GSW student groups roll up their sleeves make a difference on Spring Break

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

GSW Press Release:

AMERICUS, GA (March 28, 2024) – Two student groups from Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) spent their Spring Break volunteering in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Fourteen members from the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program (PJCLP) travelled to Mayfield, Ky. where they partnered with Go Serv Global and The Fuller Center for Housing to help rebuild homes that were destroyed in a devastating EF3 tornado in 2021.

PJCLP students were determined to provide physical assistance while seeking to comprehend the depth of the tragedy and its impact firsthand. While in Mayfield, they interacted with local residents who shared their heart-wrenching stories. They were able to see the tornado’s destructive path and gain invaluable understanding of the hardships endured by those affected.

The students joined future homeowners and other volunteers to accomplish tasks like installing siding and soffit, laying foundation, setting joists and laying subflooring, and starting wall construction. They also worked on landscaping projects, including two properties that had previously been worked on by PJCLP students during last year’s initiative.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve a community after a tornado took everything from them,” said Ashley Carag. “I’m also thankful for friends who made serving together fun and for the lasting memories we created. This was an amazing experience, connecting with others from different places united by a common purpose. Our trip was a blend of faith, laughter, hard work, hammered (finger)nails, freezing weather, and most importantly, making a positive impact alongside friends. Who knew serving could be this fun!”

Through their actions, these students have demonstrated the spirit of compassionate leadership and community service, reflecting the values of the program’s namesake, former President Jimmy Carter, and the late former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

PJCLP members were Abby Williamson, Allie Dalton, Amir Middleton, Ansley Little, Ashley Carag, Boone Prince, Cassidy Ware, Chloe Ard, Eli Prince, Katelyn Cade, Lilly Peppers, Makayla Chavous, Mo Wilson, and Trinity Johnson. They were accompanied by PJCLP Program Coordinator Mikela Barlow and GSW Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Miguel Galindo.

Seven students in GSW’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) travelled to New Orleans, La., where they partnered with the NOLA Baptist Church, who has been meeting in a warehouse. In 2023, they acquired a 140-year-old building several blocks away in need of major renovations. BCM worked hard to clean up debris from previous demolition work, ultimately filling two 30-yard roll-off dumpsters, and continue demolition. This work allowed NOLA Baptist to move forward in the renovation and better serve their congregation and community. The plan is to have the new building open in late 2025.

“The mission trip was an eye-opening experience and a huge encouragement,” said Trent Mays, BCM president. “Even three states away, the Gospel is still being shared and in the face of adversity, the congregations of NOLA Baptist still hold to the Faith.”

BCM students were Trent Mays, Kolden Kenny, Eliza Hill, Christy Johnson, Heidi Anderson, Ronald Romero, and Jackson Carlstrom. They were accompanied by Campus Minister Adam Shutters.