Alternative Spring Break: Mason Student Continues His Tradition of Helping Others

Posted: April 18, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

Jacob Weitz
Jacob Weitz

Junior Jacob Weitz began volunteering on community projects with his family when he was a child, and he did not stop volunteering once he entered college.

Last year, Weitz, a physical education major who is a member of the men’s soccer team, raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims. This year, during the seven days of spring break in March, he helped build houses for victims of the 2004 Hurricane Ivan and 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

Weitz volunteered with Storm Corps,a partnership between United Way and MTV. More than 3,000 individuals applied for a position on the Storm Corps team, and Weitz was one of the 100 applicants accepted.

“I had to write a couple of essays about projects I’ve done in the past,” says Weitz. Some of those “projects” included helping in food kitchens when he was growing up. “When I was younger, my Mom would always take us to shelters.”

Storm Corps volunteers spent a week assisting storm victims in Biloxi, Miss., and Foley, Ala.

When Weitz’s group arrived in Alabama, the first individual he helped was a man whose house was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan. “He had a bad back, but was helping out. He had a bucket and his hand grabber.”

Weitz says he avoided talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan with the man he was assisting. “The people were more interested in rebuilding than talking about how hard their lives are.”

The majority of Weitz’s time was spent helping rebuild a house for a victim of Hurricane Katrina. “We built the frame of the house. We put a whole new roof on the house…painted the outside, put in windows, doors and a deck on the back,” he says. “Throughout the week we built it up from scratch.”

The Storm Corps team spent the week working with plumbers, electricians and other specialized tradesmen, sleeping in tents and church camps, eating on the go and putting in 10-hour days or more.

Weitz still thinks about the victims he helped as well as the other volunteers he met. “I learned something different every day from every person…it was very humbling.”

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