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NK grad spends break building home for orphans

North Kitsap High School, and soon-to-be Central Washington University, graduate Evan Tidball hoists drywall up during the construction of a home for three orphans during Spring break at the end of March. Tidball will graduate from CWU in June.    - Contributed
North Kitsap High School, and soon-to-be Central Washington University, graduate Evan Tidball hoists drywall up during the construction of a home for three orphans during Spring break at the end of March. Tidball will graduate from CWU in June.
— image credit: Contributed

ELLENSBURG — There’s nothing like getting away from a college campus for spring break.

Some students flock to destination locations to enjoy their time off before getting back to the grind, while others take a less traditional route.

Evan Tidball’s break, for example, was a little less relaxing and a little more back breaking.

Tidball, a 2009 graduate of North Kitsap High School, spent his spring break building a home for three orphaned siblings in Baja, Mexico. Tidball, 23, is the son of Todd and Sue Tidball of Poulsbo. He is also a soon-to-be graduate of Central Washington University.

Tidball was one of 11 students from Central to take the trip at the end of March. The students, all from a Thursday night Bible study group, was led by James Avey, an associate professor in the Department of Management in Central’s College of Business. Avey has helped build homes in Mexico in the past and he sees the trips as opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom.

“The primary principle of leadership is, ‘It’s not about you.’ To go and change someone’s life and come home $1,000 poorer, you can’t get that in a classroom,” Avey said. “Hopefully it will open their eyes and help shape them.”

The group flew from Seattle to San Diego. Then they drove a van across the border. When they arrived at the build site they were met with a small crew of Mexican builders and a blank canvas: a cement slab with anchor bolts. The rest was up to them. That included pitching in for the house — the students gave about $7,000 of their own money.

The final result was a two-bedroom home. It is a stark contrast to what the siblings — Carlos, 19; Jessica, 17; and Victor, 16 — were living in before.

“They were living in a shack behind the house,” Tidball said April 16 as he reflected on his trip. “Definitely was appropriate living conditions.”

Though there was a language barrier, Tidball said one of the siblings was working for sure. He wasn’t sure about the other two.

It was the third trip of its kind for Tidball. His first was during high school in 2007.

Choosing to do work, such as Tidball did in Baja, helps gives people perspective, he said. It provides a “worldwide perspective,” and helps to teach to not do things only for personal gain, he said.

Tidball currently works as an intern within a human resources department. He would like to stick with that, but in the long-term, may move to management and financial advising.

What Tidball learned in Baja, and in the past, he said he will use as he enters the workforce.

He said he has a new perspective since returning from Baja, which includes a better sense of the all-the-time need throughout the world.

“Here in America, we’re so overwhelmed with opportunity and money and you know, physical things that we can use to fulfill any need that we might have, and that’s not the case down there,” Tidball said after describing the absolute poverty he witnessed as the group crossed the border into Mexico.

“It felt good to be a part of this,” he added later in April.

Tidball plans to graduate from Central Washington University at the end of the spring quarter. The last day of spring quarter is June 13.

 

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