Twelve volunteers to pursue Katrina cleanup near Gulf

A 12-member group of Tabor College students, staff, alumni and spouses will roll up their sleeves and help with the ongoing effort to restore life and property to storm-affected areas on the Gulf Coast during a disaster relief and service interterm trip to Louisiana Jan. 13-31.

The educational goal of the two-week experience is to expose students to the devastating impact of natural disasters and teach them how to respond with Christian compassion as they work alongside survivors of Hurricane Katrina?which killed 1,836 people and caused $81.2 million in damage in late August 2005?and more recent hurricanes in the region.

?We want to help people with rebuilding their homes, but we also want to be an encouragement to them, to let them know they are not forgotten, and to share God’s love with them,? said Karol Hunt, the group leader and instructor.

Hunt is a professor of physical education and chair of the Division of Education, Social Science and Applied Arts.

From Jan. 18-23, the group will be working on relief projects in New Liberia, La., with Mennonite Disaster Service, an agency of Mennonite churches in the United States and Canada.

From Jan. 27-30, the group will be working in the Upper 9th Ward in New Orleans with Samaritan?s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

Students also will interview survivors in the various stages of rebuilding their lives, local relief workers, law-enforcement officials and health care providers.

Students also will attend culturally diverse church services, and keep a journal of observations, questions and insights during the trip.

?I want the students to get beyond their comfort zones and to learn about giving to others and how to serve those who have been through a devastating event,? Hunt said.

?We want to listen to their stories and to hear what they have been through and how they have survived.?

The group also will enjoy some recreational time on the beach of the Gulf Coast and observe the Bourbon Street and the New Orleans culture.

Joining Hunt and five Tabor students on the trip will be Hillsboro-area residents Darrel and Geneva Just, President Emeritus Larry Nikkel and Don and Betty Fruechting.

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