Fourteen Washington and Lee students are spending their Washington Break this week in Birmingham, Ala., on an alternative break trip organized by the Nabors Service League and members of the Birmingham Alumni Chapter.
According to Jenny Davidson, coordinator of the Campus Kitchen and advisor to both Volunteer Venture and the Nabors Services League, the students will be serving in different programs during their visit: Alabama A+, the Cornerstone Schools and Impact Alabama’s Focus First Program. Student chair Laura Steitz, a senior from Baton Rouge, helped recruit students on campus and acted as a go-between in the planning.
The trip was arranged, in part, as a result of W&L alum Bill (’63) and Becky Smith visiting campus earlier this academic year to talk to students about Alabama A+. “They are strong supporters of the program and garnered quite a bit of interest with our students, especially those in the Shepherd Program,” Jenny explained. In addition to the Smiths, Birmingham alums Josh Payne (’08) and Edmund Perry (’82) were instrumental in getting the trip underway.
Alabama A+ works with schools in the state to make sure that each of the students is accessing the highest-quality education possible. Some of W&L’s participants will be working to recruit students into higher-level courses and register them for summer enrichment programs. They will also tutor students in an afterschool program.
Focus First screens elementary-age children in Head Starts and lower-income daycare programs for vision and hearing impairments to ensure that students are able to learn to the best of their ability. W&L students will also be tutoring the children.
The Cornerstone School is located in an impoverished area, trying to break the cycle of poverty. W&L students will help tutor the children at Cornerstone.
The Nabors Service League at W&L is a student-run, community-service organization that strives to promote and encourage a spirit of service and to connect service with learning. It is named in honor of Jonathan O. Nabors ’02, who passed away in 1999.