University Habitat chapter to host ‘Race the Roof!’

By Natalie Carino

The University Habitat for Humanity chapter will host the 6th Annual Mom’s Weekend Race the Roof! at Crystal Lake Park in Urbana on Saturday, April 8 at 10 a.m.

The proceeds from the event will go towards the funding of the eighth student-built house for a needy family.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.6 percent of Champaign County residents are living below the poverty line.

Each year, the Habitat for Humanity county chapter chooses a family that will receive a house.

This year, the house will be built for the Sweid family. The father, Waddah Sweid is an accountant and his wife, Rim Sweid is currently taking classes at Parkland. They have two children, Lara, 5, and Ferris, 2. The Sweid family moved here in 2000 from Syria because they wanted a better life for their two children, said Laura Mottl, president of the University Habitat for Humanity chapter and senior in LAS.

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“There is a lengthy application process,” said Mottl. “Orientation is in February and applicants are asked for credit history and they need to be below median income level.”

Helen Miller, construction intern for the University chapter and senior in FAA, hopes to raise at least $1,000 from the race.

“We are expecting between 200-250 participants,” Miller said.

The home will be built in the Urbana-Champaign area and a groundbreaking ceremony will be held during the Labor Day Weekend. The specific location for the home is still pending.

Registration for the race will be accepted up until 10 a.m. and there is a $17 fee per person fee. Winners will receive prizes, food will be provided and t-shirts will be given to all participants. The event is open to University students and the community as well.

Rob Petersen, senior in Business, has participated in the race for the past two years.

“I decided to do it because I like to run competitively and it’s also for a good cause,” he said. “It seems like a lot of the people that volunteer are pretty into it, so that’s a plus.”

The event not only raises money for the construction of the home, but is also used as a learning tool.

“The most important part of the event is reaching our fundraising goal,” Mottl said. “But we added an educational aspect for people to learn about poverty and homelessness as well.”