My name is Allison Sprafke and I’m a junior Nursing major. I’ve always done service work within my community. As a college student, I wanted to give back as much possible.
That’s why I joined a group of 11 other women to spend Spring Break at a Habitat for Humanity site in Exmore, Virginia.
The morning of the trip we gathered for our last goodbyes, bagels, and pictures.
Some of the students had already been on an Alternative Spring Break trip, but for some like me, this was the first time. We drove eight hours in a van to Virginia, making only a couple of pit stops. We arrived that night at a church near the site where we slept in the Sunday school rooms.
The first day at the worksite we were excited to begin. The concrete base of the house was complete, along with half the floor. Our job was to build the frame. At the site were three men, one port’a potty, a shed full of supplies, and a team of 12 women — this was all we needed!
Overall the project consisted of: sawing, measuring and gluing wood for the floor and siding, and hammering nails into every foot of the house. We used tools we never knew existed. Every hit of the wood with the sledgehammer was another step towards completing our goal.
We worked five long, hot, sweaty days. Each day we fought our individual battles. There were times when I missed almost every nail, and other times when I could forcefully hammer 10 nails in less than two minutes and measure and cut 20 pieces of wood in no time. I learned that my attitude changes everything. Staying positive and knowing I had a whole team behind me encouraged me to keep going. I stepped on to the worksite every morning with a smile on my face and a goal for each day.
Being the crazy women we are, we still had fun. Throughout the week we celebrated birthdays, played games, joined a bonfire, and visited Virginia Beach. Each evening, we gathered for reflections and shared our day’s experiences. We usually went right to bed so we’d be rested for the next day.
I remember talking to Walt, one of the site supervisors one morning, and telling him to give me an individual project. We looked over the floor plan and he pointed to a section of the house. I said, “Bring it!” I was determined to finish my own project. I delegated some tasks to my team and we ended up finishing the headers for all the windows.
These small projects are only part of what we accomplished as a team. Putting up the first and last walls of the framing was one of the best feelings of the week. It’s amazing how well we all worked together. As the week went on we saw the house come together.
On the last day we stayed on the worksite a little longer than usual. We celebrated our accomplishments with a fashion show walk down the soon-to-be hallway of this new home. I will never forget the moment when Walt hugged me and said, “Thank you for all the hard work you have done this week. You really made a change.”