A group of 12 Valpo students and faculty bonded through building houses with Habitat for Humanity and spending time together in Pikeville, Ky. during their spring service trip.
The students involved in this service trip connected through the different careers they hope to have in the future. All of the students have chosen majors and jobs that will give back to the community and focus on helping others, such as nursing and social work.
The Valpo service group helped with construction of one house and one duplex during their time in Kentucky. Both locations are in a subdivision full of buildings constructed through Habitat for Humanity.
“It was super cool to see how this subdivision might change the dynamic between neighbors, since they’re all coming from different backgrounds but are connected in this one way,” said Autumn Stevenson, a junior nursing major who went on the Pikeville trip.
The first few days of work were filled with primarily indoor projects, like painting and cleaning up the work site. The rest of the trip was focused on projects such as building door frames, putting up walls and finishing the siding.
“Everyone was so excited when we finished, but we were also exhausted,” Stevenson said. “Once we stood back and saw what we were able to do, we felt really proud. It was also humbling to be there building something for someone who really needs it.”
“I didn’t know what to expect at first, but I was pleasantly surprised to have had such a great experience with the others in my service group,” said Meghan Peters, a freshman nursing major.
Because this experience involved building houses, the team learned technical skills like putting up siding on a house and using tools to construct different projects. They also learned a lot about the culture and people of the Pikeville area.
The group also took a driving tour of the area and were able to experience the different communities living there. They also enjoyed the scenery in the Appalachian Mountains, spending time outside hiking and walking through them.
“We worked together to accomplish something, and that’s an important thing that people should practice,” Peters said. “We also felt a lot of sympathy and empathy towards the people who suffer from poverty and drug addiction. Being able to connect with other and have the desire to help people is really important.”