Divide and Conquer: P.E.A.C.E. Volunteers Extend a Hand Twice

This spring break members looked beyond just having fun this. Instead of saying ‘What can I do for fun this spring break?’ they asked, ‘What can we do to help others?’

P.E.A.C.E. volunteers traveled to Waveland, Miss. and Maryville, Tennessee.

This was the first year that the PEACE organization offered two alternative spring break trips. This new option enabled more students the opportunity to give back.

The Waveland, Miss. trip, led by junior Hannah Duprey ASB co-coordinator, worked on rebuilding a house for a couple affected by Hurricane Katrina. The twelve UT students who went on this trip installed insulation, sheetrock and’ dry wall. They also leveled the ground beneath the house and built a porch.

Katrina Vidal, ASB coordinator, recalled the woman whose house they were rebuilding; ‘She was glowing everyday as she saw her house progressing.’

UT junior Kristine Kodytek said the group got a lot done even though they didn’t have a lot of experience. ‘We didn’t know how much we could help, but it turned out we did a lot and they are a lot further along now in the process of rebuilding their home.’

Although Mississippi didn’t get the publicity that New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina, the state was still severely affected by the storm, which led P.E.A.C.E. to choose that area.

The Tennessee trip also proved to be a huge success. Volunteers, led by ASB co-coordinator Christina Smith, worked in various places including in a senior citizens community, a child development center, and a park. They also picked up trash, and worked in the Cherokee National Forest.

The UT students who went on the Tennessee trip stayed with a host family.

‘It opened up so many doors and helped us focus on what exactly who we want to help, which is the Cherokee community and the environment,’
Volunteers on the Tennessee trip focused more on the environment.

They were made aware of environmental issues and taught ways to preserve nature.

Duprey said that some of the volunteers never experienced volunteering before and they really enjoyed themselves.

‘The alternative spring break trips was a real success. It shows that the organization is moving forward and more people than ever are participating,’ Duprey said.

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