Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Spring Break Trip

Eight Pitt-Greensburg students and two staff members, Dorothy Zilic and Tanya Conde, traveled to Walton County, Florida, during the 2010 spring break to build a house for Habitat for Humanity. The students worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to frame, add trusses, roofing, and siding to a house in DeFuniak Springs. The Pitt volunteers got further along than any other group. By the time they left Friday, the house was ready for the professionals (electricians and plumbers) to come in and work. The trip took 18 hours by bus, and students paid $150 out of their own pockets to cover transportation costs. The spring break Habitat for Humanity trip has become a tradition for Pitt-Greensburg and Pitt-Johnstown volunteers and is typically held in reserve for the group by Habitat for Humanity.

“We are a part of Habitat for Humanity to give back to our community,” said John Ritenour, a student and president of the Pitt-Greensburg group.” With each wall we put up and with each nail we hammer in, we slowly change the world for the better. It gives us not only a feeling of accomplishment, but we also give hope to those who need it. Habitat for Humanity International uses a quote ‘Building hope all over the world.’ That’s why we are a part of this group.”

The Habitat for Humanity Chapter at Pitt-Greensburg

Working to make a difference, Pitt-Greensburg students have taken their efforts as a Habitat for Humanity group on campus to those in the community and beyond.  Taking part in several events a year, they collaborate with the Central Westmoreland Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and have also assisted in building houses in Florida. Currently the group is hosting fundraisers to raise money to build a home in Grapeville, PA.

Over the past five years, students have taken part in an alternative spring break trip in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown chapter, traveling to Walton County, Florida, to build a house. Last year eight students participated and assisted in building a house in four days. This year eight students again will travel to Florida to help build another home.

“It’s a very uplifting trip, especially when you get to meet the families that you are helping,” John Ritenour, Pitt-Greensburg Habitat for Humanity president says. “It’s very beneficial--not only for the cause but for yourself.”

Currently the group is working to raise money to build a house in Grapeville, PA.  They also plan to assist in the construction of the house. Some of their efforts included a spaghetti lunch and a bake sale, both in November.Students also donate their time and energy to help with the pickup and sale of furniture and other related items two Saturdays per month at the Habitat Restore in Westmoreland County. Proceeds benefit the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity.

This spring, for the group’s next project, the lawn in front of Chambers will be converted into a cardboard city. They hope to raise awareness for homelessness and poverty by building a city of houses made from cardboard and duct tape where they will sleep overnight.

Giving of their time and talents outside of the classroom, these students are working hard to make a difference. “It’s a great organization and a great cause” Ritenour says, “You get to see how much you make a difference. You’re bettering the world a little bit every time you do something.”

If you would like to be part of the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at Pitt-Greensburg please contact Brian Root.