written by Mary Afton Day, CCE Capstone student
What a great start to a great project! On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, I found myself untangling balloons, scooping goldfish into snack cups, and praying that at least one child from the Ridgecrest Community would arrive. Yes, we’re talking about my “Be You: A Citizen Photography Project” capstone venture. Over six weeks and partnering with the Auburn Housing Authority and their community on Donahue Road, we hope to add a little more art, leadership and writing skills to children ages 6-12. We hope to fill the gap between school and homework with a chance at artistic self-expression. But, as 3:30 turned to 3:45, I began to worry my fellow friend and Community and Civic Engagement enthusiast, Anna Claire Conrad, had volunteered in vain. But alas, as 3:45 turned to 4:00, the yellow “cheese wagon” buses screeched to a stop and several children filed down the steps onto the sidewalk.
With a smile and plenty of enthusiasm, my community partner, Ms. Charlotte Mattox, Anna-Claire and I were able to recruit fifteen participants. The fifteen students were a great representation of the age range. The older students outnumbered the younger, but I look forward to encouraging and empowering the older participants in become mentors and helpers to the younger children. Though this week was simple meet and greet, permission form signings and name tag drawings, we asked for the students’ opinions and ideas for what they would enjoy seeing as activities the next several weeks. From interests in basketball and baseball to fashion design and math, these students are craving a diverse experience. Because of this, I am excited to see numerous and various volunteer opportunities for Auburn University students as well as the beginning of a sustainable partnership with the Auburn Housing Authority. The Community and Civic Engagement Club and Auburn Housing Authority are excited to teach as well as learn from the unique, strong children in the Ridgecrest Community. Who wouldn’t love afternoons full of goldfish and photography?! Come visit, play, draw, or write and let these kids teach you about life from their view! War Eagle!