Lycoming College students spend spring break helping Habitat for Humanity

Members of Lycoming College’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity dedicated their spring break to community service.

This year’s trip took 20 students and three advisors to Taos, New Mexico, for a week-long service trip.

Habitat works to provide affordable housing to those in need while giving members of the community a unique opportunity to give back.

The college works closely with the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity. The spring break trip is part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge where students travel to a location in the country to work on projects.

Students who participated included Michael Competiello, Oak Ridge, New Jersey.; Shante Dennis, Kingston; Lyndsay Devereaux, Hillsborough, New Jersey; Rebeka Dickie, Plymouth, Wisconsin; Sam Gonzalez, Marlton, New Jersey; Erin Hale, Oakfield, New?York; Leah Handwerk, Hockessin, Delaware; Chloe Hess, Ephrata; Jordyn Hotchkiss, Weare, New Hampshire; Kathryn Hubert, Ellicott City, Maryland; Amanda Kellagher, Saint Clair; Casey Manion, Clarksville, Maryland; Richard Matel-Galatis, Hillsborough, New Jersey; Bryan McGinnis, Levittown; Jenny Monico, Harleysville; Phuong Nguyen, Hanoi, Vietnam; Matt Ruth, Seven Valleys; Anh Tran, Washington, D.C.; Annie Wegman, Douglassville; and Katy Wrona, Arnold.

This year, Habitat worked on a house for a single mother raising her two children. The week’s work included laying cinder blocks, filling cement for adobe brick walls, preparing frames for the house’s foundation, installing insulation and digging trenches for electric and water lines. Another aspect of the job involved organizing donations given to the local Taos Habitat Restore, a store that collects tools, furniture, building supplies and other materials needed to put the Habitat projects into action.

The group stayed in downtown Taos at a former convent owned by The Lady of Guadalupe Parish and Church, sleeping on air mattresses every night. Outside of working, the group spent a majority of its time exploring the culture and city of Taos. The students also hiked the gorgeous Rio Grande Gorge.

Wegman, a senior and president of Lycoming’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said “Hiking in the Rio Grande Gorge was probably one of the best memories, it was so beautiful!”

One special moment of the trip was being able to see the house that Lycoming Habitat helped build in 2010, and also meeting the family they spent this particular trip working for.

The Mares family was able to meet the team, making the project even more memorable for the group. For Wegman, this was her final Habitat trip with the college.

“All the friends I’ve made and the people I’ve met because of Habitat amazes me,” Wegman said. “It always is such a joy and blessing to see college students donate their spring break to travel across the country to build a house for a family or individual they’ve never met.”

The Habitat service trips are a great way for the students to bond over something that benefits others. Wegman said, “It’s been such a blessing to be a part of and lead Habitat over these past few years. I have many memories of our events and trips, and have formed many friendships. I am so thankful to this amazing group of students and advisors.”

Lycoming College Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based organization that has been active on campus since 1990.

In addition to its annual spring break trip, the chapter is involved in the local community.

The college dedicated its first Habitat house in December 2003.