NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – This week, Craven County Habitat for Humanity celebrated its 10th year of work with the University of Delaware. Students from the college came to help build houses and bring community change to the area.
The partnership is a part of the Habitat Collegiate Challenge Alternative Spring Break Program.
“I bring a group of college students down for an alternative spring break focused on working with social justice issues. This one specifically is on affordable housing and housing practices,” said University of Delaware Associate Director for Leadership and Development Matthew Creasy.
Those with Habitat for Humanity said New Bern is one of many communities without enough affordable housing.
“The whole reason why Habitat is here is to help with the affordable housing crisis. A huge number of people are cost-burdened in Craven County,” said Michael Piraino with Craven County Habitat for Humanity.
Creasy said bringing the students shows them how different communities can have the same problems.
“So, it’s important that we not only come here, work here, serve here, learn here, but then they’re able to take that learning back to their home communities and make an impact there as well,” he said. “When we take our students on a tour throughout New Bern to see the various houses that we’ve built throughout the years and they are then able to see that community change. It takes sustained effort, time and commitment.”
For the past several days, students have been hard at work painting homes, carrying appliances and clearing yards.
“It’s just like so revitalizing being able to come and leave behind all the school, work, stress. Leave behind anything that’s bothering you and just come in and do it and give your whole heart to something,” said Kathleen Knesek, a junior at the University of Delaware.
Students said this experience is one they will remember for the rest of their lives, treasuring both the friendships and community change they made.
“We talked about how some of the experiences you have while in New Bern are truly experiences you can only really describe to the people you were here with,” said junior Damon Peruso.