for college students by college students
OCTOBER 1, 1978 - MARCH 28, 2014
Jewish Disaster Reponse Corps trip helps in Oklahoma.
Lexie Sittsamer } jewish@edu staff writer
You will be deeply missed.
hen spring break comes around,
many students look forward to
getting away to warmth. On my
spring break, I spent the majority of my time
up on a roof, learning how to use a nail gun
and a staple hammer.
Thirty students from Western Michigan,
Grand Valley State, Michigan State and
Temple University in Philadelphia joined the
Jewish Disaster Response Corps (JDRC) for a
weeklong alternative spring break (ASB) trip
The JDRC is an organization that engages
young adults in physical, tangible service work
through long-term disaster recovery while
they explore their own Jewish identities. By
bringing college groups together from across
the nation to isolated or atypical Jewish com-
munities, the JDRC is forming connections
between and within communities.
This year, the JDRC is based in Oklahoma
and assisting in the rebuilding of the resilient
communities devastated by the deadly spring
tornadoes in 2013.
With the help of 150 dedicated college
students from 12 universities, the JDRC helped
families restore their homes and return to a
sense of normalcy.
Last May and early June, a series of torna-
does and violent storms caused damage to
many cities in Oklahoma. More than 900,000
cubic yards of debris were left by the storms,
and more than 50 people were killed.
"Attending an alternative spring break was
a great way to end my college career, giving
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back to others was a worthwhile experience,"
said MSU senior Ari Walter of Huntington
Woods. "I participated in an ASB trip every
year of college. These trips make me feel
good about myself. I could've chosen to go to
Mexico, but I prefer to give back while helping
Dirk Roberts, MSU Hillel director of engage-
ment, views ASB trips as meaningful because
"they allow students the opportunity to see
a culture they don't normally see, and they
allow students to help that culture in ways
that are beneficial to both the community
being served and also the students that are
"The impact we made on the homeowners
we worked with in Oklahoma was evident
through their daily emphasis of gratitude,"
During our week in Oklahoma, we worked
to rebuild roofs on two houses. One of my
favorite moments was on the last day as we
were getting ready to leave the homeowner's
house. She gave us the most inspiring speech:
"My heart has been open, and you are good
people. You brought together so much happi-
ness," she said.
We all had tears in our eyes. She has
impacted us more than she will ever know. @
To learn more or donate, go to wwwjdrcorps.
org. Lexie Sittsamer of Farmington Hills is a
sophomore at Western Michigan University
Thirty Jewish students, mostly from Michigan
colleges, spent spring break helping restore storm-
Call Alicia R. Nelson for an appointment
April 10 • 2013