HAVERFORD STUDENTS BRING “HOAP”
TO COMMUNITIES DURING SPRING BREAK
Instead of getting some rest
and relaxation, 22 students at Haverford College are spending
their spring breaks building houses, painting apartments, and
tutoring children. During the second week of March (March 7-16,)
they will be part of the College’s Housing Outreach Action
Program (H.O.A.P.), traveling to building sites and communities
across the country to participate in construction work or other
essential community-building projects. This year, four groups
are making trips to sites in West Virginia, North Carolina,
South Carolina, and Alabama.
The West Virginia and Statesville, N.C. projects are affiliated
with Habitat for Humanity; students in these groups will assist
in building homes for low-income families. Other students will
be in Birmingham, AL, helping Urban Ministries restore local
houses. At St. Lawrence Place in Columbia, S.C., a community
of transitional housing for homeless families, a group of students
will perform a variety of duties: painting, lawn maintenance,
gardening, moving furniture, preparing apartments for new families,
and playing with and tutoring the children after school. They
will also be part of a lunch buddy system, in which they will
be paired with children from the local elementary school to
eat lunch with them for the week.
Haverford students who sign up for
the H.O.A.P. trips hail from all across the country and all
areas of study, but they are united in their desire to give
back to the community. “The program has a definite mission
to educate us on conditions of substandard housing, and showing
us how to be proactive in alleviating these conditions,”
says Lindsay Dunne, a third-year student from Gladstone, N.J.,
who is going to Statesville.
H.O.A.P. is run by 8th Dimension,
the College office that coordinates student volunteerism. This
year, 70-75 students applied to be part of the spring break
projects; spaces are allotted for no more than 60 participants.
Throughout the year, group leaders and program organizers raise
money for the trips through activities like candy sales and
Valentine’s Day rose sales.