For the seventh consecutive year, Seton Hill University students, faculty and staff will spend their spring break lending a helping hand to families in need.

This year, 20 Seton Hill volunteers will travel to Frakes, Ky., to work for The Henderson Settlement Project. The Henderson Settlement, with the help from Seton Hill volunteers, works to repair houses alongside families who are in need of a safe place to call home and for whom the dream of homeownership would have otherwise been out of reach.

The spring break trip is being coordinated by Seton Hill’s Campus Ministry office and provides opportunities for students to assist the very young and the elderly, the unemployed and economically disadvantaged, the homeless and the disabled. This particular service outreach program will help renovate homes for low-income families.

The Henderson Settlement project covers four counties: Bell and Whitley in Kentucky and Clayborne and Campbell in Tennessee. In 2006, the average unemployment rate in Henderson Settlement’s service area was 8% and the poverty rate was 26%.

“Many of these people couldn’t fathom owning homes,” Cindy Boland, director of campus ministry said. “Through the help we provide the families, we are able to foster a sense of stability.”

The 20 participants depart from Seton Hill Saturday, March 7 and return Saturday, March 14. During their week in Kentucky, they will assist in home repairs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The volunteers will spend their evenings cooking, relaxing and socializing.

Each participant donated $90 to help fund their housing costs while on the trip. The students also held fundraisers around campus to reduce the cost. The students sold homecoming t-shirts, held a raffle, hosted the Jail-N-Bail, an event in which faculty and students were jailed then freed on bail, and had a rent-a-student where faculty members used the services of the student for babysitting, cleaning, and other chores for $10 an hour.

Boland explained that the students “seem to have an inherent desire to help others. They want to do something meaningful and see the fruits of their labor help those less fortunate. They have a growing concern about the situations of the families in this area.”

The 15 student volunteers include: Grace Cameron, freshman, Latrobe, Pa.; Coryn Kalwanaski, sophomore dietetics major, Ashville, Pa.; Katie Lantz, freshman English literature major, Sarver, Pa.; Kirstin Logan, junior family and consumer science major, Cape May Court House, NJ; Abby Marshall, sophomore psychology major, Cabot, Pa.; Quade Miller, junior math and accounting major, North Huntingdon, Pa.; Kalie Mills, junior studio arts major, Greensburg, Pa.; Chelsea Oliver, sophomore communication and journalism major, Elwood City, Pa.; Denmark Reed, sophomore biology major, McKeesport, Pa.; Liz Rettger, junior accounting major, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Gabby Scanga, junior psychology major, Gibsonia, Pa.; AJ Schell, senior psychology major, Sharpsburg, Md.; Wendy Scott, freshman communications major, Salisbury, Md.; Jess Thomas, sophomore biology major, Johnstown, Pa.; Melissa Unger, freshman English literature major, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Pamela Vucinich, sophomore psychology major, Rilton, Pa.

The four staff volunteers include: Darren Achtzehn, director of dining services; Cindy Boland, director of campus ministry; John Spurlock, professor of humanities; and Jaimie Steel, director of activities.

Seton Hill University’s Campus Ministry program provides opportunities for students of all faith traditions to enrich their university experience by participation in prayer and worship, community service, social responsibility and sharing the gifts of faith with the entire community.

Spiritual programming and sacramental ministry are provided to foster student’s spirituality and human growth. In addition to regular liturgical and prayer experiences, there are opportunities for retreats, evenings of reflection, discussion groups, bible study, and faith sharing. Ecumenical prayer services for the entire University community are held several times each semester. Campus Ministry provides opportunities for students to train for, participate in, and reflect upon meaningful service to the community. These service experiences include aiding the very young and the elderly, the unemployed and economically disadvantaged, the homeless, and the handicapped. Students enrich their own lives while helping others in the search for justice and liberation from needless suffering. All students are invited to participate in Campus Ministry programs.