Spring break is often filled with beaches, suntans and relaxation, but that is not the case for a group of students from Pennsylvania who are doing hard work in Ashland this week.
The students, from Grove City College, are involved in the Inner City Outreach program, which sends groups of students throughout the country to help those in need.
A handful of the students were found with paint brushes in hand at Shelter of Hope, a nonprofit emergency shelter on Winchester Avenue, on Monday, preparing an apartment for a family in need.
“I love doing this,” said Hannah Gould, 21, a junior at the college who is spending her third consecutive spring break in Ashland. “We’re cleaning and painting the apartment today, and this week we’ll decorate it.”
She said the students will offer their services to several organizations while they’re in town, including The Dressing Room, Community Kitchen, River Cities Harvest and others.
“The people we interact with, I love the work they do in the community. They’re so appreciative, and (our help) means a lot to them,” Gould said.
“I enjoy it. It’s fun to come out and be a service,” said senior Tim Claybaugh, 21. “It’s a better use of my time.”
Senior Paul Miles, 22, originally from Colorado, said not only is it cheaper for him to spend spring break doing outreach work than to travel all the way home, but it is also a welcoming and relaxing environment.
“It’s encouraging to be a part of. ... The most painful thing I’ve done today is painting baseboards. I expect to have sore knees tomorrow,” Miles said.
Debbie Sivis, executive director of the shelter, said students from Grove City have been spending their spring breaks in Ashland since before she started working there six years ago.
“They work with several agencies that provide services to the poor and disenfranchised,” Sivis said. “They’ll do whatever we ask them to. We’re always glad when they come.”
Students from the college have been coming to Ashland through the outreach program for more than 20 years, Gould said.
SHANNON MILLER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2657.