Students Do Community Service During Spring Break

By: Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) - Midterms. Term papers--pummeled with bad weather.

Instead of heading to the beach to escape it all--these 10 students from Boston University repaired a stranger's home during their spring break vacation.

"A lot of people would be like 'oh why would you go and do that? Like why didn't you go to Miami or something like that?" Tyler Ierardi said. "When you tell them why you're going people get like 'Oh I actually wish I had signed up'."

Ierardi and Paula Garcia work with and recruit volunteers for the university's "Alternative Spring Break"--ASB program. They choose them on a first come, first served basis.

"By doing this, I feel like I can help out the community and use my time more productively than just sitting around at home watching TV," Garcia said.

Throughout this week, the group will fix up an 80-year-old woman's home in north Omaha.

De-cluttering and cleaning the home, putting new kitchen cabinets in and re-patching her walls are among some of the repairs.

"We're going to install railings on this wall," Garcia said.

They'll also replace the dryer vent in the basement. The fixtures are mainly to ensure that her home is safe--not just visual appealing.

"It's not like an extreme make over, it's just like a subtle make over," Ierardi continued. "They just want to do things that'll help gradually over time."

Ultimately bringing the home back to a basic utility level.

Ierardi and Garcia said they're not worried about missing out on the "traditional" spring break.

"There's going to be like a reward, like for us that we're doing something for somebody else. That feeling is better than just doing something for yourself," Ierardi said.

After all, summer vacation is a few months away.

ASB students work with Rebuilding Together Omaha in finding homes in the metro that need refurbishing. RTO inspects the homes initially and evaluates what the students can fix in a short time period. The main focus is to make a home safe, accessible and energy efficient for elderly homeowners.