URI student volunteers seek votes for TRUE HERO competition to help others, encourage participation

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Kingston, R.I. – June 10, 2014 – She started out as a URI Habitat for Humanity general member her freshman year, attending events and building homes on Old North Road whenever the opportunity was available. Now a senior, URI student Kristin Pollard has a few homes under her belt, including those built on her Alternative Spring Break trips to Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tenn., and her study abroad program in South Africa. She’s even been named the chapter’s first-ever community partnership liaison for the upcoming school year.

Throughout her University career, Pollard has seen firsthand the benefits of service work, and feels it’s something all students should experience. To encourage student participation, URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. have entered the TRUE HERO competition in hopes of receiving a grant to fund scholarships and future projects.

In this Q&A, we asked Pollard to tell us more about the TRUE HERO competition and how people can vote, as well as the ways the award could benefit URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. volunteers.

What is the TRUE HERO competition?

TRUE HERO is a non-profit organization that grants cash awards to high school, college and qualified non-profit community youth organizations that sponsor service trips and volunteer activities for students. The awards enable more schools to continue service-learning programs and offer life-changing experiences.

How do people vote for URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. in the TRUE HERO competition?

By visiting the TRUE HERO website, people can view and read all of the active projects, and click the “vote” button located on the project’s page. A person’s vote is linked to his or her email address, so you are able to vote for a project only once per email address. People can access and vote for URI’s projects here. Voting period ends June 30, 2014.

What are some of the activities and projects that URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. sponsor?

URI S.A.V.E.S. (Students Actively Volunteering and Engaging in Service) is an organization that meets weekly that has given students opportunities to tutor children in nearby schools, participate in the annual URI Relay for Life event and attend Alternative Spring Break trips.

URI Habitat for Humanity is also a student organization that meets weekly. With the help of South County Habitat for Humanity, we host the Pound the Pavement, Pound a Nail 5K/Walk. This is our biggest community event (and also the most fun!) that brings hundreds of people together while raising funds needed to build Habitat homes in Rhode Island.

In the past, URI has also hosted Zumbathons and has participated in South County’s annual gingerbread-making contest to raise funds for the Building Homes campaign. And our chapter always has a presence at URI’s annual student volunteer fairs, Welcome Days and Freshmen First Night events to promote our organization.

If URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. won the project grants, how would they be used?

The top five college projects that receive the most votes will win grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. We are aiming for the $2,000 TRUE HERO grant, as we believe it could benefit URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S.’ future Alternative Spring Break trips. Part of the $2,000 award would go toward scholarships that will help future Alternative Spring Breakers with the cost of airfare and other expenses. The grant would also allow us to purchase Alternative Spring Break T-shirts that we could sell to fund future service trips.

As an Alternative Spring Break participant, I have experienced what it feels like to make a difference in the world, all while developing lasting friendships, a higher level of cultural awareness and extraordinary leadership skills. I believe that the URI community could benefit from having more students attend these trips.

How can others get involved with URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S.?

URI Habitat for Humanity hosts weekly meetings, where we discuss upcoming awareness and philanthropic events and opportunities to build homes. For the fall 2014 semester, our meetings will be held Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union, room 360.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved with URI Habitat for Humanity can also contact the South County Habitat for Humanity branch directly at (401) 213-6711 or schabitat@southcountyhabitat.org.

URI Habitat for Humanity and URI S.A.V.E.S. start promoting their spring Alternative Spring Break trips in the middle of the fall semester every year – all students are welcome to apply!