Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Break 2011 Documentary

As a first-timer on Habitat For Humanity's Spring Break trip and broadcast communications major, Ashliegh Jarzenski combined her passion for service with Habitat and film during our 2011 trip. Jarzenski had a camera with her at all times during the trip and created a mini-documentary. Check out the video she made for the AU Habitat team below!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Habitat for Humanity crews wrap up week of building homes

By Allison Kennedy
Posted on Saturday, March 12, 2011

The final morning of the first Collegiate Challenge week sponsored by Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity found students hard at work on six houses in south Columbus.

The students represented Columbus State University and five other schools, including the University of Pittsburgh, Illinois State University, Ashland University in Ohio, Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, and the Ethel Walker School, a girls boarding school also in Connecticut.

“Columbus is a different (Habitat) trip because we get to put up a whole house in a week,” said Bethany Fritzinger, a 20-year-old sophomore from Sacred Heart.  This was her second trip here.  Local developer Brooks Yancey, the construction manager of the Sacred Heart house, was hosting a cookout for the students Friday night.

“He laughs at us every day,” Fritzinger said.

Sacred Heart student Jane Hanna, 20, was on her first Habitat trip and it was her first time to Columbus.

“I loved it.  This is the greatest time I’ve had in my entire life,” Hanna said.  “I found it so amazing.  I didn’t know any of the students before I signed up and I’ll be walking away with new friends.”

She said her family moved to Carmel, N.Y., from the Bronx when she was 5.  They went from an apartment to a house and she talked Friday about the importance of having a place to call home.

“I know what that’s like,” she said.

The youngest crew came from the Ethel Walker School.  Kayla Monroe and Dele Odumosu, both 16, were on their first trip.  Both want to come back.

“It’s amazing how much you can do in a week,” Kayla said.  “We’ve learned some cool new things.”

“A lot of teamwork,” added Dele.  “You can’t make it without a team.”

The students had only one raid day: Wednesday.  That’s when they toured local museums.

On Thursday night they had a talent show.

Briana Williams, a 19-year-old freshman at Ashland University, took first prize with a Tai Kwon Do demonstration.  She broke four boards with her foot.

“It’s a great experience to be able to bless other people,” Williams said of the Habitat work.

A second week of Collegiate Challenge kicks off Monday both in Columbus and in Russell County.

Allison Kennedy, 706-576-6237


©2011 Ledger-Enquirer and wire service sources.  All Rights Reserved.

Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge: Spring breakers coming to build houses

By Allison Kennedy
Posted on Monday, March 7, 2011

While a lot of college students are catching rays at the beach this week, about 170 from six U.S. schools will help construct six houses for Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge.  It’s today through Friday.

An additional 45 students from two schools will come next week, the same week Russell County has its Habitat collegiate build.

“I think we’re going to make a significant change—what a difference this can make in the neighborhood,” said Columbus Habitat director Brinkley Pound, who will experience her first Collegiate Challenge.  She was hired earlier this year.

“The cooperation has been unbelievable.”

The local affiliate’s first female director, she’s been given a pink hard hat.

Students are coming from Ashland University in Ohio; the University of Pittsburgh; Illinois State University; Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.; The Ethel Walker School, a boarding school for girls in Simsbury, Conn.; and Columbus State University.

The following week, students from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., and Ithaca College in New York will be in town.  They’ll help build one house, as well as finish work on the other six.  NeighborWorks is a partner with Habitat the second week.

The six sites for next week’s build are all on Bragg Smith Street, off Cusseta Road.

While here, the students will stay in local schools and churches.  Highlights of the week include a Shrove Tuesday, on Fat Tuesday, dinner at Trinity Episcopal Church; a dinner and talent show Thursday at St. Luke United Methodist Church; and today, right before lunch, runner Ed Roshitsh will speak to the group.  He’s running across the country.

The build closes out with a lunch cookout Friday with members of the local board hosting.

University of Pittsburgh sophomore Sascha Steinberg is making her second trip here.  She’s the group leader of her 25-member crew.  Their 14-hour drive started Saturday.

“We love the atmosphere and we like working with the construction (crews),” Steinberg said.

This year marks the 18th Collegiate Challenge in Columbus.  Pound emphasized “servant leadership” as the main reason students give of their time year after year.

“You give without an expectation of return,” she said.  “It’s the pure definition of what they’re doing.”

Habitat does not charge interest for its home mortgages.  Qualified homeowners contribute 500 “sweat equity” hours of which they help on the various sites.  Many future homeowners will be on the builds this week and next.  It costs about $65,000 to build each house, Pound said.

Both Pound and Lamar Powers, a former board member at Russell County Habitat, said donations are still needed for their respective projects.

“With the economy still bad, it’s been very tough,” Powers said.  Four Habitat houses will go up in Russell County, in Sandfort Hills.

Allison Kennedy, 706-576-6237


©2011 Ledger-Enquirer and wire service sources.  All Rights Reserved.

Habitat houses go up as temperatures go down

By Allison Kennedy
Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You know what they say about the weather in these parts:  If you don’t like it, hang around a few days.

Columbus’ 75-degree temperatures last week gave way to 45 degrees Monday, as the weekend rain brought in a cold front.

But to most of the young people here for the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge, Monday was downright balmy.

“This is beach weather,” said Kelly Leather, a 21-year-old senior from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Monday marked the first day of the annual build.  Six houses are going up on Bragg Smith Street, off Cusseta Road.  Five colleges and one girls’ boarding schools re represented here, totaling 167 students.  They’re staying in local schools and churches.  They’ll leave Friday.
Next Monday will bring 44 students from two other colleges for a second week of building.

This is how the students are spending their spring break.

Brinkley Pound, the newly hired director for Columbus Area Habitat, is experiencing her first Collegiate Challenge in charge.  She said the students were eager to get to work Monday.

“It was hard for me to keep them from going to the site this morning,” Pound said, as the sound of hammers rang through the narrow street.

The day began with a devotional led by Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson, Columbus City Councilor from District 7.  Then the students dispersed to the six sites.  The walls went up Monday morning.

The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn., sent 18 people.  One of them, 17-year-old Sara Kamillatos, wore shorts.  She said another student had a tear in her pants and she gave up her sweats.

Local builder Tom Moore was overseeing the work on a house being built by the University of Pittsburgh and Columbus State.  It’s his fourth year working with the Pitt students, and they’ve built up a camaraderie.  “When I was this age, I wouldn’t have done this,” said Moore, who graduated from Georgia Southwestern University in Americus.

Pitt senior Lauren Goroff, 21, is here for her fourth spring break.  As the Red Hot Chili Peppers blared from a CD player, Goroff smiled as she reported the weather from Cleveland, her hometown.

“it’s snowing there,” she said.

Columbus resident Mae Buler wants to own her own Habitat home and was putting in some volunteer hours on the site Monday.  She has lived in public housing for 34 years. 

“It’ll be exciting to have my own home,” she said.  “I can decorate.  I can have ownership.”

This is the 18th year of the local college build.

Aspiring homeowners must put in 500 total “sweat equity” hours on Habitat sites.  If they qualify, there’s no interest figured into the mortgage.

Bragg Smith Street is named for former Columbus resident Bragg Smith.  He died Sept. 30, 1903, at age 32, when he tried to rescue the city’s engineering and public services director, Robert L. Johnson.  Johnson was inspecting a ditch on 11th Street when it caved in and buried him.  Smith, now buried in Porterdale Cemetery, was honored with a marker shaft on his grave, as well as an historic marker.  Pound said the marker is missing from its pole and aims to get it replaced.

In addition to CSU, Pitt, Ethel Walker and Sacred Heart, the other schools here this week are:  Ashland University in Ohio and Illinois Sate.  Next week will bring students from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., and Ithaca College in New York.

Allison Kennedy, 706-576-6237


©2011 Ledger-Enquirer and wire service sources.  All Rights Reserved.