The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR students give up spring vacation to help community

By Ashley Johnson/tr news editor

For some TR Campus students, this spring break will be less about partying it up in Cancun and more about giving back to the community.

TR Campus will go on its first alternative spring break trip to help Habitat for Humanity build and renovate homes in Dickinson, Texas.

Some students have never really gone outside of their neighborhood and a trip like this gives students the opportunity to get away from their normal environment, as well as gain a sense of social responsibility, said Center for Community Engagement coordinator Angel Garcia.

“Growing up, my only vacation was from San Antonio to Laredo, and that was the extent of my understanding of the world,” he said. “I think a lot of our students are in the same situation. For some of them, coming to TR Campus is their first adventure downtown, and they actually live in this city. As students learn and discover what they want to do and who they are, I think they have to get out and do these kinds of things.”

Student development associate Laura Escamilla said the trip will be a unique bonding experience and will teach students the value of service. Some students who have never done service projects or gone on a road trip will get to do both, she said. Students will stay at a church, and other college students will  participate as well, so they can interact with each other.

“I think some of the great things about this is that it’s giving students a chance to get to know each other on another level, not just in classes or hanging out in between classes. You’re going to be working together 24 hours a day for a week,” she said. “We also have two faculty going, so it’s getting to know staff in a different way. I think for those who go on the trip, it will be a type of bonding experience.”

The cost of the trip is $250 with several excursions included. Deposits must be turned in by March 2. Escamilla had worried students wouldn’t want to participate, but so far she’s pleased.

“I’ve had several people call, and I’m getting several emails, and a lot of people are interested,” she said. “One impact I hope it makes for TR is that we can do more in the future.”

TR student Adrian Vasquez plans to attend this year’s alternative spring break and said the school should do more events like this.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to go and help out with other communities,” he said. “I wish we could go out of state, but to Dickinson, Texas, for the first year is pretty exciting.”

The trip’s purpose is to have a more meaningful spring break, Escamilla said. Everyone will sleep in sleeping bags, and the work they’ll do through Habitat for Humanity is very physical. Students may help to build or renovate an existing house in workdays that run 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Students interested in going should be ready to work and have fun at the same time, she said.

“We need people that have positive attitudes — no downers or people that say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this,’” she said. “Habitat for Humanity is a very well-known organization, but not everybody has worked with them.”

Six students and two faculty members can go on this trip since Habitat for Humanity sets the guidelines for how many spots are available, Escamilla said.

“We wanted to start small and go somewhere close by that was a reasonable driving distance,” she said.

Because of this year’s demand, Garcia hopes funding will be in place to do more next year.

“Something like this still involves learning but also has kind of a social aspect to it. Beyond that, it’s also relationships you build with the people that are there, and the new experiences you have.  I hope that someday we start going places outside the state,” he said.

Garcia said in some of his conversations with students he realizes their perspective and scope on the world around them is narrow. Many students aren’t aware of how much of an impact they can make. They don’t realize there’s much more beyond Fort Worth, but a trip like this may help them to understand that, he said.

“It’s a catalyst that makes you think bigger and broader. You figure things out,” he said. “A lot of people want to figure out how they can make their mark on this world, how they can change something. It helps motivate you, guide you toward what that might look like. You start thinking better. You start thinking differently.”

To participate in this trip, students must be at least 18 years old. All payments must be made at the Idea Store. For more questions about the trip, contact Escamilla at 817-515-1194.

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