Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity was a very exciting experience for me. I particularly never really do college/university group activities because of how crazy my schedule outside of school is. However, this past semester, I chose to take advantage of the one week spring vacation opportunity given to me by the Student Support Services and I was so happy with my decision. Each year, the UWM Student Chapter for Habitat sets up collegiate challenges (trips to other states to build habitat houses for lower income families). I had the opportunity to go to South Carolina but there were also two other states (Mississippi and Georgia) that were available at the same time. Each year, there are different places that are visited. I met so many people that attend UWM as well as people from other areas that were volunteering at the same time we were.

At the end of the week, I was honestly extremely sad to leave. I did things that ve never even thought of doing before! With no previous experience, except the build days offered by Habitat before leaving for our trip, I was able to help build houses!I worked on foundations of homes, laid cement, dry walled, measured out materials for sheds, painted and the list goes on. There were so many work sites and contractors to make sure the volunteers were doing everything right that there was nothing to worry about. It was not all work my entire stay in South Carolina however. The work days were over by late afternoon and we had the rest of the day to ourselves to do whatever we wanted. There were also a couple of free days and that was great too. I loved the interacting with everyone at the work sites that week as well as the time I had to get to know students on Campus.

It was a great opportunity to get out of my busy world and actually have a great time meeting new people and keeping in touch with them after our trip. Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity was an overall great experience for me. I had a couple of reasons for going on the collegiate challenge trip this past semester. However, the biggest reason out of everything, was knowing how much of a difference I would be making with others I've never even met before, in the lives of families less fortunate. To me, there couldnt have been a better reason. I would recommend the opportunity to anyone interested in going!

Nastassja Bates
student on step ladder