Helping for the holidays

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Portland Community College group, including Katie San Roman, Cesar Santiago, Andrea Salyer, Nick Pham, Pedro Garcia, Kimberly Quiroz, Valentina Nolasco Garcia, Mitzi Pulido and Chris Keith enjoy the shade before returning to the roof Wednesday during the PCC build at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity Eleele Iluna neighborhood.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Portland Community College student Katherine Cox sands down wall studs Wednesday during the PCC build at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity Eleele Iluna neighborhood.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Portland Community College students Chi Pham, Monet Sutch and Luxo Lopez man hand sanders to clean up studs Wednesday during the PCC build at Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s Eleele Iluna neighborhood.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Valentina Nolasco Garcia applies primer to ceiling panels for the house in the background Wednesday during the Portland Community College build at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s Eleele Iluna neighborhood.

ELEELE — Andrea Salyer, the team leader for the Portland Community College student group, was coming off lunch in the warm Eleele sunshine, Wednesday morning.

“This is not cold, at all,” Salyer said. “It’s raining and cold in Portland, Oregon. This is definitely comfortable.”

Salyer and her group of 13 students arrived Tuesday, and following an orientation, set out Wednesday to help build homes in the Kauai Habitat for Humanity Eleele Iluna neighborhood that will eventually see 107 homes built.

“This is a short trip,” Salyer said. “We’re going to be building through the rest of the week before we head home, Sunday. For a lot of the students, this is their first time on Kauai, and they are excited to be here. This is just the people who were chosen from the program that had more than 90 applicants apply. Due to budget constraints, these are the ones chosen for this trip.”

Salyer said this is not their first venture to Kauai to build homes.

“We were here in March,” she said. “Each time we get here, we learn different phases of construction. Last trip, we were digging holes and laying foundations. This time, we’re doing roofs and painting. There has been a lot happening since the last trip. There are more homes built, and families are moving in.”

During the short stay on Kauai, the students work alongside homeowners to getting houses completed.

“We have a connection with the Habitat for Humanity in Oregon,” said one student. “This is how we get to travel and help the community where we go.”

Another student said she wanted to learn how to build homes.

“I’m a major in horticultural therapy,” said Katherine Cox. “I wanted to learn how to build a small house — and live in it. I had to come on this trip.”

Volunteer opportunities are almost always available at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity. People of all abilities and organized groups are welcomed to help homeowners raise their homes at the build sites, or help in the offices, or at the ReStore thrift shop.

Information: 335-0296, or visit www.kauaihabitat.org to register.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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