Pulling together to help Ike victims

March 13, 2009 4:35:24 PM PDT
It's been six months since Hurricane Ike roared ashore. For many people in Galveston and surrounding communities, they still have a long way to go on the road to recovery. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

But some generous college students are hoping to help. They're spending their Spring Break on Galveston Island, rebuilding homes so victims can rebuild their lives.

Student Chris Martensen said, "I just wanted to do something different for Spring Break."

Martensen and 22 of his fellow students from Northern Illinois University aren't worried about their tans. They're worried about others and how they're recovering from Hurricane Ike.

"I think there's a big need still," Martensen said. "I think there's a lot of volunteers. Everybody wants to just get down and get dirty and start doing some work."

They're just some of the hundreds of students who are spending their spring breaks on the island- They're from all over the country. We met some Emerson College students from Boston.

Student Lauren Yergeau said, "We're finding that it's really important to make a community strong before people come back."

"There's definitely still a big need," said student Greg Nussen. "It's only six months since it happened."

A lot of these students have helped before through a group called Community Collaborations. But this storm and this damage is different.

"It's a lot of water damage, not the wind damage," explained Candace Linn with Community Collaborations International. "People can drive down the street and think everything's OK. But on the inside people's homes are destroyed."

That's why students like Martensen are so glad they skipped the traditional beach vacation for this one.

"I want to keep coming until the work is done," he said.

The college students are joined by people with a variety of religious groups from around the country giving of their time as well.

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