Collegiate Challenge 2022
Sumter Habitat for Humanity hosted student volunteers for the 28th year during Collegiate Challenge 2022. On Sunday, March 6, nine students from Boston College's Appa Volunteer Chapter arrived in Sumter to assist with Sumter Habitat for Humanity's 128th Habitat Home Build in the Sumter Habitat designated neighborhood, Fuller Gardens.
APPA, or the Appalachia Volunteers, is a program committed to building communities through loving, learning, and serving in Appalachia and beyond. Surprisingly, before this trip, NONE of these students had ever met before, even though they go to the same college!
We wouldn’t be able to pull Collegiate Challenge off if it weren’t for the tremendous support we receive from the businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals from the community who assist us in welcoming and hosting the student volunteers who have come to Sumter to serve our community during their spring break.
First Presbyterian Church hosted the nine student volunteers from Boston College in their West Youth Building (more like an upscale Airbnb). Having First Pres. open their arms to these students was very sentimental since members of First Presbyterian Church started the Sumter Habitat affiliate, and because we are celebrating our 35th Anniversary this year.
Students were at the worksite with a tool in hand or task to accomplish every morning at 8 am. They are assisting and working with our construction manager, Randy Wells, volunteers in Sumter Habitat's Homeownership program, and most importantly, the future owner of the home they were assisting with. Aside from a thirty minute at 11:30 am for lunch, the students worked straight through the day until around 3:00 or 3:30. After dinner, the students returned to the west youth building to have their reflection time, which typically lasted at least 45 minutes.
One of the most touching moments was when one of the students who battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma three years ago and is now in remission shared with us that “this may have been the best week of his life.”. We can’t help but think that even though this program is designed to impact the lives of the young adults participating, we learned so much from them. The selflessness of spending their spring break bettering a community that isn't even their own was impressive enough, but the way they worked, the attitude with which they worked, and their never absent gratitude was beyond inspiring. The young adults from Boston College most certainly left an impact on Sumter, and for all of us at Sumter Habitat for Humanity, they reignited the passion of why we do what we do.