Students Spend Spring Break Lending A Helping Hand

POSTED: 7:42 AM Mar 07 2012   UPDATED: 8:07 AM Mar 07 2012
ENGELHARD -

Several college students in our state are spending their spring break making a difference in communities hit hard by Hurricane Irene.

About 12 students from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill were busy sweeping and cleaning the Davis Centre in Engelhard Wednesday.

That facility is a local community center that suffered some damage during Irene. In fact, the gym received roof damage, and the floor has to be replaced.

Students will spend their entire spring break in Eastern North Carolina, cleaning up facilities and reparing homes damaged during the hurricane.

"Traditionally, the trip has gone to New Orleans to work with hurricane survivors....But we figured that there have been so many disasters in North Carolina, so why not just stay close to home," said Simone Duval, a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill. Duval is also one of the team leaders.

The spring break trip is all part of a service training program at UNC-Chapel Hill, with this particular trip aimed at disaster relief and recovery.

"Not only are we all on tight budgets nowadays, but we just really feel that we have a community here, so why not serve that need first," said Duval.

Instead of staying in a hotel or beach house for spring break, the students are spending their nights sleeping on cots at the Hyde County Public Safety Facility in Swan Quarter, the same building as the sheriff's office. We're told the students are nowhere near any inmates.

Regardless of where they're staying, students say their mission is service and helping those who need it most.

"Knowing that even if it's very little, you never know how significant it is to someone else," said Mamharr Gaye, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill.