MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - While many people go on vacation to the beach or the mountains during spring break, others are swinging hammers, painting and power washing.
A group of students from Suffolk University in Boston, Mass., is spending time here in Meridian working for Habitat for Humanity in their Alternative Spring Break program.
"So we're basically coming here and working with Habitat for Humanity to help re-do a couple of houses that will be going to families," said Catherine Seaver, a junior at Suffolk.
The volunteers say helping others is their preferred way of spending spring break.
"Yeah, vacation is fun, but I also think that it's really important to be able to give back to communities if you have the opportunity to do so," said Seaver. "When I heard about the trip from someone who had done it last year, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to give back to some communities."
"So this is my second year volunteering with Habitat for Humanity," said Grace Wyszkowski, also a junior. "And it just really had a huge impact on me. Last year i got to meet the family and i bonded really closely with my peers and made a difference."
The help will be going a long way to families in need.
"Those two houses that they're working on over on 9th Street are houses that we're rehabbing that are in our inventory for home ownership," said Monica Bradley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity. "So we have families that are in need and they come through our homebuyer program.'
"Currently there are over 39 million Americans in poverty and there are only 35 out of 100 homes that are priced at a point that's affordable for Americans," said Wyszkowski. "So it's very important that everyone contributes and gives back to the community either locally or globally."
Over 10,000 students from both high schools and colleges participate with Habitat for Humanity during their spring breaks. Many of the students volunteer with Habitat through its Collegiate Challenge program.