Out-of-state students building homes in Petal


PETAL, Miss - Students from Georgetown University and Northwest Iowa College teamed up with Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity (HAHH) during their spring break to build homes for low socio-economic families.

Habitat for Humanity director says, "These students are coming in and doing something for families that once they leave here, they will probably never see or meet again, and there impact is not just for that family, but is impacting the whole community, these houses bring tax dollars back into the city."

HAHH is hosting a total of 76 students from Universities and Colleges across the country this spring. Collegiate Challenge is HAHH's year-round alternative break program.

Georgetown student Ambika Ahuja says, "We came down here to get a different perspective on the different cultures present in the country and of course immerse ourselves in Southern culture a bit."

"When we are learning at Georgetown they are trying to teach us not just academics, but also how to be men and women for others out in the real world, they really stress educational experiences outside of the classroom" says Georgetown student Andrew Wallender.

Nortwest Iowa College director, Laurie Edwards, mentions the program helps her students understand empathy.

"Our trio students are low-income first generation and have disabilities, this is a way for them to help and give back because often times they are the ones on the receiving end of help, resources, and assistance. It is a good thing, we think volunteering and having service learning projects is really important" says Edwards.

Local organizations also assisted the students. Americorps volunteeer, Precious Moore says, "It feels amazing helping other people that is not making a lot of money."

The home will be given to a single mother with two boys.

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