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Spring break of giving

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 01:37:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 05 2013 04:12:45 PM CST

On a gloomy day with impending winter storm approaching, it's got us all wanting to be somewhere nice and warm, maybe the beach.

HONAKER, Va. -

On a gloomy day with impending winter storm approaching, it's got us all wanting to be somewhere nice and warm, maybe the beach.

Many college students do just that this time of year for spring break, but many others are giving a week of service instead. The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project has them scattered all across the Southern Appalachians.

We ran across a group from Saint Joseph's University out of Philadelphia in Honaker.

Some hard-working students from Saint Joseph's enjoy a hardy lunch at the First Baptist Church in Honaker. Some have been here before enjoying their spring break by giving their services to others. "No one tells you that have to, it's not mandatory but you kind of feel like its you job to help out there because everyone else is doing it. You might as well do something not for myself but for other people," freshman Samantha Walshak said.

"It's about 400 to 450 kids that come down to the Appalachian region so that's really saying something. I think its a lot of kids, what they believe in and their service, their upbringing, their schools," sophomore Joe Conner added.

For some of them it's not their first trip to Honaker; they chose to come back and help out. "They know us by name and face so it was cool to feel that welcome thing, like we have a place to go away from home where you're excepted and its a family away from home," senior Therese Dallegro said.

"I love the people. They're so friendly and nice, and you can call them by their first name and get to know them so well," says sophomore Madeleine Keogh.

Not only are the students making friends with the locals, but each other by spending so much time together. "When you build a friendship with someone that is based on your desire to do good for other people, that's really strong and that's something that you'll never forget," senior Tyler Wands says.

"There's like that essence that everyone wants to be able to help someone whether or not they can find a way to do it. Maybe that's the hard part," graduate student William Puetz said.

But finding a way to give seems to come easy for these Saint Joseph's students.