College Students Build Homes in Jackson County

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JACKSON COUNTY-- More than 40 students from three colleges far from Florida are helping build two homes for Jackson County families in need.

Spring break is a time when most college students get away to relax, see family and friends, and just forget about their studies for a week.

But for 46 students, they're still hard at work, sweating it out in Jackson County.

"I've just been nailing a lot of boards to help set the frame of the house and just any help that they need really," Rivier University Junior Sadie Bradshaw said.

"We're putting up the plywood today on the outside walls, so it's pretty fun," explained Morgan Baldner, a Blackburn College junior.

Starting on Sunday, students from Blackburn College in Illinois, Simpson College in Iowa, and Rivier University in New Hampshire began building two new homes with Habitat for Humanity.

"I know what it's like to need help from people," said Kyree Hereid, a Sophomore at Simpson College. "When you reach out to people, it's just a really good feel and you know that you helped somebody. You can drive by one day and say 'I put the nails into that house.'"

One home in Marianna will go to a single mother and her daughter.

A second in Alford will go to a married couple with three children.

"I think it's an amazing thing just that they get to have a home where they can feel safe and live their lives," said Rivier University Professor Dan Dion.

Students are staying with local families and work from eight in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon.

They admit the task can be challenging.

"You do get really tired pretty quickly, but then at the end of the day you have to realize that you have to put in as much effort as because people are going to be living in this home and it's people in need,' explained Simpson College Senior Maria Gonzales.

When the students head back to college next week, volunteers will complete the job.

The homes should be ready in June.

It's not all work and no play for the students. They will get time to explore the Panhandle.

Officials will take them to the Florida Caverns State Park to a bonfire and to the beach during their stay.

Six international students from Mexico, Tahiti, Congo, Kenya and Ghana are also helping to build the homes.