WACO, Texas – Baylor students have no classes for Fall Break this Friday. 71 of these students are using their break to serve in Houma and Laplace, Louisiana.
Houma and Laplace are two places greatly affected by Hurricane Ida.
Assistant Dean for Spiritual Life Rebecca Kennedy says they were already trying to think of ways to help after the hurricane hit – but after a student from Laplace came in to her office, she was even more motivated and inspired.
“I left the meeting in tears for Brandon and his family,” Kennedy said. “He was able to get in touch with his family. So when you have that personal touch to it, it really does inspire and motivate you to want to help.”
Brandon Dillon is from Laplace, and asked Kennedy if the university was going to do anything to help.
“I was petrified,” Dillon said. “Everything that was going through my mind was the worst. ‘Oh, my gosh. Did they get displaced? Is the house gone? Are they okay? Did something happen? Why don’t they call me back?'”
Brandon Dillon went back home to Laplace and said it was devastating seeing his community in this condition. He said when Kennedy told him they were going to his hometown to help, he was overwhelmed.
“I just was overwhelmed to know that they cared about me and everybody else from the Louisiana community,” Dillon said. “But not only that, they cared and they were ready and willing to put what Baylor’s mission is, that faith, in to action.”
Knowing he has the Baylor family behind him is what kept him going while he was unable to get a hold of his family.
“Knowing that so many people cared about myself, my community and my family was just so touching,” Dillon said. “And sometimes that is exactly what we need to know – that there’s so many different people right there rooting for us and supporting us.”
Kennedy says it is no surprise that so many students are willing to donate their time, but it is still heartwarming – and it’s a part of the university’s mission.
“They’re willing to give up their fall break, which is short,” Kennedy said. “But still, they could be going and doing something fun, and they’re going to do something fun for someone else.”
They are partnering up with local organizations in Laplace and Houma mostly to clean up. Students had to apply, and the trip is free for them.
Kennedy says disaster relief is a long process, so there will be many opportunities to do things like this over the next few years.