Students making a difference on spring break

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KNOX COUNTY (WVLT) College students from Ohio are spending their spring break here in Knoxville getting dirty for local kids.

The Children's Center of Knoxville got a special gift that would have been nearly impossible to receive without their help.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has more.

It may not be the beach, but it's the best spring break these students from Baldwin Wallace College can think of.

Richelle Russell, on alternative spring break says, "service is so much better than anything, going to a beach and partying and something that's self serving."

The students moved mulch, spread gravel and laid steel mesh to turn this area into a new playground for the Children's Center of Knoxville.

Russell says, "it was hard work, but it was a lot of fun."

A project that would have cost the center thousands of dollars.

Janet Kite, executive director of Children's Center of Knoxville says,"it's a tremendous gift, and they just contacted us basically out of the blue by looking at our website."

A gift the Children's Center's executive director Janet Kite couldn't believe college kids would give on their vacation.

"Is somebody really going to give up their spring break to do volunteer service from Ohio?"

But then she saw their passion and dedication to service.

"It's just a good example for all of our young children to see all of these teenagers who gave up their spring break to come here and do a project like this for us."

Russell says, "it's really nice to think about how lasting an impression we've had on the kids because it's something they're going to have and something they're going to remember us for because they can play on a safer playground now."

And even though they aren't doing this for themselves, the students are taking something bigger than a souvenir from their spring break.

"It's given us a face to put to our memories so in 6 months we can think back and think about those specific kids playing on a safer playground."

The students leave town Saturday morning.

The entire project is funded by local donations and the children's center fundraisers.

The center also received a grant from the Tennessee Titans.