About 825 volunteers have committed to spend a half-day working at one of 25 sites throughout the Birmingham community. Non-profit groups benefitting from the labor and spirit of the joyful workers range from AIDS Alabama to the YWCA, and include churches, shelters, libraries and a host of ministries.
The Birmingham Dream Center, an outreach ministry of Church of the Highlands, will host the most Samford volunteers, said Samford leadership and service coordinator Anna Brown, who expects 183 workers at the site in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
A group of Family Studies department students and faculty will report to the Sayre Community Center in north Jefferson County, where they have an on-going relationship with Sayre Revitalization, Inc. On Saturday, they will prepare space to house a new "Homework Help" tutoring program for grades k-12, and introduce residents to a new tutor. The goal, said family studies chair Dr. Kristie Chandler, is to impact the educational attainment of the students in the area.
Most Samford Gives Back workers will pull a morning shift, but some alumni and parents will spend the afternoon at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Calera, Ala. Advancement program coordinator Emily Palmore expects the team to work on a beginning phase of construction. "Groundbreaking will have been just two days before," noted Palmore. The home for the family of Lula Gettridge, who relocated to Alabama from her native Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, will be finished in time for dedication on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Before departing for their various work sites, volunteers will meet in Samford's Seibert hall for breakfast and a devotional by Tracy Hipps, executive director of Birmingham's Christian Service Mission. The mission is one of the organizatins that will benefit from Samford's helping hands.
The Samford Gives Back service initiative, held each fall and spring, is organized by the university's Community Service Council and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.