Lauren Haviland ’15 will be soaking up the sun this summer, but not from the comfort of a beach blanket. Beginning on May 13, she and a team of about 30 young adults began a bike ride from North Carolina to California, stopping along the way to complete 14 volunteer days building with affordable housing organizations.
The coast-to-coast service trip was organized by Bike & Build, a national nonprofit group committed to raising money and awareness for affordable housing. The journey began in Nags Head, N.C., and it will take the group 10 weeks – traveling about 69 miles a day – to get to San Diego by their target date of July 21. They plan to stop in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Little Rock, Arkansas; Colorado Springs, Col.; Prescott, Arizona; and other communities to build and advocate for families in need.
“It’s unbelievable how many people are unable to afford housing right in our local communities,” said Haviland, a psychology and Spanish major. “Volunteering in soup kitchens, nursing homes, special needs organizations, and at Habitat for Humanity has made me hyper-aware of the need to aid those who are less fortunate.”
Haviland, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, is enrolled in the University’s Health Professions Program, studying occupational therapy. After graduation, she plans to become a pediatric occupational therapist helping children with special needs.
Haviland’s trip is one of eight cross-country rides Bike & Build offers each summer. In total, about 250 18-to-28-year-olds will volunteer this year. For more information on the program and how you can help, visit www.bikeandbuild.org.