June 7, 2013 – A visit to Fort Valley State University’s Health and Physical Education Complex led to a trip of a lifetime for Leanitra Owens. The FVSU sophomore competed against 3,000 students for a chance to fly out to Staten Island, N.Y. for mtvU’s Spring Fix. The teen traveled to New York and spent her time assisting an elderly woman whose home was damaged by Super Storm Sandy.
“I was walking to my P.E. class, when I saw a flyer outside the door of the HPEComplex,” said Owens who is always on the hunt for new opportunities. “That’s when I learned about mtvU Spring Fix’s volunteer trip.”
Spring Fix is an alternative spring break experience. The weeklong event is sponsored by MTV, the United Way and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network. The three organizations flew college students from across the nation, to New York and New Jersey to help rebuild storm-devastated areas.
Earlier this year, the 19-year-old biology major decided to submit her application for the trip. After exchanging several e-mails, mtvU asked Owens to submit a five-minute video. Two weeks before Spring Fix, Owens learned that she was one of 50 students accepted for the volunteer excursion.
The organization paid for Owens’ plane ticket and covered her room and board.
During their New York trip, students demolished walls inside a flood-damaged house that belonged to an 81-year-old widow.
“It was really torn up on the inside,” said Owens. “We had to replace the whole interior.”
She continued, “I haven’t had prior construction experience at all, but once there, students basically got in where they fit in to renovate the house. I learned how to put up dry walls, installation and measure.”
Although the widow’s family visited during the renovation, college students never meet the homeowner.
At the end their volunteer experience, the group went to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. There, students enjoyed a free 2013 mtvu Spring Fix concert featuring Ne-Yo and Timeflies.
When the students said their goodbyes, the FVSU Wildcat says there were plenty of tears.
“Surprisingly, we became really close in that one week,” said Owens, who still keeps in touch with the other volunteers through social media.
“LeAnitra is an outstanding student and we were thrilled to have her participate in our Spring Fix program,” said Noopur Agarwal, MTV’s vice president of public affairs. “Given her previous service record, it was clear she had a genuine desire to make a positive impact on her community. LeAnitra also expressed an interest in using her Spring Fix experience to influence her future work, both in school and after graduation, and we always look to partner with students who will continue to create positive change on their campuses and beyond.”
Owens says the trip was a positive experience, and has opened her eyes about the importance of giving back to make others’ lives better.
Because of her trip, Owens sought other ways to help others. She recently signed up with the Macon Volunteer Clinic.
“I hope that I can apply again,” said Owens, “because, it was an amazing experience.”
In the future, Owens plans to pursue a nursing career.
For more information about mtvu’s Spring Fix, visit http://www.unitedway.org/take-action/springfix.
Christina Milton, writer
Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, firstname.lastname@example.org