(WKBN) — Instead of spending their Easter holiday with family, Ursuline High School students and staff instead spent the week volunteering in Puerto Rico.
Twenty Ursuline High School students and six staff members spent a week in Puerto Rico repairing homes, building bunk beds for future volunteers and cleaning up debris at a man’s home after this hurricane season rocked the territory.
“He had help cleaning up other parts of his yard, but there were still so many parts that needed a lot of cleaning,” said Olivia Puhalla, one of the students on the trip.
Students of Stewardship club adviser Aimee Morrison says they learned about the struggles Puerto Ricans faced in getting help after the disaster while they were there.
“Even though Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., so many people fell through the cracks with FEMA because they didn’t have paperwork,” Morrison said.
Puhalla said she spent most of the trip repairing a woman’s roof and says while she wished she could do more and that every act of kindness helps.
“I feel like any kind of impact is important and helpful and one thing that stood out to me was everyone that was there the people we helped seemed so happy we were there,” Puhalla said.
Students and staff told First News while they’re grateful to be able to go to Puerto Rico and help after the recent hurricanes, they also work in their own community the rest of the year.
“The one project I liked helping with this year was the heart reach ministries, we help gift wrap at Christmastime,” Puhalla said.
Puhalla also spends time volunteering with Sleep in Heavenly Peace and Sight for All United,
and says the skills and empathy she learned volunteering is something she will carry with her after graduation.
“One of the ladies called the kids ‘angels from God’ so I know it meant a lot to them and certainly to me too,” Morrison said.