Michigan—The morning of Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010, was cold and drizzly, but that did not stop a group of Action members and J.N. Andrews Honors students from boarding a bus headed to volunteer at Harbor Habitat for Humanity in Benton Harbor, Mich. Arriving at the job site, they were undeterred to discover some would work outdoors all morning.
Monique Pittman, professor of English and chair of the J.N. Andrews Honors Program, described the students' work as "enthusiastic landscaping under the rainclouds." Dividing the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. day in two, the morning crew focused on laying sod and planting trees while the afternoon crew worked inside, cleaning the house. Despite the weather and strenuous work, the crews enjoyed themselves and were impressed with the impact they could make on the project in such a short time.
Sophomore Carly Mitzelfelt, commented on the day: "Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity was a worthwhile experience. It involves lots of hard work, sweat and lots of dirt, but at the end of the day it was a great feeling of accomplishment!"
This service project, which was a joint venture between the J.N. Andrews Honors Program and the Action Club, was the result of planning by Jason Lemon, current Action president, and Pittman. Both organizations have similar goals of service and making a difference.
The J.N. Andrews Honors Program requires all Honors students take part in at least 12 hours of service per academic year in order to remain in the program. Action is a student club focused on humanitarian work and raising awareness about global and local issues.
The home Action and Honors students worked on is one of a couple homes Harbor Habitat for Humanity is currently finishing up. Speaking of the family who will be moving into the home, Lori Csintyan, director of volunteer services for Harbor Habitat for Humanity, stated, "On November 20th, [they] will be handed the keys of their brand-new home, an occasion made possible by the hundreds of volunteers that lent their time and talents to making this dream become reality."
Harbor Habitat for Humanity has helped 100 families move into new homes during its 15-year history in the Benton Harbor community. They are a non-profit ministry with the goal of building affordable homes for people who are willing to work 300 hours on their own home in conjunction with the help of volunteers. Csintyan says the goal is, "To give a hand up, not a hand out."
Pittman as well as Action hopes to do more work with Harbor Habitat for Humanity in the future.
Action plans to organize groups of its members on a more regular basis to help with Harbor Habitat projects. Pittman also hopes to be able to bring Honors students out a couple times a year. Both organizations see significant value in providing these kinds of service opportunities and helping out with such a worthwhile cause.
The Andrews University motto concludes with the words, "Change the World." That is exactly what service projects like this one endeavor to do.
Jason Lemon, president, Action Club