Thirty-six students from Millersville University spent their spring break helping those who are in need.
Millersville’s Civic and Community Engagement and Research Project (CCERP) sent 13 students on a five-day trip to Bithlo, Fla. Bithlo defaulted on loans, lost its status as a city and fell under the control of the Orange County Government. It has seen decades of neglect, resulting in polluted water, accumulation of junkyards, lack of resources and dilapidated buildings.
The team served dinner at a shelter, renovated neighborhood homes, embarked on a landscaping project and assisted with a neighborhood canvassing initiative. At the end of each work day, students discussed and learned about the root causes of the social issues involved in the effort to transform the Bithlo community.
Melissa Wardwell, director of CCERP and Dr. Victor DeSantis, dean and associate provost for CCERP, accompanied the trip as the staff leaders and group facilitators.
In addition, 12 students from Millersville’s University Christian Fellowship traveled to Far Rockaway, Queens, N.Y., to help rebuild the recovering area from Hurricane Sandy. The peninsula has suffered excessive damage from flooding. UCF worked with the Mennonite Disaster Service and the First Church of God in Far Rockaway for the entirety of the break.
And, the social work department at Millersville took a seven-day trip to Heredia, Costa Rica. This trip allowed 12 students to explore the social issues of sexual violence and human trafficking. The students worked with two non-profit organizations, La Posada de Belén, a shelter, and Fundación Rahab, a safe house for women.