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Students volunteer over spring break
C.J.Recher and friend in Dominican Republic
Students volunteer over spring break
UTC student Lauren Mims dancing with new
friends in Dominican Republic
Students volunteer over spring break
Bailey Crick, foreground, painting in Mississippi

Students volunteer over spring break

UTC students spent spring break on mission trips which offered help and inspiration to those north, south, and to some who live way south of Chattanooga. The UTC Presbyterian House encouraged the good work on two trips, one with 42 UTC students who visited the Dominican Republic, and a second group of 13 who went to the Bronx. In the Dominican Republic, students were split into groups, helping in a variety of ways. They assisted professionals with medical check-ups and helped a construction team that worked on building living quarters for future mission teams. In the afternoons, they had some fun.

“It was cool to play baseball in the middle of a sugar cane field,” said Jake Smeester, a full time intern at The House. “At one point, I was playing in right field when to my left I saw a herd of goats grazing and to my right a donkey was just hanging out. Then a guy carrying a load of plantains walked across, right in front of me. I thought to myself ‘well you don’t get to play in this situation very often.’ It was cool to be so far away from home but still communicating with one another through baseball. It was our common language, even though they were way better than any of us.”

The baseball games also created a memorable experience for C. J. Recher, first year graduate student in the UTC MBA Program, who hit is first home run ever.

“Hitting the homerun was one of the greatest feelings in my life! Pretty incredible,” said Recher. “Bonding with the kids…it was amazing to learn about their cultural differences and embrace them.”

UTC student Bailey Crick joined members of Grace United Methodist Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, on a trip to Gulfport, Mississippi, where she helped repair three homes in need of repair after Hurricane Katrina.

“We took the roof off the first house, and then laid a new roof. We also painted the whole outside of the house. We painted all of the inside bedrooms as well as added crown molding to the tops of the walls in the second home. In the third house we laid hardwood flooring and put in new kitchen countertops. I painted, and ran errands whenever a site needed more supplies, and delivered lunch to each site every day. The experience was amazing. The families were very grateful to have us and five of us were actually able to go visit a man that we helped this past summer. His house has come along quite well since we put up drywall for him in June,” Crick said.

Why was it important for these students to volunteer over their spring break? “It is 100 times more rewarding to go to paradise and do mission work than to sit on the beach somewhere,” said Recher.

April 9, 2007