Some Pitt-Johnstown students plan to use their spring break to help those less fortunate.
Habitat for Humanity members are planning to make their annual trip with some assistance from campus ministries.
Two charter busses are to take students to Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida with approximately 55 people per bus.
Students paid $160 to make the trip to these locations, which will cover transportation, most of their meals and their cabin accommodations.
Campus ministry members,17 people as of last week, are to accompany some of the Habitat for Humanity members to the Fort Lauderdale location.
Protestant Campus Minister Josiah Smith said after helping Habitat build homes in the morning, the group may be working with children and on other service projects, but Smith said these other projects have not been determined.
Smith plans to incorporate small-group discussions to allow students to make their experiences more meaningful and also possibly holding worship ceremonies on the beach.
Smith said there are still seats available for the trip for anyone who is interested, even if they are not members of either organization.
“Anyone is welcome to come.”
Smith said working with Habitat members allowed them to explore more opportunities.
“We are coming under Habitat’s wing,” he said. “It provides us a better opportunity to do a bigger trip than we could have done alone.”
Smith said this is the first time, to his knowledge, that campus ministries and Habitat have worked together since the 80s or 90s.
Smith said it is beneficial for participants to go on these trips because it broadens their experience with communities that they don’t know.
“It deepens our relationship with God and each other.”
Smith said he attended trips like this when he was in college, inspiring him to promote campus ministries to do the same.
“It helped open my eyes to God.”
Smith said he is excited for this opportunity to help those in need and to work alongside Habitat members.
Habitat for Humanity President Michael Devan, a senior, said group members going Fort Lauderdale may join campus ministries members with their additional community services.
“They are very excited about helping further.”
Devan said Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, but it does not focus on the Christian aspect as much as campus ministries might, which offers his members new opportunities and experiences.
Devan said working with campus ministries was an easy and readily available choice.
“We were looking to expand, and they were looking for a trip,” he said. “It was a good fit.”
Devan said there are three things that are needed from a person to have a home built for them.
The person receiving the new home, although workers and time are free, must prove they can afford the materials to build the home.
Devan said the participant must also complete a set amount of community service hours. This requirement is called sweat equity.
But, most of all, the person or family must show a need for the new home.
All of these requirements are set and monitored by Habitat for Humanity’s national level.
The homes that are built are also under strict building requirements meeting codes set locally and by the organization.
Devan said he heard a story where Habitat for Humanity homes survived a hurricane while other homes surrounding the area were destroyed.
Devan said these homes are regularly inspected to insure quality, and construction company’s ensure the work is done correctly the first time on site.
Devan said planning for these trips is no easy task, and it required a tremendous amount of time and effort from the organization’s executive board to make the trip possible.
Devan said any student interested in grabbing a last-minute seat needs to pay $200 for the slot.