HOUSTON – Nearly 600 students are spending their Spring Break repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

They come from all over Texas and are working in neighborhoods hit hard by the flood.

“There was four feet of water in the house the day we left,” said homeowner Gaye Stephens.

Her Bear Creek-area home of 32 years is now flooded with students cleaning up what was ruined.

“I’m just so proud of them,” said Stephens. “They’re my heroes.”

The students are spending their spring break working rather than relaxing.

“I’m not really a hands-on building kind of guy,” said high school senior Dakota Hill from Tyler. “It’s fun, though. I got to cut a lot of stuff, hammer a lot of stuff.”

The mostly middle and high schoolers are recruited through an organization called BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery.

The organization is affiliated with more than 5300 Texas Baptist churches.

Students pay $140 to participate in rebuilding missions.

“They could have been doing any number of things during their spring break,” said BOUNCE director David Scott. “But they chose to come sleep on a floor, shower in disaster recovery trailers and work really hard.”

High school freshman Kelly Garrity spent part of her first day pulling nails from wooden studs.

“I like helping and building things,” said Garrity. “I enjoy it.”

Stephens and her husband cleaned out their retirement fund cleaning up as best they could.

They said they can’t put a price on the answered prayers these students represent.

“This group has offered me hope,” Stephens said with tears in her eyes. “I can see we can redo it and move on.”

Several teams of students will move through as many homes as they can during spring break.

BOUNCE plans to return to the Houston area this summer.

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