Students build friendships while repairing Biloxi home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Students build friendships while repairing Biloxi home

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

College students who arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as strangers said time spent rebuilding houses has allowed them to also build new friendships. There are about 20,000  students at Central Michigan University. A dozen of them are in Biloxi this week volunteering through the school's alternative break program.

The Central Michigan University students said getting a break from their studies is nice. But what's better is using their down time to help someone in need.

"I'm always looking for opportunities to volunteer," said Cameron Faller. "Throughout the year it gets really hard with school and you're focused on school, trying to get good grades. So I thought, why not go over winter break when there is nothing to worry about? I just get to go out, have some fun with my friends and I get to volunteer."

Volunteers are repairing two Biloxi homes as part of Central Michigan's alternative break program. The students say the program's goal is to instill in young people a love for giving back. There are no faculty advisors on these trips. Instead, students are selected to step up as leaders.

Lindsey Walker is one of the site leaders. "I love people," Walker said. "It's really great to get to know everyone and have a leadership role."

Students who didn't know each other before coming to Biloxi have become fast friends. They said once back in Michigan, they're planning to continue to work together so they can improve their community.

Alyssa Thornton said this was "a great opportunity to volunteer. You get to meet so many great people and you build so many new relationships."

"I have just gained so many new friends over this break and I love it," Walker said. "We're all even talking about what we're going to be doing next semester together. When we get back to school, we're going to be back in the same city, so we're really excited to keep experiencing new things with each other."

The volunteers worked in partnership with the Hope Community Development Agency.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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