By Aubrey Hastings
Student Life Editor
For the fourth year in a row, Washington College students partnered with the Columbus area Habitat for Humanity to change another life. The amazingly dedicated group of 26 students has continued the very special relationship with the group in Georgia, as part of the Collegiate Challenge Habitat for Humanity.
These students dedicated their spring break to the adventurous journey of building a house from the ground up for a truly deserving family. This year’s host family was the Grayers: Tomeka, David, 13-year-old Kayla, and 6-year-old Brandon. Each year WC is chosen to build for the best family because of its reputation of growing such special and strong relationships with the Habitat family during that week.
“Once again the Spring Break Habitat for Humanity trip has provided me with one of the best weeks of my life. It is the very best way to spend spring break. Its participants are the most genuine, caring, fun people one could ever hope to build a home with. And the Grayers were the most deserving family one could hope to build a home for,” said junior Amanda Whitaker.
The Grayer family was there every single day to watch the walls of its new home go up. The whole community would look on and thank the students.
“These were the most inspiring days I have experienced in a while. The neighborhood yearned for a breath of life and stability. The neighbors watched as we built walls into their community. Their faces were of awe, contemplating our commitment to build a home and sanctuary. As I tested my strength and endurance, the group offered me confidence to help change the lives of others,” said sophomore Ruth Farfel.
“Each day on the work site, I realized more and more what I was doing for the Grayer family. They are amazing people and they truly deserve this home. Seeing Mr. and Mrs. Grayer read the notes we wrote on the wall really touched my heart. It made me feel like I was actually helping a family in need rather than just building a house and having fun,” said sophomore Katie Bradley.
Each day, the group was at the work site by 7:30 a.m. and students built and hammered each piece of the house.
Freshman Devin Hayward reflected back on her experiences during the Habitat week.
“This week has been a learning experience and something I will truly remember. When I decided to be a part of Habitat, I did not expect how I would feel. To watch a house being built from the ground up with the help of our hands is something very special. When I look back on it, I will always smile and remember the people I met, the friends I made, and the family I helped build, not only a house, but a home for. To give this family their dream was heart warming and just something incredible,” he said.
Members of Habitat for Humanity worked very hard each day to finish the house by the end of break. On days when it rained, students used trash bags as ponchos and construction continued.
“I can hardly explain how it felt to see Mrs. Grayer crying as she watched us work through the pouring rain. It brings tears to my eyes even now as I think about it. We built a house that the Grayers will make into a home, and I can say nothing other than how utterly amazing this is,” said sophomore Claire Donald.
As Mrs. Grayer looked at her new home, she shared many things that inspired those to work even harder.
“I just expected to apartment hop for the rest of my life, knowing that I could never afford my own home, let alone a brand new one. Over the years I would write down designing ideas that I loved from shows on HGTV, though everyone thought I was crazy for doing so. I kept writing, and today I am watching you all build the walls to my dream. I could never thank you enough for being my miracle,” said Mrs. Grayer.
Senior Kris Kelley has built Habitat homes with WC for the past three years.
“I realized that I was hot, sweaty, sun burnt, aching, and I had dirt ground into every pore on my body. Yet no pain could mask the pleasure and satisfaction of a job well done and a family well served. As we passed the worksite on our way home, I saw the Grayers walking into their new home for the first time. This image will forever be with me. There are few things that can fill my heart with this much happiness,” said Kelley.
Through bruised thumbs, burnt skin, and sore muscles, the WC Habitat for Humanity members have come together and built a home for those who truly need it.
The group advisor, Maria Hynson, has gone building with Habitat in Columbus, Georgia for the past four years.
“This journey never ceases to amaze me. These are truly the best students that WC has to offer, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to advise them in this endeavor. If I do nothing else, I have helped change the lives of some very good people in Columbus, Georgia. One of the best decisions I have made was to become involved with WC Habitat for Humanity,” said Hynson.
This year was extra special for returning Habitat for Humanity members, because the group went to a home it had built for a family last spring and was able to see the family living there.
In response to seeing the house built last year, Hynson said, “All of the work that we’ve done over the years, in that single moment, became completely worthwhile and understandably necessary.”
Economics Professor Dave Wharton also accompanied the Habitat Group to Georgia, as he has every year since 2008.
“There was a little blood, tons of sweat, and more than a few tears of joy. They worked through hot southern sun and pouring rain. It was an honor to work beside them and we should all be very proud of their efforts, I know that I am,” said Wharton.
Sophomore Ellen Huffman commented about being a member of the Habitat for Humanity group, “It is easy to laugh because we are joyful, we are glad to work, to be a team, and to serve. Everyone is here for their own reasons. But on site, we work as hard as we can and we love it. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this.”
The WC students of Habitat for Humanity know commitment to service well. Of all the lessons learned throughout the spring break trip with Habitat, the most rewarding one stays in their hearts the whole year through; how happy it is to love with out expecting anything in return.
March 25, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 19