Last Week, GGHRA received some help from a group of students from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville who volunteered for the School's Alternative Break program. The program, who's mission is to educate and engage all students to lead and serve the global community, served throughout the Greenville, Mississippi community. The group, along with GGHRA staff members, cleaned up debris and provided green space enhancements and beautification at housing sites owned by GGHRA. It was a pleasure to work along side the students and the smiles on the residents faces were a testament to the impact the group had. Read about the groups account of their week of service in the Mississippi Delta by following the link here.
Tennessee Volunteers spend break in Delta
Mary Alford firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2016 11:16 am
University of Tennessee Alternative Spring Break studentsGreenville Mayor Errick Simmons speaks with University of Tennessee Alternative Spring Break students Wednesday. Although none of the students have roots in Greenville, the mayor urged them to consider moving to Greenville when they graduate and help the city continue to move forward.
GREENVILLE — A group of students from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville are in town this week for their rural community outreach project.
Teresa Slade, one of the group leaders, said the students are a part of the alternative break program at the university.
You must be logged in with the proper services to print this article.Slade and student Xylina Marshall applied to lead a service trip over their spring break.
“We wanted to do something with rural community outreach. After doing research online, we kind of came to the Delta and Greenville specifically. And so, we have spent basically 11 months planning this trip; our participants have all applied to be here,” Slade said.
Although it is spring break, the group has “graciously given up their time to come and serve over the week,” Slade said. “Our mascot is the Tennessee Volunteer, so we really try to embody that spirit every where we go.”
Since arriving in Greenville on Sunday, the group has worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, Warren-Washington-Issaquena-Sharkey Community Action Agency, Greater Greenville Housing Authority and Delta 360. They will continue to work with those same organizations throughout the week.
“It’s really nice because we get to work with four different organizations and really plug in and get to know the people and go back multiple times. We get to see and experience people more than if we were going around to seven different services,” Slade said.
Marshall said their trip theme originated as rural poverty. When they started doing research, a lot of it surrounded around poverty and unemployment rates. They wanted an area that was rural but had places where they could serve.
“We found the Delta through researching poverty rates, and we found Greenville because of the great community service it does offer,” Marshall said. “Since we have gotten to Greenville, we changed it to rural community outreach because our participants and us really felt like that better encompassed what we were doing here.”
What stands out about Greenville, she said, is that it’s a community that is trying hard to thrive.
“We have really seen that, since we have been here, a community that is trying to support each other and build themselves back up,” she said. “There is so much positivity and optimism and hope for the future here.”
This is Marshall’s fourth time leading an alternative break program, and said Greenville has, by far, been the most welcoming.
“The people kind of make you feel like you are at home,” she said.
Mayor Errick Simmons, who spoke with the students Wednesday, said their choice of Greenville speaks volumes to “our level of community involvement and hospitality for the students of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to select Greenville for the first time as rural community outreach.”
Although none of the students had roots in Greenville, Simmons said he encouraged them to consider the Heart and Soul of the Delta when they graduate.
“I strongly encourage them to relocate, get a job, start a business and buy homes in Greenville after their graduation from the university,” he said.