PSC Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering

Spring Break

Several students and community members from Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser, W.Va. spent spring break in Bloxom, Va. repairing homes with Habitat for Humanity. Those volunteering their time include, (kneeling, left-right): Clay Nedrich, Casey Kidder, Walter Tomlinson (Habitat for Humanity); First row: Gary Kalbaugh, Libby Nichols, Donnette Bird, Tiffany Sine, Katie Ratliff, Alisianna Swisher, Bria Holmes; Back Row: Pastor Jim McCune, Lindsay Cheromcka (Habitat for Humanity), Josh Myers, Alysssa Whaley, Zinin Miller, and Jessica Frances.

By Lindsey Weese

The Campus and Community Ministry Club (CCM) at Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University (WVU) traveled to Bloxom, Va. over spring break where they worked alongside of local building professionals with Habitat for Humanity; a nonprofit organization that with the help of volunteer labor, money and material donations, builds and rehabilitates affordable houses for low-income families.

The group left on Sunday, March 24th from Keyser and returned on Friday, March 29th. They stayed at Johnson United Methodist Church, which was a 45-minute drive from the construction site.

Pastor Jim McCune, who coordinated the trip, was accompanied by Libby Nichols, CCM staff adviser; Gary Kalbaugh, a community volunteer; and 11 PSC student volunteers including: Donnette Bird, a criminal justice major from Paw Paw, W.Va.; Jessica Francis, a horticulture major from Nassau in the Bahamas; Bria Holmes, a criminal justice major from Baltimore, Md.; Casey Kidder, a criminal justice major from Scherr, W.Va.; Zinin Miller, a hospitality student from Keyser, W.Va.; Josh Myers, a criminal justice major from Keyser, W.Va.; Clay Nedrich, a business administration major from Kearneysville, W.Va.; Katie Ratliff, a BSN (WVU) nursing major from Piedmont, W.Va.; Tiffany Sine, a pre-nursing major from Martinsburg, W.Va.; Alisianna Swisher, a criminal justice major from North Canton, Oh.; and Alyssa Whaley, a criminal justice major from Williamstown, W.Va.

When asked why he chose to volunteer for this trip, Clay Nedrich said, “My grandfather volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and I wanted to see what it was like.”

While on the trip the volunteers were faced with several challenges including, rain, cold temperatures and high winds. However, this didn’t deter them from their daily tasks which included, working on the Habitat for Humanity newsletter (when it rained too hard), installing siding and shingles on the house and shed and digging holes for a future porch.

Along with their work-site responsibilities, the task of preparing dinner each night also had to be accomplished and by the end of the week each person had worked approximately 30 hours.

The students came away
with many valuable life skills, such as using tools, cooking, interacting within a group, and time management, along with many other personal accomplishments. For instance, Casey Kidder was able to overcome his fear of heights while putting shingles on the roof of the shed.

When asked what personal experiences she came away with while on the trip, Donnette Bird said “It was nice getting to see that we made a difference in this woman’s life. We got to meet the owner and you could see the gratitude in her face.”

Although students had to pay a small amount to go on the trip, the remainder was subsidized with donations from the United Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church (both Keyser), St James Episcopal (Westernport), The Rotary Club (Keyser), and The Moose Club (Keyser). WVU also donated a van and gas and helped with the total cost of the trip. Additionally, PSC’s Student Government Association donated a $1,000 grant to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Habitat for Humanity in order to defray some of the cost.

Although this was a volunteer work trip, the students were able to visit the local beach and enjoy a little down time too.