Student volunteers visit to restore the coast

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Robin Evans and her classmates from Wartburg College in Iowa are excited to take in every aspect of our coastal culture, but they also plan on getting their hands a little dirty.

"We're here to do week long service in Biloxi. That is going to range from working in a soup kitchen to disaster relief. The results of Hurricane Isaac or the tornado that recently hit Hattiesburg," Evans said.

The group of 10 students range from Sophomore to Senior status. They are here as a part of a planned service trip through Community Collaboration International, an organization that sends the volunteers to an area of the country that's in need of a hand.

"How it works at Wartburg is that if you want to go on a service trip, you rank all the options that you have and they tried to get you in your top rankings. As leaders, we got to choose the location and the mission that we worked with. We wanted to focus on disaster relief and it seemed like an appropriate area for that issue," Evans said.

They are only at the beginning of the trip, but they've already gotten started. The group spent the day cleaning up litter along the beach and plan to visit local Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as other service organizations. Some of the volunteers say they were surprised to see that the area is still not fully recovered from past disasters.

"We're still pretty isolated from the ocean, so it's shocking to see that there's still so much left. We're excited to help contribute and try to restore Biloxi, Mississippi," volunteer Jessica Butler said.

While here, they'll be working throughout the day, and camping out at Camp Wilkes at night. But no worries, though they will be hard at work, they plan to squeeze in a little fun time as well. What won't change, however, is that their focus is to serve.

"I guess it's just in my blood. I'm a social work major and I like helping people. I don't do things expecting something in return. It's rewarding enough to help others. I think the other participants feel the same way."

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