DECA organizes community service project



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 Photos by Grant Harrison

This fall, many students will participate in a community service project called “Better Together.” That project began today, on Oct. 11, when DECA students and Abide volunteers tore apart the interior of an unlivable home as part of an ongoing reconstruction process.

Starting in 1989, Abide is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Omaha’s community.

“My dad started Abide Network about 25 years ago; he and my brother co-own it now. He used to be a chemical engineer for eight years, got a ton of money, lived out in Millard, had a nice house, nice cars. And then he just felt God calling him to something else and so he sold everything he had, moved to North Omaha to a crappy house full of bugs and mice and then he started Abide,” senior Taylea Dotzler said.

Dotzler, who has worked for Abide for over a year, said DECA collaborated with the non-profit several other times in the past for other projects.

“A lot of people are scared to go to North Omaha so all these students coming together and working in North Omaha is kind of saying we love North Omaha and want to clean it up and show everybody that it is a safe environment. It’s impacting the students because we are going out to do some community work,” Dotzler said.

DECA advisor David Gifford said the volunteers will find sponsors to raise money to buy and fix a house. The students will be painting and repairing these houses, cleaning up yards, removing trash and other general work to make the conditions livable.

“[The community service project] will up the value of the homes and increase community safety and appearance,” Gifford said.

Student athletes from the football, basketball, and volleyball teams are working on this project. Bellevue West along with Bellevue East, Creighton Prep, Papillion South, Millard West and North High will also participate.

DECA encourages anyone who needs community service hours or just wants to come help to pick up a form and come out.

“I think is it greatly going to affect our community in a positive way because people always need nicer houses to live in and by [us] helping the community in this way more people will feel safer in their homes,” DECA president Emily Romero said.

Gifford said “Better Together” is going to help the community as a whole. It will spread awareness, encourage love in the community, widen the community feeling with local schools, and put families in better living conditions

Abide calls the homes the students work on “lighthouses” because they should be an example of how the community can shine.

“Just by putting in this little amount of time, [the students] can create a big effect,” junior Breanne Inselman said.

The project will continue on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, at Abide’s location at 3335 Fowler St. in North Omaha.

Brooke Riley