Midway Volleyball Player uses Spring Break to Serve Others
(Midway, Ky.) – While many of her classmates spent spring break lounging on the beach, Midway volleyball player Holly Whitworth was running electrical wires and soaking up history in the deep south. While those may not be your typical spring break activities, she wasn’t on your typical spring break trip. Instead, she had opted to participate in Midway’s alternative spring break in New Orleans, La. and Birmingham, Ala. Sponsored by the school’s prayer group and Student Development Center, it was a week of giving back and delving into the Civil Rights Movement.
“I chose to do the trip because as a young girl I was fascinated by New Orleans and the culture, but even more drawn to the damage of Katrina,” Whitworth explains. “I never fully understood what exactly happened with Katrina until we went down there, but I knew that people still needed support and help.”
That desire to offer aid is something that has driven her since before her arrival at Midway. “Thanks to my high school back home, I understand the impact of a helping hand, so I took advantage of the assistance I could give.”
Upon arriving in New Orleans, Whitworth and her fellow students got to work, partnering with Lowernine to help rebuild a home in the city’s lower ninth ward, an area that was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Katrina. Their task? Running electrical wires throughout the house, a time-consuming job that required drilling a hole in every board that was going to be part of the building’s walls. Not to be slowed down, Whitworth and her group made it through that portion of construction and began building door frames throughout the house.
Though the work was hard, she says it was all worthwhile. “The biggest memory that I left with was getting to meet Randolph, the man whose home my group was working on. He came into the home while we were working and spoke to us briefly, but I will probably never forget his face,” she said. “It wasn’t until I met Randolph that I realized we were truly making a difference.”
Following their stint in construction, Whitworth and the other Midway students headed north for a stop in Birmingham, a hotbed of activity during the Civil Rights movement. This portion of the trip allowed them a break from hands-on service and gave a glimpse into a pivotal part of American history with visits to 16th Street Baptist Church and the Civil Rights Institute.
For Whitworth, it was a memorable experience. “Seeing places that Dr. (Martin Luther) King, Jr. had been to and fought for, along with what people fight for today was incredible,” she said. “Birmingham was as powerful as New Orleans and is an experience I will take with me everywhere.”
Now back on campus and living the life of a typical college student, Whitworth has had time to reflect on her trip and offers this advice to her classmates. “I would highly encourage everyone to try this trip at least once in their time here at Midway. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn a new culture, get involved with a great community and, of course, try all of the yummy food!”