The Faculty Senate has partnered with the Professional Staff Assembly and the Office, Clerical & Technical Staff Assembly to perform service projects for the Alabama REACH Program and for Brewer-Porch Children’s Center. An initial grant of $5,000 from the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America was received in April, with a second grant of $2,000 received in July of this year.
The Alabama REACH Program aims to support and empower UA students who are current and former foster youth, orphans, emancipated minors, unaccompanied minors, those in kinship care, wards of the state, and homeless youth. The Program offers these students an accepting campus family environment and many support services including bi-monthly study sessions, a pantry and clothes closet, provides mentors, host families or sponsors, help with finding on-campus employment, summer internships and housing, and paying bills.
Brewer-Porch Children’s Center serves Alabama’s special-needs children and adolescents, ages 6-18, providing residential and outpatient behavioral healthcare and educational services to maximize their potential. A new Preschool Demonstration Program places 4 year old children with autism in a classroom with typical children, providing language, leadership, social, emotional and academic skills to help them successfully enter kindergarten within the public school system. BPCC also serves as a research and training site for UA faculty, students and staff.
The Faculty Senate and Office, Clerical and Technical Staff Assembly have previously held holiday gift card drives for REACH students, and the Professional Staff Assembly has previously conducted holiday gift drives for Brewer-Porch residential program children. By combining forces, soliciting donations, and with the generous support provided by TIAA, we have been able to do much more for these worthy organizations.
On May 7, 2018, a Dead Week Dinner Event was held for the Alabama REACH students in Ferguson Student Center’s Anderson Room. Students and their mentors enjoyed a meal donated by Bama Dining. The students also received ‘cram bags’ of study week goodies donated by members of the three employee organizations, tote bags of essential toiletries and cleaning items donated by the First United Methodist Church, and $100 Visa gift cards purchased with TIAA funds.
On August 6, 2018 we held the first-ever Teacher and Staff Appreciation Day at Brewer-Porch Children’s Center. Teachers were asked to submit classroom ‘wish lists’ of items that would engage/motivate their students and otherwise be purchased from the teachers’ own pockets. A buffet luncheon was provided for the teachers and staff.
On December 3 and 4, 2018, we held work days to construct an educational Salsa Garden for Brewer-Porch teachers and students. The UA Grounds Operations donated soil, gravel and heavy equipment. TIAA funding was used to purchase landscaping timbers and gardening tools allowing students to plant tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro in the spring and maintain the garden. On January 21, 2019, we constructed a sensory playground pad at Brewer-Porch Children’s Center.