart for Miami, Florida to build and rehabilitate dismantled houses for the less fortunate.

The upcoming trip is an annual project for this non-profit organization, who refers to these events as “Collegiate Challenges.” Members will participate in hands on work such as painting, installing windows, building roofs and renovating houses. To ensure group safety and accuracy in the building process, on-sight contractors will be readily available throughout for reference.

“I would like to give people a different perspective about the kind of work that we do,” Habitat for Humanity President Stephanie Picchiottino said. “It is not as difficult as people may think, and we have contractors who help us along the way. If someone isn’t comfortable doing a specific task for safety reasons, they are not forced to. In the end, it is all for a good cause,”

The students’ generosity is not only manifested through their week’s worth of labor and dedication, but also through their non-profit mentality.

“They pay us whatever they can, and that money goes directly towards materials for building our next house,” Picchiottino said. Picchiottino and the rest of the members ultimately hope to complete at least one house by the end of their stay. However, their work does not begin or end here. Throughout the year, the estimated 40 active Habitat for Humanity members participate in Weekend Builds. These projects entail similar work to what the members will engage in over spring break and take place on Saturdays.

The charitable contributions made by members are mutually beneficial to those helped, as well as those involved. By taking the initiative to give back, students have the opportunity to become more proactive in their communities and help a great cause.

“I love making people smile and making them feel good from within. Knowing that their happiness is coming from me, working and helping to rebuild a house for them is a great feeling,” said Habitat for Humanity member Ryan Montross. “With that being said, Adios, Parkside!”

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