On February 23, 2013, the Red Lion Area School District made history: they become the first school district in York County to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity house
Almost two school years have passed since then, and the house is almost completed. According to Grant Gouker, an assistant principal at the Red Lion Area Senior High School and the volunteer coordinator for the project, at least 200 volunteers have worked at the site, which is at 101 Schoolhouse Lane. The students were also a major force with raising the money to fund the project.
In late March, a dedication ceremony will be held and the sponsored family, the Moffitts, will receive keys to their new house.
Over the past two years, Red Lion students have been given the chance to volunteer at the work site during the school day.
“It is like a classroom outside of a classroom,” Gouker said. “The students learned things they might not have learned before.”
According to Gouker, this project is an opportunity for teenagers to battle negative stereotypes.
“Today’s world has a negative attachment with teenagers. This is something that battles that reputation,” he said. “These are teenagers helping their community. They are taking an eyesore and creating something that will be there forever.”
Along with helping the community, the volunteers are also gaining something from the experience, sometimes without them even knowing it.
“They [the students] were working with staff members and teachers. They are working outside of the classroom and building relationships,” he said. “This is a chance for teamwork and to build a more cohesive team.
Gouker said students will always remember their work on this project. “When they drive by the house in several years, they will remember that they helped build it.”
Tristan Schluderberg, a senior at Red Lion Area Senior High School, was happy to be part of the project, even before she started volunteering. According the Schluderberg, she heard about the project everywhere she went in school, and decided to join the cause.
“I like helping the community, and this is such a good purpose.” Schluderberg said. “I have the pleasure of knowing that I helped and made a difference.”
Even though the construction on the house will be completed this March, Gouker wants students to continue being involved in the community.
“They [the students] are now official volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. There are always ongoing projects that they join,” Gouker said. “There are one hundred things out there to volunteer for.”