You are here

The impact of Collegiate Challenge

‘One week can change a life forever’ lives up to the hype of its tagline

By Julia Sellers

After completing more than 600 spring break trips this year, the Collegiate Challenge teams return with renewed interest in not only Habitat, but also service.

Collegiate Challenge volunteer Cailin Haas of Appleton, Wisconsin, helps build a home with Flint River Habitat for Humanity in Albany, Georgia.

As evaluations from more than 9,000 volunteers pour in, the Youth Programs team members say they regularly read responses like, “I’d rather wake up every morning and go to the work site than to class.” Those strong opinions reassure the team and the affiliates that volunteers are still drawn to spending spring break doing 40 hours of work instead of lounging at the beach.

“Our tagline is ‘One week can change a life forever’. When students read that before a trip, they think they’re going to change a family’s life, but they come out of the experience knowing the tagline is about them, too. It just works on so many levels,” said Jenn Skudlarek, U.S. volunteer manager for Collegiate Challenge.

“One of my favorite responses in our evaluation came from a trip to Birmingham,” she said. “It said, ‘I came to Birmingham to help a family, and I left with one.’”

As Collegiate Challenge closes out its 24th year, the statistics of the trips’ collective impact still strike a chord.

This week, the Collegiate Challenge graphic received more than 230 “likes” and 53 “shares” on Facebook.

Julia Sellers is a writer/editor based in Americus.