In March a small group of LCM students had the opportunity to spend their spring break in Jacksonville, Florida. We were hosted on Saturday night in St. John’s Lutheran Church and had a chance to relax and walk around the town. After Sunday morning worship with the congregation we headed to Atlantic Beach to work with Beaches Habitat for Humanity, spending five days on various projects to serve current and future homeowners in the local community. Some of us went to help with home renovations and repairs for families in the Habitat program, while others worked to construct the framing for a duplex to house families in need in the future. Typical Habitat houses, such as those we build in Pickens County near Clemson, are single-story homes; due to land prices in Jacksonville, however, the local Habitat chapter typically builds two-story homes to minimize individual home footprints. This was my first time working on a two-story build and I enjoyed learning about the construction planning while also being able to take part in the project. The Beaches Habitat crew ensured that we each had sufficient training to use power tools and understand our individual jobs on the project. Over the five days I worked with teams to lift trusses up to the second floor; to secure siding around the house; and to brace trusses once they were initially secured.
After building each day we had time to visit the beach and walk around Atlantic Beach, where we were staying just five minutes’ walk from the ocean. We also took a mid-week trip to tour St. Augustine and later to walk along the riverfront in Jacksonville. I enjoyed the break from classes as a chance to do hands-on work in building a house and to directly serve a community, as well as to spend time with Habitat volunteers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Jacksonville. It's easy to get wrapped up in one's studies during the semester, and for me the spring break trip was a perfect reminder of the real-life impact that my actions can have in the world.