College students support Habitat project on South Whidbey

Thirty students from the University of Portland and Pacific Lutheran University will volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Island County during their Spring Break. The youth volunteers are participating in Collegiate Challenge, Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative to college breaks.

From March 10 through March 30, volunteers from the two universities will help build a home on South Whidbey in partnership with Habitat’s family partner, Mark Stephens. Habitat already broke ground and with the help of the students will finish Stephens’ new home.

“As this is my first year as volunteer coordinator, I was humbled to learn that these students not only choose to spend their spring break volunteering with our affiliate but also raise funds to contribute to the construction of these homes,” said Damion Lopez, Habitat of Island County volunteer and construction coordinator. “I am looking forward to meeting these impressive young individuals.”

This year marks the second time that Island County Habitat has hosted Collegiate Challenge participants. The support and generosity of local businesses and churches make this effort possible by providing housing and meals to the hard-working students and volunteers.

“Habitat for Humanity of Island County has been working for three years to find a family and get the necessary permits to build another house on South Whidbey,” said Calvin Hewitt, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Island County.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to fast track the actual construction and reward the patience of our family partner with these Collegiate Challenge volunteers. We anticipate completing the exterior of the house by the time the second group leaves.”

From February to April, colleges across the country support Habitat for Humanity through the Collegiate Challenge Program. Over the past year, more than 110,000 youth volunteers have been mobilized through Habitat for Humanity International.

Habitat for Humanity of Island County has been building low-cost, quality affordable housing in partnership with low-income families since 1998. The program provides financial training, home ownership classes, and opportunities to complete required sweat equity hours. Habitat for Humanity is the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. For more information, visit

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