Auburn University student Gabrielle Lamplugh presented Tuskegee Public School principal Joseph Asberry an art piece created by Lee and Macon County children on Tuesday, November 19, 2013. An Auburn University team of students, along with student volunteers from Tuskegee University, held a Macon County History and Culture Camp at the Tuskegee Human & Civil Rights Multicultural Center for twenty-one children ages 6 to 12 on September 28, where children contributed to the quilt.
Students organized the camp as part of the Appalachian Teaching Project of the Appalachian Regional Commission, a consortium of colleges and universities that provide unique community learning experiences for students. Children participated in five rotations on the topics of Native American history and culture, the music of Macon County, artist Isaac Scott Hathaway, the Civil Rights Movement, and the early life and character development of Booker T. Washington. As part of the Washington rotation, children drew pictures of possible future vocations, connecting–as Washington did–their vocation with the betterment of society
Victoria Ingram, Laney Payne, Michael Gutierrez, Mary Afton Day, Kaleb Kirkpatrick (Jordan Moore not pictured)
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, six students who are completing the Community and Civic Engagement capstone presented their work to CLA faculty and students from the Intro to CCE course. Mary Afton Day, Michael Gutierrez, Victoria Ingram, Kaleb Kirkpatrick, Jordan Moore, and Laney Payne represent a variety of majors and professional aspirations.
The projects they designed and executed with community collaborators builds on the strengths and assets of what citizens are doing. Projects included bullying prevention and awareness sessions at a school in southeast Alabama; a series of afterschool sessions on self-development and artistic expression at a nearby public housing community; execution of STEM-related curriculum at an elementary school; production of a video-trailer for a local author; mini-documentary and workshop on the role of coaches in youth development; publicity and marketing related to a non-profit event in Texas.
In either December or May, these students will move from classroom to community, and through their professional and non-professional work they will work with others to create the kind of change they seek. We look forward to following their journey, celebrating the accomplishments of their community, and introducing them to future Auburn students.
By Mark Wilson
The Clearfork Community Institute in Eagan, Tennessee is housed in a renovated coal camp school, one of the last ones in the Clearfork Valley still standing. Most of the folk living in this valley moved out decades ago, following jobs that went to the cities. Some people stayed. Some people moved back after getting hurt on the job or retiring. Marie Cirillo recently retired as director. She moved to the area on 1967, and she has spent the last four decades organizing local people around issues that matter to them.
We had the good fortune this week of having her, along with CCI’s new director Marie Webster, and Volunteers in Partnership Jesse Scott and Sam Marlow on campus with us. On Wednesday, several AU students joined the CCI team on a tour of AU’s Rural Studio, and on Thursday, the group spoke to the Introduction to Community and Civic Engagement and Women in Leadership classes. That evening, the group led over 40 participants in a session on rural community development in the age of ecological destruction.
The CCI example of community development is an important one, since it represents the ability and will of citizens to take action on issues that matter. People in rural areas matter, and our friends are a reminder of why urban and rural communities should find find creative and innovative ways to work together. We look forward to another spring class, another semester of collaboration, and another spring break filled with adventure and learning experiences.
As a result of a grant-funded initiative from 2011-2013 with the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Community and Civic Engagement Initiative in the College of Liberal Arts continues to organize meetings and work sessions at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Notasulga on topics related to academic, personal, and workforce success.
Written by Blake Evans, College of Liberal Arts Graduate Assistant
November’s Macon Citizen’s Group Meeting, held on Tuesday the 12th, featured a presentation by Beth McDaniel, an Auburn University Graduate student in Human Development Family Studies. Beth engaged the students in an active discussion that encouraged them to articulate their definitions of social relationships. She explained to the students that healthy, productive social relationships are created through both verbal and nonverbal communication, and healthy social relationships are important because they can lead to better relationships with teachers, coworkers, and friends. As students discussed, this increases quality and productivity in many aspects of daily life.
Beth also led the students in a small group activity that required them to communicate effectively to work through conflict. The activity required students to quickly sort through dense information to come to a collective group decision. The diversity of opinion was high, but the activity allowed students to experience how strong social skills can diffuse conflict and improve quality decision-making.
The November Macon Citizens meeting was also memorable because it included a visit from Marie Cirillo, one of Auburn University’s community partners from Eagan, Tennessee. Marie, now 84, has worked in the Appalachian region for most of her adult life. She was originally a Catholic nun who travelled around the Midwestern region of the United States with the Glenmary Home Mission Sisters of America; however, after visiting the Appalachian region, she found a deep desire to spend her life working in mountain communities to engage citizens tackling the deep issues those communities face. On Tuesday night, she actively participated in the Macon Citizens Group activities, and she provided students with a wealth of knowledge and experience that was very beneficial to everyone there.
written by Mary Day, CCE Capstone student
To conjure up enough words to accurately describe and articulate what “Be You” has accomplished seems impossible. Maggie Moore, vice president of CCE Club, said it best that “sometimes it takes a child with a camera to exemplify the potential everyone holds within themselves.” The members of CCE Club and the other volunteers agree that they have learned more from these children than thought possible. The environments the children are reared call for a hurried maturity level and view of surroundings. These children grow up too fast with little opportunity to truly express who they are as an individual. The photographs these children captured are breathtaking in the depth and artistic skill. “Be You” wanted to give that chance, that opportunity, to be an individual. Over the course of the semester, not only have the volunteers grown, they have witnessed each child begin to find who they are, their passions, and begin to fulfill their potential. At the Celebration, they children were recognized and praised for their wonderful, enthusiastic participation. Mr. Eastman surprised the children by announcing that the photographs will be hung in the main lobby of the Housing Authority’s office to showcase their achievements and skill. Mary Afton Day, in reflection, stated, “I wouldn’t trade a single smile, cup of goldfish, or photo shoot for anything. This semester has helped me grow as an individual. These children are above and beyond talented and full of potential. They will be leaders, and great ones at that. I can’t wait to see what great things they will accomplish.” Community and Civic Engagement Club thanks Mrs. Charlotte Mattox and Mr. Eastman for Auburn Housing Authority’s sponsorship and overwhelming, wonderful support. “Be You” would not have been a success without the Ridgecrest Community. Auburn Housing Authority and CCE Club look forward to the Spring Semester to begin another great after-school program.
Find your voice. Have courage. Be You.
By Mark Wilson
Audrey Ross talks with AHF Executive Director Armand DeKeyser
AU student Audrey Ross, who participated in the 2012 Appalachian Teaching Project of the Appalachian Regional Commission, traveled with me to Birmingham on November 9 to present at the National Humanities Conference of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The NHC brings togethers representatives from councils from every part of the nation. The Alabama Humanities Foundation served as an excellent host for the conference, and attendees visited several historic civil rights sites in Birmingham.
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Isaac Hathaway was an artist known for creating ceramic masks and busts of African American leaders, and he was also the designer for the first two U.S. coins to feature African Americans. He established ceramics departments at several universities, including Tuskegee Institute, and he taught a summer extension course at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) sixteen years before the university integrated.
Students in the 2012 ATP project designed and tested several ways to introduce the public to Hathaway, and the presentation allowed us a chance to introduce Hathaway and the materials we created to a diverse group of conference attendees. For more information on the project, visit www.isaacscotthathaway.wordpress.com.
written by Mary Day, CCE Capstone student
The time has dwindled down to the last few weeks of the capstone project, Be
You. Mary Afton planned a two-part final activity where the children choose one of the many pictures they have taken throughout the semester to showcase to the community. Vice president, Maggie, and the other volunteers were amazed at the beauty of each child’s photographs. Once the decision was made at which picture best described who they were as an individual, the children were tasked to write a paragraph explaining what the picture was of, why they chose it and what it means to them. One in particular, Jamiyah’s photograph and written response encompassed individuality, familial love, and honor—all through a crepe myrtle bloom. Not to spoil the final product, Jamiyah wrote, “…[this is] the best picture I have taken…this picture reminds me of my granddad…” The maturity and intellect of these children continues to astound. Ms. Charlotte Mattox, from awe and joy, asked Community and Civic Engagement Club to continue their afternoon presence on Tuesday afternoons for the remaining time in the semester. Though the Be You project will conclude with a celebration on Tuesday, November 12, the partnership, the relationships and the memories will be sustained. Next week, the children will make the final touches on their paragraphs and works of art for the celebration the following Tuesday.