October 12, 2009
A group of 11 Rollins students embarked on a weekend immersion trip to St. Petersburg recently to work with Habitat for Humanity.
After participants were selected, a pre-departure meeting was held to get the group together to talk about the details of the trip and give them an opportunity to meet one another. On the afternoon of October 2, the students left the Rollins campus for St. Petersburg. After hotel check-in, participants immediately began a group cooking activity in which they were able to work alongside each other toward the common goal of preparing dinner. By the time dinner was complete, the group had formed a sense of cohesion. Afterward, the group generated a discussion on the need for a community resource like Habitat for Humanity through the creation of a concept map about issues and structures that relate to affordable housing. Groups then presented their maps and discussed the concepts they identified in the exercise. The current economy, stereotypes, poverty, homelessness, governmental assistance programs, etc. were all mentioned in an engaging and respectful conversation. The young, ambitious and socially conscious attendees remarked on the multitude of complex issues that plague our current and future generations.
On the first day of work, the group’s project was to landscape the property of a completed home to ready it for the new homeowner. The group had the opportunity to work alongside the prospective homeowner, as well as other Habitat for Humanity applicants who were building toward their eligibility for home ownership. It was an incredible opportunity to learn a great deal about the process of earning a Habitat house by speaking with fellow volunteers. That evening, the group met the Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator for dinner on Clearwater Beach. He provided the group with additional information about the organization, as well as the financial details and structural logistics of this community resource.
The Rollins group finished off the weekend with another project: shingling a roof of a renovated home acquired by Habitat for Humanity. The Rollins group was diligent, brave, compassionate and gracious on the project. Upon departure from the final site, the group offered all leftover travel food and supplies to create a care package for one of the potential Habitat for Humanity homeowners who had five small children.
This weekend exemplified Rollins’ mission: Global Citizenship and Responsible Leadership.