CALDWELL — While spring break may conjure visions of MTV’s beer-soaked beach parties for many college students, volunteers from The College of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University are using their break to help others.
Last weekend, College of Idaho students spruced up the house of a single mother in Caldwell. Other C of I volunteers are currently in Texas helping build homes, and Northwest Nazarene University students are in Vancouver, Canada, working with the homeless.
“It’s important to serve the community that we live in,” said Kali Reider, a C of I junior who organized the effort in Caldwell. “Sometimes we feel protected in this little bubble on campus, and I think it’s important that we see the need in our community.”
Over the weekend, Reider joined 12 other students from Campus Ministries to rehabilitate the home of a Caldwell woman and her two children. They painted the home, planted trees and flowers, and built a room in the basement for the 7-year-old boy.
Other C of I students are spending their break along the border that separates Mexico and Texas, building homes for people who live in “las colonias” — impoverished communities without access to electricity, clean water or sewer systems.
Phil Antilla, ministry coordinator for The College of Idaho, said the spring break service was inspired by the concept of the Jubilee celebration in Leviticus, in which everybody’s debt is reset every 50 years with the “trumpet blast of liberty.”
“We can’t stop poverty. We’re just a bunch of college students, but we can powerfully say that good things can still happen,” Antilla said.
Eight Northwest Nazarene students are working with the indigent population in the downtown east side of Vancouver, Canada. They will distribute food and clothing, while learning about the lives of people
One of the volunteers, senior Kaley Lione, said she signed up for the trip because she didn’t want to spend her spring break “on the couch all day doing nothing.” Instead, she said, she toured the “skid row” areas of Vancouver, where she was surprised to see drug deals in the open air.
“This has been a real eye-opener. I’ll be out in the real world after I graduate, and this is the real world. Right now I’m sheltered by the college community,” Lione said.