Students engineer happiness with Habitat for Humanity
Janna Ion and Tyler Thomas are both graduating seniors and officers of Theta Tau. Before spring break, neither of them had ever built a house.
Ion and Thomas were part of an 18-person group that consisted of Theta Tau members from Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Florida and University of Michigan who signed up to spend four days of spring break volunteering at a build site in Flagler Beach.
“It was fantastic,” Ion said. “Our sleeping quarters were in a church, a nearby country club donated their facilities for us to shower, and every morning we went to a build site.”
The group of students was able to finish the interior framework of a house in just four days. They also visited different build sites to accomplish smaller jobs, such as weatherproofing a roof and sodding a yard.
“One of the houses, they hadn’t finished putting tiles on the roof, and they hadn’t finished weatherproofing and it was about to rain,” Ion said.
Thomas remembers filling in a yard with grass. “It was the fastest that any of the contractors had ever seen a group lay sod. They said it would take us three hours, and I think it took us one hour and fifteen minutes,” he said.
Both Ion and Tyler got to meet the family that would be living in the house they were building.
“It was a single mom and her two daughters. The mother worked alongside us and we got to see how excited she was,” Thomas said. “I think they appreciate the house more, working on it themselves.”
Not only did the students get some hands-on experience,
but they had the chance to spend time with out-of-state Theta Tau members.
“I’ve already contacted some of them on Facebook,” Ion said. “They told me I could come see them in Michigan, but it’s more likely they’ll come here to Florida.”
Thomas was surprised by how much work the small group was able to get done in just four days.
“We took something that didn’t even look like it was going to be a house, and by the time we were done, it definitely looked like a house,” Thomas said.
According to a Theta Tau press release, 100 members will work with Habitat for Humanity this month.
Both Ion and Thomas plan on getting involved with Habitat for Humanity again in the future.
“I absolutely would do it again,” Ion said. “I have strongly encouraged all my Theta Tau brothers to do it next year.”