Habitat for Humanity teaches students to help without hurting

Spring break is a fan favorite for most college students and professors. The students are excited for spring break because it provides a change of pace from the stress of midterms, and the hot question is “Where are you going?” Students might be traveling with their new best friends, spending time back at home with their families, or participating in a spring break trip that Concordia offers.

Concordia offers many spring break trips. However, the message of Habitat for Humanity caught the attention of 80 plus students this spring at Concordia. Habitat for Humanity at Concordia has traveled to more than seven states, including Texas, Tennessee, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina and Washington. Habitat for Humanity has trips for Nashville, Tennessee; Laredo, Texas; Pensacola, Florida and Winston-Salem, North Carolina this spring.

Daniel Biebighauser, the faculty member for Habitat for Humanity at Concordia has been the advisor for seven and a half years. Biebighauser is also a professor at Concordia College in the math department. This will be his 11th spring break spent with Habitat for Humanity.

“What encouraged me to get involved in Habitat for Humanity was the amazing experience and ability to serve work with students,” he said.

There are many ways that Habitat for Humanity advertises. For example, posters are put up around campus to encourage students to go to informational meetings. Students are also informed via email messages in the hope they will attend the informational meetings on the trip.

Mitchell Lejcher, a first-year nursing major, has already had the amazing opportunity to get involved in Habitat for Humanity his first semester.

“I got an email from Concordia that included all the things I could do over the 2019 fall break,” Lejcher said. “Habitat for Humanity especially caught my eye because I never had the opportunity to go on mission trips back in high school.”

Biebighauser mentioned what’s in store for this spring break trip.

“All kinds of work. This includes the popular siding, roofing, painting, framing, trimming, landscaping and putting up drywall. 80% to 90% of the service is home construction,” said Biebighauser. 

Cobbers in Tacoma, WA on the fall Habitat trip. Courtesy Mitchell Lejcher.

Lejecher spoke on what he did during his fall break trip to Tacoma, Washington.

“I was mainly on the deck building crew, which was around the porch areas of the houses. I did this for three different houses. I also did a lot of scaffolding for the houses,” he said. This fall’s trip to Tacoma was special. Instead of the whole group just working on one house, it was a row of homes being built.

“I learned a lot about helping without hurting.” Lejecher said. 

Helping without hurting is the act of not fantasizing community service jobs. When you fantasize these actions, it reflects poorly upon the people in need. To put into perspective from a family, the idea of a happy service group coming in and using it to sometimes pity the families, does not set a good standard.

Habitat for Humanity offers a PEAK experience with their trips. The main topic is learning about the concept of helping without hurting. It helps bring awareness to the issue of helping and not hurting those in need.

Emma Allen, a sophomore, is ready to hop in a van for her first Habitat for Humanity trip this spring interim. 

“I am so excited for the sense of community that habitat seems to bring. This will be one of the few service projects that I have done within a group. I could not be more excited to share this experience with my fellow Cobbers,” Allen said.

Lejcher mentioned all the amazing friends that he made in Tacoma from his Habitat for Humanity trip. He also encourages his fellow classmates to give the future Habitat for Humanity trips a look because he thoroughly enjoyed his unique fall break with his fellow classmates. Those fellow classmates are now lifelong friends.

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