Northern Kentucky University students gathered in the parking lot of Eastside Christian Church in Milford, Ohio, April 1 to build enough frames to construct 20 houses bound for the Katrina-damaged Gulf Coast Region. The event, organized by Help Build Hope, a non-profit agency collaborating with Habitat for Humanity, is designed to connect disaster-struck families with communities across the nation.
No experience in construction required for the volunteer framers; only a 20-minute informational session, a tool belt and the desire to build. Theta Phi Alpha president Ashley Scholl said, “Working at Help Build Hope was an experience I will never forget. So many people came together, and it felt wonderful knowing that in some way a few hours of work could change the lives of 20 families forever.” Theta Phi Alpha wasn’t the only student organization to take part; Norse Leadership Society, Freshman Service Leadership Committee, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Presidential Ambassadors, Student Government and Tau Kappa Epsilon helped contribute more than 200 NKU students.
Throughout the process there were local carpenters and craftsman to guide the students. Participants assembled small sections of frames separated by colors and numbers. Those small pieces assembled created a wall and those walls were loaded onto trucks for transportation and construction at the future homes sites in and surrounding New Orleans. Once the frames arrive at their destinations, volunteers from Habitat for Humanity will erect the homes. Participants were able to write prayers, wishes and notes of encouragement on the completed frames, which served as giant best wishes cards to the families receiving the home.
The event was originally scheduled to occur in three time periods but the third time period was cancelled because all 20 frames were completed early. Stephanie McGoldrick, NKU student life program coordinator, said, “The success of the event speaks in the time in which the frames were completed and the hundreds of students who participated.”