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Elms answers call

As another Spring Break comes to the nation's colleges many students from Elms College in Chicopee will be spending a week in Jamaica, Honduras, and New Orleans. Not for the sand and sea, but to again help rebuild some of the lives affected by storms, and impoverished living conditions.

If has been well over two years since Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita swept through the Gulf Coast area flooding New Orleans, destroying thousands of homes, and taking many lives. Yet living conditions for many of the residents have not greatly improved. This Spring Break trip to New Orleans is the third since the storms, and after all this time the need is still overwhelming. Fourteen students from the Elms College will be working in the Lower Ninth Ward, of New Orleans, rebuilding houses.

Ten students and staff will travel to Jamaica with another eleven travelling to Honduras. These 21 people will make home visits to the disabled in the countryside, work in the schools, and represent a positive force for good.

Funding for each of these service trips was obtained through numerous fundraisers, community support, and the generosity of friends and strangers who believed in the dedication, the hope, and the spirit of these young people.

I am pleased to read about the number of other schools involved in a more positive Spring Break, and I am proud and happy to accompany my group traveling to New Orleans. On behalf of all 35 volunteers from Elms College, I want to thank each person who lent support and funding to enable us to help others.

Jose Tolson