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It's not the traditional spring break for these UCM students.
By Mike Greife

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Spring break is an opportunity for most college students to spend a week away from the stress of classes by escaping for a week of fun with friends. However, for one group of University of Central Missouri students, that week is a chance to travel to a location where they will donate their time benefiting Habitat for Humanity.

They call themselves the Breakers, and their numbers vary anywhere from 20 to 40 students each spring. Throughout the school year they earn the money needed to finance their trip to a location in the United States where they will work as assigned on a Habitat for Humanity housing project.

Four UCM students have earned the title of Breaker Veteran. For Amy Phillup, a junior actuarial science major from Union Star, Mo.; Paige Becker, a junior construction management major from Freeburg, Mo.; and Manny Abarca, a graduate student in occupational safety and health management from Kansas City, Mo., it's the third consecutive year with Breakers. Aimee Hamerle, a senior international studies major from Kansas City, Mo., will spend her fourth spring break with the group.

Breakers Four of the Breakers veterans, below, from left to right:
Aimee Hamerle, Paige Becker, Amy Phillup and Manny Abarca

Preparations continue throughout the school year. Fundraisers, including the now-traditional Breakers spaghetti dinner and annual Breakers garage sale, raise approximately $9,000 per year. Each student must pay a $40 fee to participate. But for these four Breakers veterans, it's something they anticipate throughout the year.

"I wouldn't say we are giving up our spring break," Phillup said. "We're taking advantage of an opportunity to spend a week doing something for someone else."

The UCM Breakers join volunteers from across the country as the work under the planning and supervision of the national Habitat for Humanity organization. During a recent trip to Fort Smith, Ark., they worked with a group of caravaners---people who travel the country in recreational vehicles volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

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