Students Go ‘Extreme’ in Unique Service Opportunity

WKU Students at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

WKU Students at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

By Kayla Tyson, ALIVE Center Student Worker

At 5:00am on a brisk Wednesday morning, sixteen Western Kentucky University students along with two WKU Student Activities staff members yawned and stretched, reconsidering their decision to get up so early. One group piled up in a fifteen-passenger van and another in a separate vehicle to drive down to flood-ridden Antioch, TN, to work with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in rebuilding Lighthouse Preschool, a school with irreparable damage from the record-breaking floods of May 2010.

The group of students arrived at the Nashville build site bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 6:30am ready to work. They were split up into two groups, and the first group was immediately asked to help distribute breakfast for the volunteers who had been working all night. Through doling out sausage, pancakes, and bagels, the students learned the stories of volunteer workers and school officials.

Meanwhile, the second group volunteered at ThriftSmart, a retail business whose proceeds directly fund programs in Africa and Belize, as well as a Christian academy in Franklin, TN. While there, students sorted clothing to be later bought by Nashville consumers willing to make a difference.

After breakfast, the Extreme Makeover crew cleaned up the dining area, broke down boxes, and moved on to the home site. Some painted, others assisted carpenters, and a select few were chosen to be on camera during a demolition scene. “We were so excited,” explains WKU senior Hilary James. “We felt like superstars even though we were just on camera for a few minutes.” She explained that they were asked to watch the demolition of a nearby building and cheer. “We got to meet Paulie D and he thanked us for all our help. It felt good giving back.”

After lunch, the two groups swapped. The afternoon group got more face time with the camera, doing three different scenes for the show. WKU senior Kelsi Pilcher explains, “They had us take a nap, eat milk and cookies, and play on the playground. I’m not sure what all the scenes were for, but it was really fun filming, and I got free cookies!” After the fun and games, the group got to work, helping serve lunch and painting rooms in the daycare.

When the two groups came together after a hard day’s work to head back to Bowling Green, they shared their experiences and determined that the day was a success. WKU’s Leadership and Volunteerism coordinator, Hunter Williams explained: “I think the day was very successful in that our students had the opportunity to work with a program that they may not have gotten the opportunity to work with otherwise. The students really enjoyed what they got to do and being a part of such a wonderful cause made it all worthwhile.”

The big reveal of Lighthouse Preschool took place on Friday, September 17th, two days after the WKU students and staff members volunteered.



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