Western New Jersey

Build America makes stop at NJ camp

Build America makes stop at NJ camp

INDEPENDENCE TWP., N.J. - More than a dozen college students from different states are spending much of their summer giving back and helping others.

The group is making a stop in this region.

Members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity are spending the week at Camp Merry Heart as part of Build America, organized by Push America. The camp, which is located near Hackettstown, New Jersey, is an Easter Seals camp for people of all ages with disabilities and special needs.

Through the Build America program, volunteers travel down the east coast making stops building accessible amenities at different camps. They started with a week of training in Boston and are now traveling to different camps for six weeks.

"I've only been on this trip for two weeks and I've loved every minute of it," said Jeremy Edwards, a 19 year-old student from the University of California, Berkeley.

"The vision statement of Push America is that Push America will redefine, or change the way, that society views people with disabilities as well as fraternities," he said.

He said there their group is made up of 17 fraternity brothers from 15 schools in ten different states.

Alejandro Pinel, a 26 year-old student from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said, "To actually spend six weeks traveling down the coast visiting different sites, that was a huge opportunity for me and to be able to help people along the way, it's just the cherry on top."

"The summer camp experience for them is really one of the only times in their lives where they're able to get away from everything and just enjoy themselves," said Edwards.

The volunteers work throughout the day and spend time doing different activities with the campers when they're not working.

Pinel said, "It definitely keeps us going when we're feeling a little tired , worn out, we push through because we know it's making a huge difference in their lives."

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