Spring break mission trip for Chicago students

March 27, 2010 9:59:34 AM PDT
This weekend is the start of spring break for many Chicago area students. One group of approximately 45 students will use the time working to help others.For many teenagers, spring break away from home means a lot of partying, but not so with some West Side high school students.

The group departed Saturday from Kelly High School at approximately 6 a.m. Saturday headed for Louisiana, where they will spend the next several days helping with the building and rehabilitation of homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In Louisiana, the students will also prepare their own meals and sleep on the floor of a church. They'll be working with the help of established relief agencies in Louisiana.

Teachers and chaperones are accompanying the volunteers, which all attend either Kelly, Social Justice or Julian high schools.

This is not the first time that many of the students have taken trips to the Louisiana area. Some speaking with ABC7 said they had been volunteering for three or four years.

"I think it will be a good opportunity before I go off to college, to help other communities. I like helping out," said Social Justice High School student Andrew Jones.

"This is my third year going, and each year, I learn something new. And each year, I go down there, and I help the people, and I hear new stories. And it encourages me to help, not only New Orleans, but in my community," said Anita Rubio, a student at Kelly High School.

"A lot of attention has been taken away from the people in the city of New Orleans, but a lot of them them still have to rebuild their communities, and lot of them are still struggling for resources," Kelly student Maribel Zagal told ABC7 Chicago.

The trip is not all about hard work. The students will have an opportunity to tour the city of New Orleans and to meet with other students from New Orleans and exchange stories about their experiences.

After spending the week away, the students will return to Chicago Friday afternoon.