Huntingdon receives national recognition for community service
Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College has received notification of admission to the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The honor recognizes the College's engagement of students, faculty, and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community. Three Huntingdon service initiatives were highlighted in the application process for the award: the Adapted Sport Day program; SaveFirst; and educational programs in Montgomery schools.
"We are very pleased that the Corporation for National and Community Service has chosen to include Huntingdon on the President's Honor Roll," said Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. "From this college's earliest days, Huntingdon students, faculty and staff have been actively—and even fervently—involved in community service initiatives. What is more important than this recognition, however, is that Huntingdon outreach programs are impacting lives and improving living, learning, and life conditions for others in the River Region community and around the world."
The recognition follows an application process in which colleges and universities across the country submitted significant community service initiatives completed during the 12-month Honor Roll year of June 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010. Overall, more than 850 colleges and universities applied for consideration. CNCS, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted 641 colleges and universities to the honor roll for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. CNCS defines community service as activities designed to improve the quality of life of off-campus community residents, particularly low-income individuals. CNCS programs include AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps NCCC, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps.
Through Huntingdon's Adapted Sport Day program, students in the College's Adapted Physical Education course work with Brewbaker Junior High special education students in their Community-Based Integration (CBI) program, conducting monthly Adapted Sport Days. The Brewbaker students come to Huntingdon to work for hour-long skill-training that the children can then use in daily living and in recreational sports for the rest of their lives. About 50 Huntingdon students and four staff/faculty serve 30 special needs students in the program.
During the first six weeks of tax season, Huntingdon students donate their time and skills as part of the SaveFirst initiative, a program of Impact Alabama that trains college, graduate, and law students to provide free tax preparation services and opportunities for savings and economic improvement to low-income, working families. The project targets families who are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. Through this project, Huntingdon students worked at a free tax preparation site, preparing nearly 500 tax returns for working families, helping them to secure more than $1.4 million in tax refunds and saving $140,000 in commercial tax preparation fees.
Students in the Huntingdon elementary education curriculum's advanced reading course tutored twice a week for more than six weeks in Montgomery's Title I schools. The purpose of the tutoring was to assist classroom reading teachers in Title I schools with struggling readers and to provide Huntingdon students with the experience of using skills, strategies, and techniques learned in the reading courses. Schools participating in the program were Dannelly, Vaughn Road, Floyd, and Brewbaker primary schools. Each elementary education major also serves as a student teacher for 40 hours or more in an assigned classroom during his or her senior year; and each student performs community service hours in various capacities in the community.
In all, Huntingdon administrators estimated that 311 Huntingdon students participated in community service of some kind during the Honor Roll year, performing 4701 hours of service in projects such as a Fall Festival for neighborhood children; voter registration and awareness; working with animals at the Humane Society; serving at a children's home; helping with the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run; offering programs of interest during Black History Month; serving at Common Ground, an inner-city Montgomery ministry; providing programs educating about domestic violence prevention; working in food banks; assisting with the state Science Olympiad competition(held on the Huntingdon campus); judging poetry, forensics, and writing contests and art shows for schools; working with Scholar's Bowl and Science Olympiad teams; assisting with Poetry Out Loud; participating in blood drives and in the College's Martin Luther King Jr. Great Day of Service; and working for Project Jericho and the Montgomery Area Non-traditional Equestrians (MANE), as well as with charities such as the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. In addition, Huntingdon sends a team of students to another part of the world each year to complete mission service.
"Everyone at Huntingdon knows our motto, which is written in stone above the front door of our oldest campus building, 'Enter to grow in wisdom; go forth to apply wisdom in service," said West. "At Huntingdon, we are deliberate about involving students in the community and in the world to work for a greater good, and we expect our graduates to take these values into their neighborhoods and to continue to serve in various ways throughout their lifetimes."
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
For more information, contact the Huntingdon College Office of Communications at (334) 833-4515.