Since 2002, students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and members of the Trinity Western University community have contributed more than $20,000 and assisted with the construction of numerous homes with Habitat for Humanity in Oahu, Hawaii.
"The most rewarding experience is seeing how hard our students work," said Allan Kotanen, director of Student Life and Habitat trip advisor.
He went on his first trip in 2002.
"People even ask me if we hand pick the students who come on the trips," he said.
The trips are open to anyone who wants to participate, and every trip is different.
This year, the group of 22 volunteers started at the Naone/Bailey residence in Papakolea where they painted, installed railings, and transferred tools and materials to Habitat's ReStore.
Additionally, they dedicated two days of work at the Habitat ReStore to organize and sort donations, build shelves and racks, construct a mezzanine railing, price items, break down scaffolding, install sinks, and create space to safely transfer and house more donations.
Because of their hard work, the ReStore is now ready for the next stage of painting and plumbing, and the Naone/Bailey home is ready for move in.
Many of the student volunteers give up their reading break to work with Habitat for Humanity. While the destination is a tropical paradise, students are exposed to tent cities and areas of the island one doesn't tend to see in tourist advertisements. Students see a side of life they don't usually encounter back home, he noted.
Those who have been on previous trips find the experience so rewarding that they sponsor new students who can't afford to go.
"They see the value and want to give that opportunity to others," said Kotanen.
On the bi-annual trips, TWU volunteers share an earnest amount of time, energy, talent, and skill.