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LSC-Montgomery Students ‘Hit the Nail on the Head’ As Habitat for Humanity Volunteers

Before putting on the final coat of paint, the Habitat for Humanity Volunteers, a student organization at LSC-Montgomery, document the reason for their hard work.Reading, writing, and…roofing? It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but it sure is a natural progression for the more than 65 students involved with Lone Star College-Montgomery’s Habitat For Humanity Volunteers. These students spend their time outside the classroom helping to build or renovate simple, decent, and affordable homes for low-income families in the area.
“Providing the opportunity for a family to have their own home at an affordable rate is one of the greatest ways to express you care for those in need,” said Pablo Mota, student at LSC-Montgomery. “Once you realize how fortunate you are and how unfortunate others are, you realize you need to give back some of that fortune.”
Recently, Mota and a small group of other students partnered with Polk County Disaster Relief over spring break to provide assistance to an elderly couple who were still living in a mobile home damaged by Hurricane Ike. The disaster team made strides to repair the roof and porch, and the students primed and painted the entire exterior, deck, and railings.
“The trip was a great success, including the team-building and camaraderie that comes from bunking in church-school classrooms, rationing hot water for showers, sharing cooking and cleaning chores, and playing card games in the evening,” said Lisa Rickord, program coordinator at LSC-Montgomery and advisor of the organization. “But the best reward of the whole trip was the intrinsic satisfaction of knowing that our time and energy was spent helping other people in their time of need.”
Student volunteer Veronica Campbell, who was recently elected as the organization’s president for the 2010-11 school year, was surprised at how much she gained while trying to serve others.
“It was amazing that while we were painting, the home-owner would bring us coffee and make sure that we were ok,” said Campbell, who is studying to be a dental hygienist. “Going on that trip took me out of my comfort zone, but nothing is better than knowing that while you were on this planet, you made a difference in someone else’s life.”
Projects like these are common for this group of benevolent students. While the organization is not an official college chapter of Habitat of Humanity, at least one Saturday a month, you’ll find around 15 students painting or hammering alongside the Northwest Harris County Habitat for Humanity chapter affiliate, which is working to develop a neighborhood of approximately 90 homes in northwest Houston.
Since service is their main goal, Rickord said the students are always open to new opportunities for giving back to the community.
“Our students have had the opportunity to serve with Healing Hands Ranch, a ministry for deaf prisoners, and with United Way’s Days of Caring,” said Rickord. “It’s quite amazing because we have some students who have contributed more than 30 hours of volunteer time.”
While each person has their own reasons for volunteering, Rickord said some students initially joined the organization as part of a service-learning component associated to their online course.
“Students in online courses may not get involved on campus as readily as students in more traditional courses,” she said. “But through this service-learning opportunity, these students are getting a chance to bond with their fellow classmates and with others from across the campus while serving the community.”
For Mota, who plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in business or finance, volunteering now is just the beginning of a global initiative. He hopes to one day set up a social enterprise that will provide education for children in poor communities throughout Latin America.
“It’s time for us to pitch in and contribute in some way, and what better way than starting locally with your school colleagues,” he said. “It’s a good way to spread the word and make your friends, families, and colleagues work toward a common goal. One step at a time, we can eradicate poverty.”
For more information about the Habitat for Humanity Volunteers or to become involved in the organization, visit http://www.lonestar.edu/habitat-for-humanity-montgomery.htm.
LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.
With more than 62,000 students in credit classes in spring 2010, Lone Star College System is the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSCS consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.