Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Central Baptist Church in northwest Roanoke welcomed more than 100 students from other parts of the country who will spend the week fixing up homes, tutoring children and working in the food bank.
DON PETERSEN | Special to The Roanoke Times
Gift bags and a home-cooked meal welcomed college students to Central Baptist Church in northwest Roanoke on Sunday night where they are giving up their spring break to volunteer with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Boston College junior Riccardo Moauro was celebrating his 21st birthday Sunday, which just happened to fall during his spring break.
But he wasn’t off at a bar in a tropical locale sipping drinks. He was at Roanoke’s Central Baptist Church preparing for a week of community service.
Moauro and more than 100 other students descended on Roanoke on Sunday in lieu of a more traditional, beach side spring break. For years, the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project has coordinated spring breakers and community service projects.
The group welcomed this year’s first wave of volunteers Sunday with a dinner at Central Baptist Church. There, Moauro said this isn’t how he pictured turning 21 . He said he has seen friends go through the traditional celebration of going out to bars , but he realized this trip would coincide with his big day and that was fine with him.
“It just feels a lot better to be less selfish and do something altruistic,” he said. “With 21st birthdays, you might get lost in it being all about you.”
The history major said he has done community services projects before and wanted to try something different . He spent all night on a bus and arrived in Roanoke on Sunday morning. He and more than a dozen others will stay the week at the church.
Students from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., are also among the group in town this week. Next week another crew of volunteers will be here.
Volunteers will spend this week fixing homes, cleaning homes, tutoring children, working in the food bank and offering assistance to senior citizens with disabilities, including possibly shoveling snow for them later this week.
Maxine Waller , a volunteer coordinator at Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project , said it means a lot to see students spend spring break helping others.
“You hear so much about kids going to Cancun and all this stuff,” she said. “You can see they do care and they want to make a difference. They want things to be better in this word. They want to make a difference.”
Waller said while students are volunteering, they also learn what she calls the “ Ph.D. s of life,” for example how to make a pie when there’s not enough sugar and how to fix a house when there’s not enough lumber.
Before dinner was served, Waller welcomed students and thanked them.
“Lord it’s good to see y’all. I love the young’uns,” she said.
She added that this week is a partnership between the community and the students. Waller encouraged them to continue service through life.
“Just remember what you’re doing this week,” she said.
Roanoke City Councilman Sherman Lea also attended Sunday’s dinner to welcome the students. He thanked them for coming to Roanoke over all of the other places they could be.
“We’re going to be fortunate and blessed to have you here,” he said.
Weather JournalBreather before next wintry system