Paying it forward with Buck-I-SERV
On Monday, March 14, a sleep-deficient Anne Minnick joined 29 other Buckeyes to do something that was far outside of her comfort zone: build a house, after hours of traveling.
“I honestly didn’t know how much I liked painting until this March,” said Minnick (pictured above, far left, first row), an energetic human resource specialist who works in the College of Education and Human Ecology.
Surprisingly, she wasn’t doing this muscle-building work, in 80 degree heat, for her own home.
This spring break, Minnick spent her time painting, installing flooring, measuring wood and getting her hands dirty for a family she had never met: the Davies of Leesburgh, Florida.
Ohio State’s alternative spring break
Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter, Florida, provides affordable housing for over 200 families – but first those homes must be built.
Minnick and her husband David chose to serve as trip advisors, and builders, for this year’s annual Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter Buck-I-SERV trip.
“There were so many Buck-I-SERV trips to choose from,” said Minnick. “The determining factor for us was being able to work with our hands and immediately see our impact.”
Buck-I-SERV offers Ohio State students, as well as staff and faculty, a substance-free alternative spring break centered on civic engagement. Created in 2002, the program now offers more than 80 weeklong trips each year to more than 15 states and five countries.
As the group’s trip advisor, Minnick was in charge of connecting the students with alumni in Leesburg, managing trip finances and assisting the student trip leaders. Additionally, she was responsible for addressing safety concerns during the trip preparation process and while students were on the work site in Florida.
“All of our students worked hard and served as leaders,” she said. “Examples range from embracing the work without complaint to being inclusive when others didn’t have anyone to hang out with. It was great to see.”
Seeing her impact in person
The week was tough, but Minnick will never forget it.
On the final day of the spring break trip, Minnick met the family that would be moving into the home she had worked so hard to build.
Minnick was inspired to see that the individuals who would be living in the house cared just as much as she did. The Davies family will be working for their new home: They pledged to complete at least 400 hours of sweat equity before moving in.
“We’re very grateful for the people who will be helping to build the house,” said Jennifer Davies (pictured, right).
Minnick thanks Ohio State and the Office of Student Life for connecting her to the unforgettable experience.
“From the Buck-I-SERV leadership to the Habitat for Humanity housing and administration team, our experience was wonderful,” said Minnick.
“I’m already looking forward to taking part next year.”
Savage pays it forward after graduation
After participating in Buck-I-SERV as an undergraduate student, Micaela Savage (pictured above, far right) jumped at the opportunity to serve as a staff member.
"This spring, our group went to Immokalee, Florida, to volunteer at the Guadalupe Center (GC)," said Savage, an EHE human resource associate. "GC is an early childhood education center dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through education."
Savage enjoyed spending the majority of her week with Cristina Segura (pictured above, second from the right). Segura is an alumna of the Guadalupe Center's Tutor Corps program, which is an after-school tutoring program that pairs high school students with mentors from the community. Meeting so many passionate Buckeyes inspired Segura to become a Buckeye herself. In 2011, she earned her bachelor's degree in human development and family science from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University.
Savage's Buck-I-SERV group worked with the GC's early childhood education program. During her week in Florida, she helped educate young children by assisting with art projects, story time and various classroom activities throughout the day.
Savage also had the opportunity to connect with two alumni groups in the Naples area. "I had an absolute blast learning about everyone's different careers and where life had taken them."
To learn more about Buck-I-SERV, please visit https://buckiserv.osu.edu/.