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UJ Habitat for Humanity chapter to spend spring break in Florida

Two University of Jamestown students work on a house in Florida in 2016. The students were part of the UJ Habitat for Humanity chapter’s spring break mission trip.

Teagan Skunberg will be heading to Florida with some of her fellow University of Jamestown students in March to spend some time “doing something fun.”

The fun that Skunberg, a Jamestown native, is referring to is working on a house as part of a spring break mission trip with the University of Jamestown Habitat for Humanity chapter. The UJ Habitat for Humanity chapter will be in Sebring, Fla., March 4-11 working on a home under construction by the Highlands County (Fla.) chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Sebring is about an hour and a half south of Orlando, Fla.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities in the United States and in approximately 70 countries. Habitat for Humanity works with families in need to build homes for those families. The family members provide “sweat equity” into the house that becomes their home.

Nicholas Goodman, UJ housing administrator coordinator and co-adviser for the UJ chapter, said nine students and three advisers will participate in the Sebring spring break mission trip. In addition to Goodman, Liz and Brad Kapp will accompany the UJ students on this trip.

Skunberg, UJ chapter president, said she had always wanted to go on a mission trip for spring break. She got the opportunity when she joined the UJ chapter as a sophomore, and will spend her second spring break working on a house and learning carpentry skills.

“I love what they (Habitat for Humanity) stand for,” she said. “It’s a hand up, not a handout. They give out homes to the most deserving people.”

Skunberg said she has done things she never thought she would do working with the UJ chapter.

“I was on a roof,” she said, “on a roof! I was using a skill saw, where else do you get to do something like that?”

Skunberg said it can be intimidating at first working side by side with construction workers and using power tools.

“I was so comfortable (after some first-time use jitters),” she said. “You’re with trained contractors, you’re wearing safety gear.”

Skunberg said she got to do everything from hauling debris to helping install a ceiling.

For this year’s mission trip, Skunberg said the UJ chapter students and advisers will eat dinner in the home they helped build last year with the family who received the home. She said the UJ chapter members became a close group working together on the house.

“Through fundraising with our advisers, traveling and living together, it was such a good experience,” she said.

Goodman said the group needs to raise about $9,000 for the trip and has a goal of $11,000. He said the UJ chapter will receive all donations made during R.M. Stoudt Inc.’s annual customer appreciation breakfast. The breakfast takes place from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday at R.M. Stoudt, 800 23rd St. SW, Jamestown.

Goodman said other community groups have donated to the UJ chapter, including Lodge No. 4 of the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police, which donated $500.

Goodman said there has been a Habitat for Humanity chapter on the UJ campus for at least 15 years.

To make a donation to UJ Habitat for Humanity, contact Goodman at 252-3467, ext. 5034. | (701) 952-8454

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454