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ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

December 4, 2010 - by Callie Livengood

The episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, featuring University of Mount Union student volunteers assisting in the construction of a home for a Cleveland area family, will be aired on ABC on Sunday, December 5 at 8 p.m. Beginning at 7 p.m., NewsChannel5 will air a one-hour special that will give viewers a behind the scenes look of the week-long project.
 
Nearly 50 members from Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a service fraternity on Mount Union’s campus, spent an entire week in October building a home equipped with technologies that help people with disabilities.
 
According to a press release from ABC, Andre and Jasmine Anderson have never allowed their visual impairment to slow them down, but rather have faced it head on. Both Andrew and Jasmine are blind, and have established the Disability Awareness Center in Maple Heights to help others who are struggling with sight loss.  They have dedicated their time to supporting and counseling the disabled, connecting them with resources and developing support groups to help them live and lead more independent lives. The Andersons are fully committed to their community, all while pursuing graduate degrees and raising their two sons, 13-year-old Jaison (who is hearing impaired) and seven-year-old Jahzion. Every day they face challenges in their cramped and structurally dangerous two-story home, which was so crowded, it was hard to make room for Andre's guide dog.
 
Students from Mount Union heard about the opportunity to assist in the construction of a home in the Cleveland area from a former member of APO. Cleveland employee and 2010 graduate of Mount Union, Bryan McIntyre, forwarded an e-mail he had received about the show looking for community volunteers to current APO president, Kayla Hogue.
 
“Almost everyone in our chapter signed up to volunteer online,” said Hogue, a senior intervention specialist major of Massillon, OH. “We were all waiting by the phone hoping for it to ring.”
 
When signing up online, students had to indicate if they had any special skill set. Since most of the students did not have training and experience in construction, they each indicted they were students at the University of Mount Union in hopes that it would grab the show's attention. The show called each student and asked if he or she could volunteer during specific time slots, and most of the students ended up working late-night shifts in hopes of brightening the lives of the Anderson family.
 
“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Hogue. “If the show came back to Ohio again, I would definitely volunteer.”
 
Student from Mount Union didn’t have the opportunity to meet the Anderson family, but they did meet Ty Pennington, producers and other people affiliated with the show. The Anderson family vacationed in Colorado during the week their new house was getting built. 
 
This isn’t the first time Mount Union students have helped on the set of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In fact, in 2005, more than 100 students helped in the construction of a home in Boardman, OH.
 
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an Emmy-nominated reality-television program where a team of designers, contractors and volunteers completely rebuild a home, including all rooms and the exterior landscaping, in only seven days. For more information, visit ABC.com
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