College students spend spring break helping the homeless

College students spend spring break helping the homeless

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A group of students is not taking their typical college spring break, but they are having just as much fun.

"I knew I could have a nice vacation, but there is so much time for that, and I really would like to give back to my community more," student Danielle Funaro says.  

50 students from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Iowa have traveled across the country to volunteer through different non-profit programs.

"We're all passionate about service, I think that's a big reason why people signed up for this trip, and I think the type of people that sign up for this trip are really great and that's why we connect and become cohesive," student Jessica Qian says.

The 'Paying it Forward' tour teamed up with the People Attempting To Help (PATH) organization in Tyler to help build and renovate homes for the homeless.

"We try to house our neighbors and give them a helping hand for an 18- to 24- month long stay," P.A.T.H. volunteer coordinator Mark Richardson says.

PATH has accumulated 54 homes through donations and grants in order to house homeless families. Richardson says they are hoping with the help of these students, they'll be able to put two families in these two homes within the next two weeks.

From Missouri to Dallas, these college students say the bus travel and nomadic lifestyle is worth the gratitude they experience.

"We got an email after we left saying the woman broke down afterwards because she was so grateful, so that was just really rewarding for everyone to know that we can make that impact," Funaro says.

The tour's last stop will be in San Antonio, and after that they will head back home to St. Louis March 19th.