A spring break with hammer and nails 2014.04.02

habitat.taylorBy DAVID GREEN

Like many college students, Morenci’s Taylor Schisler headed south for spring break, but she only went as far a Tennessee. And then she went to work.

Taylor joined a group of 15 students from Lourdes University in Sylvania—where she’s a freshman in the nursing program—for a spring break adventure in house building.

The group traveled March 8 to Maryville, Tenn., to spend a week on a Habitat for Humanity building project. Lourde’s campus ministry group organizes a service project trip every spring and this year marked a return trip to Maryville, a city of about 27,000 people near Knoxville.

The basement was poured when the team arrived; it was up to them to help tackle the floor and walls. Although most of the students were in Taylor’s situation—not knowing much at all about construction—that changed as the days wore on.

“We got to be experts by the end of the week,” she said, at least with a hammer and nails.

The group also worked in a Habitat ReStore and sorted used clothing to prepare it for sale.

She enjoyed spending some time with the family that would be moving into the home when it reaches completion. Like all Habitat projects, the family moving in also helps with the build.

The focus of the trip was to help build a house, but that's only part of the overall experience. 

"We went to a church dinner for homeless and elderly people," Taylor said. "We sat with them and heard stories from their lives."

The Lourdes group also met student volunteers from schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, and "camped in" at the same church as the Illinois group. Evenings were spent cooking dinner and playing games—plus the one night out at an excellent barbecue restaurant.

There was also time to be tourists in Gatlinburg, along with a trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a night at Cotton Eyed Joe night club in Knoxville for line dancing.

"It was a good spring break," Taylor said. "I already have my application ready for next year."