Goshen College volunteers will contribute time from their spring break to build two homes in Elkhart for Habitat for Humanity.

One project is in conjunction with the Elkhart Beardsley Bulldog Crossing Project. One other will be constructed by Goshen College students, though it is purely funded by Habitat for Humanity.

Aradhana Roberts, a junior Student Senate member, is coordinating volunteers for the project. She heard about Habitat for Humanity while attending high school in India, her home country. She remembers wanting to volunteer but never having the time. When Student Senate brought up the opportunity to assist the program, Roberts voiced her desire to participate.

“When this came up in Student Senate, it gave me a great opportunity to get involved,” Roberts said. “Even if you’re not necessarily excellent at all of these skills, you’ll learn to come together and learn. It is so exciting to me."

So far, Roberts has recruited 30 student helpers for the initial wall building process, and is continuing to invite more to participate.

Friday marked the first day of building, when students successfully assembled all of the walls for the first houses. The walls for this particular house will form the base for the home of a family of three—a grandmother, mother and young son. The mother and son have been taking care of the grandmother with only one steady income. The second house will be built for a family of four—a mother with three young children.

For families interested, Habitat for Humanity first requires an application to be filled out and approved by a board. After families are approved, they must complete a certain number of hours of work ("sweat equity" hours) on the house and take courses to inform them more about home ownership.

“This training program provides families with a sound foundation of knowledge designed to boost homeownership success,” states Habitat for Humanity’s website.

Jordan Kauffman, the Elkhart division of Habitat for Humanity’s community outreach director and a 2011 GC graduate, has visited campus to educate potential volunteers about the program.

“Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills like construction, meet people from the community and have a good time,” said Kauffman.

In the past 26 years, Habitat for Humanity has built 167 houses in Elkhart County. By the end of 2013, this number is intended to grow to 176. Each project takes approximately two to three months to complete.

The upcoming building project begins Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and continues from Tuesday to the following Saturday in the same daily time slot. All are welcome to participate in the build. A ride will be provided for those who arrive at the Physical Plant by 8 a.m. each day.