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Students plan victim aid

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Laura Bucio
Staff Writer

Campus Ministry at the University of La Verne is joining the Brethren Disaster Response Network in clean-up efforts to help the areas that were most affected by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Students and staff from ULV will be traveling to Lake Charles, La., over Thanksgiving break in order to help the area, which was struck by hurricanes in late September.

Room and board will be provided by the Disaster Response Network, but students must provide their own airfare ticket.

Many departments on campus, including campus ministry, peace studies and the University relations office, are helping students pay half of their flight tickets.

Some small businesses in La Verne have also helped with donations, including Roberta’s Village Inn who donated baseball caps for all the students.

“It’s really getting exiting,” Campus Minister Debbie Roberts said. “We’ve been getting a lot of support.”

Once at the site, the team is expected to help with clean up work in the area.

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” Roberts said. “It will be grungy cleanup.”

The team will try to help the affected area in any way they can.

“You have to be able to listen to other people,” Roberts said. “One third of it will be listening to other people’s stories.”

Other work includes cutting fallen trees, hauling limbs and other debris and possible minor roof repairs.

“We’re interested in giving whatever support we can give,” said Philip Hawkey, executive vice president at ULV. “It is a part of the expression of the values of ULV.”

Students and staff who have become part of the team are excited about the opportunity to help others.

“It would be nice to help someone else,” said Shanae Diaz, a freshman political science major, “and it would be an amazing experience.”

Many students were interested in the opportunity but space is limited and only a few will be able to attend.

“It would have been great to have a great number of people there,” Roberts said.

Students went through a screening process to determine who qualified for the trip.

“We needed people who were willing to work really hard over Thanksgiving break,” Roberts said.

“You have to go with an attitude of gratitude, humility and willingness to work,” she added.

Campus Ministry joined the Brethren Disaster Response Network after looking into various organizations. No other organization provided the flexibility.

“This is not being paid for by another organization but that’s insignificant compared to the value of being able to reach out and help other people,” Hawkey said.

The group is currently preparing for the trip; they are expected to leave on Nov. 23 and return on Nov. 27.

Laura Bucio can be reached at lbucio@ulv.edu
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