MOUNT DORA — Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s preservation and repair program is underway.
A group of cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy are hitting the streets of Mount Dora, Umatilla and Clermont to revitalize neighborhoods.
“These ‘block parties,’ as we call them, help assist owners who are disabled or who maybe can’t afford repairs,” academy professor Ed Valla said. “We help with landscaping, pressure washing, light repairs and painting the exterior of the home. It’s an effort to help Habitat for Humanity and build a better community.”
A group of about 30 freshmen cadets are taking part in this two-week project. They are studying emergency management services and have had the opportunity to visit with our local police and fire departments for additional training.
The initiative is in its sixth year. In that time, more than 200 cadets have come through the program in Lake County alone.
“It feels good to get out and serve other who need it,” freshmen cadet CJ Manning said. “We learn about giving back to the community and all aspects of being a cadet. We are fortunate to have everything we do and want to help others with it.”
One homeowner in Mount Dora was so thankful for the yard work the cadets provided, that she bought them all pizzas for lunch.
“Homeowners have had a very positive response,” Valla said. “Over in Clermont, they painted 14 houses in two days.”
A few senior cadets return to the program as mentors, but all faculty and cadets work together on the projects.