April 17, 2009

By Matt Swiss - staff writer

In just a 19 year span, the South County Habitat for Humanity has joined hands with members of the community to build or renovate a total of 42 homes. On March 7, members from the Rhode Island volleyball team got their hands dirty and helped put yet another family into a newly renovated home.

FaithBuild II, the house that the Rhode Island volleyball team will forever be linked with, is located on South County Trail in Charlestown. Head coach Bob Schneck encouraged his three seniors, Peggy Doino, Jillian Bekke and Chinny Okpara, to join him in this rewarding community service project.

"The girls were a little apprehensive at first because its construction and hard work," Schneck said. "But at the end of the day, it was really a neat experience for all of us. I think it's a way in which the University can give back."

In addition to the hands-on work done by the members of the community, there was also a FaithBuild II breakfast, bake sale and silent auction held at Christ United Methodist Church in Kingston. The event raised a total of 2,300 dollars.

"It's something that the volleyball team is going to benefit from," Schneck said. "The girls that did it, the seniors, don't work out with us in the spring, so they're a little more free. It's something that I'm going to try and have as a tradition."

Schneck is no stranger when it comes to doing community service projects with South County. He said when the idea of helping renovate FaithBuild II came up, he thought it was a great opportunity for him and his seniors to do something together in a different environment than the group was used to.

"I had helped do this same thing with South County habitat for humanity with my church so I had an understanding of what it was all about," Schneck said. "It was just getting up on the web, getting all the forms and getting the girls to fill out all the necessary paperwork."

Doino, Bekke, Okpara and Schneck were in charge of one job in particular, but the group sacrificed much more of its time to help as much as it could.

"We got over there around 8:15 in the morning," Schneck said. "We cleaned up in the basement and then we went outside and cleaned around the outside. There was a gentleman that donated the floor who put on a demonstration showing how to put down a hardwood floor. We put in a floor in the bedroom on the west side of the building and that was our task for the day."

During the volunteers' lunch break, Schneck spoke to the man whose family would be rewarded the newly renovated house and mentioned how it was nice to get to know the man, who would benefit from his hard work. The man, who was married with two children and one on the way, expressed great appreciation.

"By about 3:00 in the afternoon, we had completed our task and we went on our way," he said. "There were a lot of sore knees and that kind of stuff, but in the end it was all worth it."