Lewis University students, faculty and staff recently completed their annual Habitat for Humanity trip. This year’s six-day adventure was in Cookeville, Tenn., where the 12 students along with Brother Tom Dupre, FSC, associate professor of math/computer science and Steven Zlatic, director of University Ministry, helped at a Habitat for Humanity resale store as well as building a home.
“I think many students, through working with power tools and building a sub-floor, came away with a profound growth in confidence in themselves. Our evenings of sharing helped us all to connect with each other and discuss its connections to our faith and values,” commented Zlatic.
At the resale shop, the Lewis group built ladder racks, a wall and benches. They also prepared for the next part of their trip, which was helping to build a home. The prep work included preparing poles and painting trim.
At the home, the group assembled the house’s subfloor and constructed a shed. They were preparing the home for a blitz build, a one-week complete house build by Habitat for Humanity volunteers. “Everyone gained many different skills throughout the week learning how to use power tools and learning how to build these things,” said Ryan Snow, a student leader of the trip. Kristen Yarka was the other student leader.
The group’s progress throughout the week impressed Snow, who is an Aviation Security major. He said, “At the beginning everyone was cautious or hesitant to jump in there and try something they had never done before. At the end of the week everyone was doing any and every thing it was really great to see this change.”
One of the most rewarding parts of the trip was to meet the homeowners. The students were able to interact with the family and understand how their work would impact them for many years. Zlatic said, “I think many were especially touched by the future homeowner Lisa and her wonderful daughters.”
The success of the trip was evident in many ways. Snow said, “Our goals were to serve the people of Cookeville, and in the process of doing this help everyone to see God within their work, the people of Cookeville, and themselves. I think we were successful with this. All the people of Cookeville we met were grateful for our work and presence there. It also seemed to me that everyone that went had a powerful experience on the trip.”
Student trip participants were: Angela Cotta, Ariel Diamond, Kristen Granato, Sara Harms, Sarah Keib, Stephanie McKenzie, Ryan Newberry, Kathleen Picman, Stephanie Slivka, Danielle Volk, Kristen Yarka and Ryan Snow.
Lewis University Ministry, in harmony with Lewis' Catholic and Lasallian identity, embraces and nurtures enlightened religious experience within its community. University Ministry also responds to the Gospel’s call to actively live out a faith that promotes service, peace and social justice through providing numerous on-campus, local, national, international and post-graduate service opportunities. For more information, contact the University Ministry Office at 815-836-5550.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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