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Stevenson Univ. Students Swap Holiday Breaks For Natural Disaster Volunteer Work

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- For a team of college students, heading to New Orleans to help those still rebuilding their lives is anything but a typical winter break.

"These are young students 18, 19, 20 years old. Oftentimes, this is, for them, an opportunity to travel. Secondly, an opportunity to learn about giving back, about service and most of the students will say that their experiences are life changing," says Romas Laskauskas of the Stevenson School of Business.

For the past decade, Stevenson students like Lauren Novsak have headed south to help.

"I've gone on three trips and about to go on my fourth. I'm a little addicted to them," says Novsak, a Stevenson University junior.

Over time, the program has expanded with students helping communities in Baltimore, Northern New Jersey and Staten Island.

"We attract students from every discipline, every background. It's by far the most diverse entity that we have here on campus," says Morgan Somerville, Stevenson University director of student engagement. "It's a beautiful thing when our students come together for the sake of others and they form these very fast friendships and become lifelong friends based on hanging drywall together or doing demolition on a house in New Orleans. It has just been incredible."

When they're not on the road helping other, they're working to raise enough money to take the trips.

"The experience you get going to another place that is still in the United States and learning what other communities go through is absolutely life changing," Novsak said.

The student will take their next trip in March when they head down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

More than 600 students have volunteered with "Mission: I'm Home."

Find out more about the project here.

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