http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/268408

Spring Breakers trading their bikinis for work clothes this March

Posted Mar 3, 2009 by Nikki Weingartner
The ideology of spring break may have some thinking about beer bongs, bikini contests and drunken sex in hotel rooms paid for by daddy. However, a new group of spring breakers has emerged this year in an effort to help out Ike victims.
Spring Break Party
Girls party at a bikini contest during Spring Break
Photo by TremendousEd
The month of March is Spring Break for students across America and the movies portraying a week of drunken partying isn't far from reality, as teens and college students make their way to sandy hot spots. This year, however, seems to be slightly different as Galveston's spring breakers plan on engaging in a very different type of party.
After the devastation of Hurricane Ike, Galveston has been slowly rebuilding what use to be. As a town that seems long forgotten, they are struggling during the current economic crisis. Only 35 percent of Galveston's business community has reopened its doors and with over 75 percent of the island's homes having sustained damage from the massive Category 2 Hurricane that pummeled the New Orleans style town on September 11th as the third most destructive storm to ever hit the United States, the struggle continues. Even the famed 12 day revenue maker of Mardi Gras, boasting its 98th year, was pared down in size from the regular crowd of some 250,000 partiers and contributors due to Ike's wrath.
The next big event for the island is Spring Break, which typically brings in revenue for the town but instead of beer bongs and wet t-shirt contests, an expected number between 7,000 and 10,000 students will be helping out on the island.
A local church in Galveston shut down its doors as a "typical" church and is serving as a dormitory for these kids who feel the need to help those who continue to struggle with the basics.
Local news reports explained how classmates from Buffalo, New York made the journey to spend the week on the beach doing something for others:
"It just seemed like the right thing to do to come here, seeing how they were helpless."
The young adults were spending more than 10 hours a day working at tasks such as sandblasting, gutting homes, and most of all giving back. Erin Toberman of Help4Galveston (pdf), a non-profit agency set up to assist families whose lives have been devastated by Ike, has jobs lined up for the volunteers that include painting, landscaping and other general cleanup. In fact, they are looking for projects to meet the demand of workers. Although the area is going through major renovations and has a high construction need, most of these young adults would not qualify for those jobs.
Of course, there are some students who would rather not visit the island as a report written in a local Texas community college paper revealed (click on this link to view the article): [url=http://media.www.tjcnewspaper.com/media/storage/paper1314/news/2009/02/20/News/Ready.Or.Not-3639012.shtml t=_blank]
"I do not want to go to a place that is not safe," Amber Holey, TJC student, said. "I am a little wary about going to a place that was underwater five months ago."
It is said that some of the students will be coming with parents and church groups but that many have simply found it within their own hearts to give up a "free week" and give back to a struggling community any way they can. They are the celebrities, or heroes, to those who struggle to find hope during a faltering economy. They may not have the money to give like pop-star Hilary Duff or the fame that gets money brought in like the stars who helped Katrina victims, but they have amazing talents to share and one giant element driving their efforts: a heart.
Bravo to those who are making this sacrifice from across the nation!
For more information on Galveston and its recovery, visit their recovery website