Group of students to spend spring break volunteering at Black Mountain Home in N.C.


Maitlyn Phillips (left) and Lydia Steimer (right) work on last year’s service project at Black Mountain Home.

Abby Ann Ramsey, Entertainment Editor

Lydia Steimer has seen firsthand what happens when a cooperative environment meets positive energy, especially when it comes to serving.

As the Bearden senior prepares to return to Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth, and Families with her church, she can’t wait to see the tremendous progress she and her peers will make as they help to transform the campus in North Carolina.

Members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church will spend the first weekend of spring break completing a service project at Black Mountain Home, a place where foster children can find a welcoming community to live in.

“We get so much done in the week, so it’s really cool because at the beginning of the week there will be like nothing in the woods and then there will be a hundred foot long trail that we built,” said Steimer, who will be joined in the project by more than 10 fellow Bearden students.

Black Mountain Home aims to provide foster children with a safe place where they can stay with their siblings and gain resources to prepare them for the future.

“Black Mountain Home supports children that have been displaced from their families,” said senior Maitlyn Phillips, who will also work on this year’s project.

“As the children grow older, they continue to teach them life skills and offer them a home base until they can be independent.”

Added Steimer: “The whole campus will do picnics together, they go to church together on Sunday mornings, and it’s this ‘we’re all in this together’ type feel.”

As the organization is nonprofit, they often ask for volunteers, rather than large landscaping companies, to help with simple campus upkeep such as pulling weeds, spreading mulch, and planting flowers. Over the few days the students are there, they are able to get large amounts of work done to help the staff.

Some Bearden students have done this project countless times. Steimer has attended every time since it began 13 years ago. She continues to return for the learning opportunity it provides her.

“It has really given me perspective on my life, which I know is a cheesy thing to say, but it has helped me care more about the foster system in general and children that are taken away from their homes,” Steimer said.

This will be Phillips’s fourth year serving on the trip. She has been able to see the impact that Black Mountain Home has made on her life, even away from North Carolina.

“I participate in this service project because it’s a great opportunity to help those in need… Black Mountain Home has impacted my appreciation for the family and friends in my life,” Phillips said.

Although many students have participated before, the attendees also consist of many people who have never been before. Senior Colby Moldrup looks forward to be able to use spring break as an opportunity to serve, even if it can be daunting.

“My leader and then one of the guys in my small group went last year, and they both spoke very highly of it,”  Moldrup said. “Service can kind of seem scary just like putting your comfort on the line, but it’s rewarding and definitely worth it.”

The trip has always been over spring break, which can pose some scheduling conflicts, but ultimately helps students and families see just how helpful service can be.

“I think spring break is usually a time that we focus on ‘How can we have the most fun?’ and so since it’s the first two days, it starts off the break like ‘OK, how can I serve?’ and ‘How can I make this community better?’ and so it just helps me refocus,” Steimer said.