Lafayette, LA – Over 150 collegiate students will be traveling to Lafayette, Louisiana from all over the United States during their spring break to volunteer in Acadiana. The students will help build homes and improve the communities during the month of March as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program. The schools participating are Columbia University (NY, NY), DeSales University (Center Valley, PA), Needham High School (Needham, PA), Point Park University (Pittsburgh, PA), Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ), Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN), Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY), and East Richland High School (Olney, IL).
“What is so unique about this volunteer effort is the fact that these young people are giving up their school break for community service,” said Joelle Boudreaux, LHFH Volunteer Services Director. “Instead of going to the beach, they will be in Lafayette, Louisiana building homes in partnership with local families in need of decent housing.” Just as the students will be giving to the community, the community will also be contributing to the students. Several local restaurants and businesses will be donating lunches in order to feed volunteers on the construction sites. Participants will also meet with LCG Community Development and Planning staff to discuss initiatives currently underway to address affordable housing needs and to develop a comprehensive plan for Lafayette. The students will not only experience a first-hand taste of Cajun culture, but will also leave with a deeper understanding of the impact their work will have in revitalizing Lafayette’s core neighborhoods. Other groups plan on leaving tools behind that will benefit Lafayette Habitat projects, such as creating a professional informational video to recruit future volunteers.
The college students will be continuing to work on homes on in LHFH’s focus neighborhood, McComb/Veazey. LHFH has built 11 homes to date in this neighborhood and are currently building two more. The 11th home is LHFH’s first two-story home and will be completed by the participants of Collegiate Challenge.
Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program invites students to spend one week working with Habitat affiliates to build homes and improve communities. Since 1989, nearly 240,000 college and high school students have volunteered during their spring break to help build or rehabilitate homes, donating over $25 million to Habitat affiliates.
“Collegiate Challenge engages thousands of students each year who work diligently towards improving communities and building decent, affordable housing,” said Mark Andrews, Habitat for Humanity International’s vice president of volunteer and institutional engagement. “We’re grateful to them for supporting our mission and help families realize their dream of home ownership. Communities will benefit from their hard work for years to come.”
In addition to the Collegiate Challenge groups, 2 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) teams will be working with LHFH from March – May. NCCC’s mission is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service in partnerships with non-profits.
“We are immensely grateful for the national volunteers we will be hosting,” said Boudreaux. ”Collegiate Challenge and AmeriCorps have historically made a huge impact on Habitat’s work, both here in Lafayette and across the country.”
IN THE MEDIA