Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Students to spend Alternative Spring Break helping with hurricane recovery

A record number of students from the University of Illinois Springfield will spend their spring break volunteering in Galveston, Texas helping with recovery efforts following Hurricane Ike.

The 45 students and 3 advisers will leave Springfield on Friday, March 12 and return to campus on Sunday, March 20. The group will stay at a local elementary school in Galveston with other students from across the country, volunteering for 8 1/2 hours a day.

The students will be primarily helping with rebuilding and refurbishing homes that were damaged by the storm. Volunteers will also be doing community outreach, visiting home-bound residents, helping to feed the homeless and assisting in other community-related activities.

“Lately there has been much focus on international disasters, but the devastation still felt in Galveston, TX due to Hurricane Ike in 2008 is a natural disaster our students felt compelled to help with after researching spring break volunteer opportunities. Whether it is in Texas or overseas, seeing our UIS students respond so enthusiastically to help others is a heart-warming experience,” said Kelly Thompson, director of UIS’ Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

The UIS students are taking on the project as part of the One Mission Initiative, a faith-based organization. The group’s mission is to “bring volunteers to Galveston to not only provide much needed help, labor, and support to the community here, but to also provide love, hope and encouragement”.

The UIS Alternative Spring Break student organization was formed last year, when students took their first trip to Mandeville, Louisiana to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at UIS visit the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center’s website at www.uis.edu/volunteer or contact Kelly Thompson at 217/206-8448 or kthom03s@uis.edu.

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