Visiting students rise to Collegiate Challenge
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – When crew leaders told a group of volunteers from Ohio Northern University they would be climbing ladders in brutal winds to work on the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Cornelius, they might have wished they’d gone to the beach for spring break instead. But they rose to meet the Collegiate Challenge and made the climb to repaint the ReStore.
Our Towns Habitat for Humanity hosted 23 students, for the Collegiate Challenge. During Ohio Northern’s spring break, March 4-9, they traveled to Lake Norman to restore houses and landscape neighborhoods.
“To me, it’s just mind-boggling to imagine that this is how they’re spending their spring break,” said Jill Laney, manager of the ReStore at 20414 N. Main St.
On Monday and Tuesday, the students painted the outside of the store, redid the bottom of the overhang, stained a fence and did some landscaping, Our Towns youth and volunteer associate Jessica Grantham said.
This was the beginning of ReStore Restored, an event that will continue with the store closing April 10-13 for interior improvements.
“We’re hoping that by having the exterior of the building look more inviting, then we’ll be able to reach out more to the people in the community,” Laney said.
Beautifying the store was a new kind of assignment.
“It’s good for our students to see that Habitat is much larger than just building houses from scratch,” said LeeAnne Sipe, Collegiate Challenge trip advisor.
This is Sipe’s fourth year advising a Habitat trip and second time working with Our Towns. She said seven of the students on this trip came in 2011.
“Once people come on a Habitat trip, they’re sold,” Sipe said.
Ohio Northern sophomore Kyle Rex got involved because he likes doing construction and helping out the community with his friends. This was his first Habitat trip.
“I already knew from the first two hours I was here I’m coming back next year,” Rex said halfway through the first workday. Southern hospitality, he said, drew him to the Lake Norman community.
Davidson College Presbyterian Church housed the visiting students, and other churches and community members donated meals for the week.
On Wednesday, the Collegiate Challengers beautified Leonard Street in Mooresville. On Thursday, they worked near the homes in the Poole Place neighborhood that they helped build last year.
“It was just really awesome to see the community we worked on last year, and to see how complete it is,” trip leader Holly Kearney said.
Want to get involved?
To volunteer with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, visit www.Our
31TownsHabitat.org or email cathy@OurTownsHabitat.org. Volunteers are needed for Saturday builds and Restore Restored, April 10-13.