College program a boon for nonprofit

From the The Brunswick News

The cacophony of dozens of hammers driving nails into lumber echoed down Blain Street in Brunswick Monday as students, teachers, coaches and even the future homeowners themselves volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build two homes.

It marked the first day of the College of Coastal Georgia Builds project, which will put hammers in the hands of college students to build two homes in partnership with Habitat before the spring semester ends in May.

With construction starting from scratch Monday morning, the group of nearly 40 people worked with stunning efficiency and were hanging trusses for the roof by the afternoon.

Sarah Bell, future owner of the home being built Monday, was getting her first taste of construction work.

"I feel so blessed," Bell said. "I am excited about it."

Getting to help build the house in which she will live with her 4-year-old son, Daivion, made the project even more special for her.

Marissa Hoskie, a mother of two who will live in the house next door to Bell's, felt the same way.

Emotions overwhelmed her much of the morning, she said.

"I couldn't be more thankful," Hoskie said. "I am just glad I finally stopped crying."

The location on Blain Street, just a couple of blocks from the college, will mean her son Christopher Blythewood, a middle school student at Needwood Middle School, can attend College of Coastal Georgia to become a math teacher after he graduates from high school.

The project is exactly what college president Valerie Hepburn had in mind when she initiated the Service Learning program at the school.

She said students and other volunteers will be working on the homes every week from Thursday to Saturday until they are built.

The quick progress made Monday was due to how well organized Habitat for Humanity is.

"All we have to do is hammer the nails straight," Hepburn said.

She has been involved with Habitat of Glynn County since she became president of the college in 2009, something Habitat's executive director Bert Brown said has been a blessing.

"It means a lot to have their help," Brown said.

He said he looks forward to a bright future working with the college's service learning program, even after Hepburn steps down as president in May.

Student Barbara McMillan said she was impressed with the teamwork she saw during the first day of the project.

At the rate things are going, the houses will be done long before the end of the semester, she said.

"I am just amazed at how fast this is going," McMillan said.

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Release Date: 1/22/2013
Source: The Brunswick News

By MICHAEL HALL