UW-P “Habitat” students in Florida, Tennessee
Two groups of UW-Parkside students are spending spring break "down south"?one group in Tennessee, the other in Florida. But they aren't working on their tans; they're working to build new housing and better lives for people through Habitat For Humanity.
Led by Chris Zanowski, the Florida crew is in Pasco County, just north of Tampa/St. Petersburg, following a 20-plus hour drive. Andrea Zick took her volunteers to the Volunteer State to work with Anderson County Habitat For Humanity in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
"Today was the first day on-site. We built in the snow!" Zick, the university's First Year Experience Coordinator, wrote on Monday evening. "[We] started siding the outside, j-channel and soffit on the underside of the porch roof; sheetrocked the ceiling in the roughed-in kitchen and [in] two bedrooms."
Habitat For Humanity is a Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Those in need of adequate shelter work side-by-side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses. Each family must complete 500 hours of sweat equity, 12 weeks of homeownership workshop classes, and purchase their home at-cost through a zero-interest 20- to 30-year mortgage.
"While Pasco County is a fast growing community, thousands of its residents live in poverty," Zanowski, UW-Parkside's director of Student Support Services, said. "Habitat's homeownership model solves this problem by offering low-income families the opportunity to purchase their own simple, decent, affordable home."
The UW-Parkside Florida crew--David Carrubba, Michelle Castaneda, Shannon Dowell, Victor Duron, Tyler Hadley, Brittney Handley, Sergio Lechuga, Lorraine Logan, Kayla Mann, Lauren Moshea, Helima Phelps, Maggie Piery, Thomas Robbins, Nicolette Williams, and Jenkia Williams--is working alongside students from Northwestern University and MIT. Habitat is providing the basics for students: a place to sleep, shower, and cook.
The accommodations are just as Spartan in Tennessee: the students sleep in a church and shower at a community center. You can follow them at the hashtag #uwptennessee.
Ranger Today will update you on our Florida and Tennessee Habitat crews in Thursday's edition.In the photo, the UW-Parkside Habitat For Humanity group in Florida pauses for pictures before hanging drywall at a house in Dade City.