Author Archives: Firas Nasr

Habitat for Humanity Goes to Asheville, North Carolina to Build During Spring Break

Eleven Middlebury College students spent their spring break building for the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. This is the fifth trip that the Middlebury chapter of Habitat for Humanity has taken to Asheville where they build for the entirety of spring break.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicated to building affordable housing for low income families. With volunteer help, a variety of grants, and local purchases made at the very popular ReStore, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is able to provide no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans to its beneficiary families.  

For the duration of the trip, students had an early rise and were on the worksite by 8:15 am. There, they participated in a variety of work, from digging the foundation of a house, to spackling, to putting up walls, to securing roofing. After approximately seven hours of work, students enjoyed cooking their own dinner with accommodations provided by a local Middlebury family, and exploring the quirky city of Asheville.

Trip leaders Mia Benjamin ’13 and Lindsey Hunt ‘14 found the trip to be a great success. They are currently planning to continue building with the Middlebury Area Habitat for Humanity this spring as more opportunities arise to contribute to the community we have here in Vermont. If you are interested in getting involved, please feel free to email MiddHabitat at

Reflections on the MLK Day of Service

 Successful Day of Volunteering in Commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.


January 23, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” On Saturday, over 60 Middlebury College students embodied King’s quote as they participated in over 200 hours of community service. The Day of Service was planned in conjunction with Middlebury’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and under the guidance of Ashley Calkins, Community Engagement Coordinator at Civic Engagement in the Center for Education in Action.

Throughout the day, students participated in a plethora of service opportunities on campus and around the community. Volunteers were involved at HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects), Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, VSO Project Independence, VSO Mothers Without Borders, the John Graham Shelter, and at the Ilsley Library with DREAM. Service activities will continue next weekend with Xiao Pengyou.

Sporting the “Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off.” shirts, volunteering ranged from apple-peeling, coring and bagging at the HOPE worksite, to providing talented musical entertainment at Helen Porter. Students immersed themselves in activities with elderly residents such as playing pool, board games, and read-ins, invigorated their creative minds with the crafting of Brady blankets for local hospitals, and led craft activities for children at the local library.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service provided students with the opportunity to step off campus, whether literally or figuratively, and step into a place where community involves a diversity of life experiences. From aiding the elderly to educating the young, from providing food to providing warmth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service provided as a successful time to do something for others in the greater community.