Student Testimonials

• Jonathan Woolley engaged with Jones Valley Urban Farms where he worked harvesting produce, analyzing the efficiency of vermiculture composting, and developing an on-site curriculum for inner-city elementary school students. Jonathan stated: "Service-learning has completely revolutionized my educational experience at UAB. I have been given the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience that directly relates to my future career goals while interacting with amazing UAB faculty and community members whose wisdom and guidance have greatly advanced my academic and personal development."

• Allison Borden engaged with Metropolitan Birmingham Services for the Homeless where she worked on a database for recording and updating continuums of care organizations that coordinate services for the homeless regionally. Allison writes:
Norma May,
I am just writing to give you a little update on what I have been up to. I just finished summer classes and I am currently working full time at the VA under Dr. Kertesz. I am working on a homeless primary health care access research project. I am loving the work I am doing for the VA and I love being able to continue helping the homeless in as many ways as possible. I am really enjoying being here and all of the great contacts I am making. It has been a very busy summer and it seems that it has been very busy for you as well. it is exciting to see all of the work you are doing with hunger and poverty. It is great to know that there is such a passionate group of students at UAB that really have an issue they are working very hard to understand and even get the word out. It is very refreshing to see my generation of students so involved. I no longer work at MBSH, but I am still involved and very close to all of the contacts I have made there. I am very pleased at all of the things I have been able to do in direct result of my service learning class and my work with you. I cannot thank you enough for all of the work you have done with me and helping guide me in the correct path to what my future holds. You have been a very important aspect of my search for a true issue on interest. I know that people do not often get the thank you they deserve, but yours by far is one of the most deserved. Some students at UAB really have no idea of all the great things you have done for our University and continue to do. Thank you so much for you help and guidance and all of the amazing opportunities you have given me. With that in mind I do not know if you plan on continuing the lunch time discussions, but I would just like to say that I would like to continue my involvement with Service Learning in any way possible. It has been such an important part of my life and I would like to try to give back to it what it gave to me... for lack of better terminology.
Thank you again for all you have done and I look forward to hearing from you and how your summer is going!
Allison Borden
P.S. I will be in the UAB magazine... thanks to you!!! And of course you can send the email on. I want everyone to know what a great program Service Learning is!!!

Alexandra Siegel engaged in service with the 1917 HIV/AIDS Clinic where she worked as a clinic host, conducted OraQuick testing and organizes events. Alex stated: "My service-learning experience has been very beneficial. Working at an AIDS clinic, I have learned to connect with people who are very different from me and attempt to help them change for the better. I have also learned about the difficulties of running a non-profit organization as well as their place in the community as a whole. I have found it easier to see through others' perspectives now, especially those that are unlike me. I hope to explore stigma surrounding this disease in our community and eventually eliminate it."

Anastasia Brown engaged in service with Jefferson County Family Court where she observed and participated in various proceedings relating to juvenile justice. Anastasia stated: "My service-learning experience has allowed me to obtain a thorough understanding of how all the departments at Family Court function on their own and as a unit. Family Court has made me realize the scope of the problems in these children's lives. The environment most of the children are submerged in is unhealthy, but it does not seem that any one institution has the ability to handle social problems of this magnitude. I am a criminal justice major. This experience has helped me to understand some of the concepts and theories I have been learning about in the classroom, and I hope it will help me in the future when I have chosen a career. "

Bethany Jenkins engaged with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA). Bethany comments: "Shortly after beginning my internship, I was asked by a fellow student, 'Why should we help the illegal immigrants in the Birmingham community?' And so began my investigation into this matter. I have found through my contact with HICA and the people it supports that the answer to this question is by no means a simple one. The reasons for assisting them are multiple, but by facing the reality of the fact that they are here, we can help them assimilate to the United States and Birmingham for the greater benefit of the community. My service-learning project has really opened my eyes to the issues and facts surrounding the immigrant population in the United States, and has shown me that there are not always clear-cut answers and solutions to problems such as this one."

Valerie Gribben, as a UAB Sophomore, created the Healing Words Program in which service-learning students read to hospital patients. She described service-learning as "an integral part of the university experience. Through Healing Words, college students are able to brighten the days of countless hospital patients and nursing home residents. Reading is catalyst for the imagination. When I read novels, short stories, or poetry to patients, I can see them escape into the pages of a fictional world. Often our reading raises questions, and I am able to participate in an exchange of ideas with the patient, giving me fresh perspectives on situations. "