Annie Daughtrey- Spreading Sunshine

OCE Student Profile Series

by Laura Stephens

When I think of Annie, the word “sunshine” comes to mind. Full to the brim of compassion for others, she is always thoughtful and does whatever she can to build others up. Also, she is quirky and fun, which are great traits I think for her future as a teacher. During her time as an undergraduate at William and Mary, she participated in numerous educational and tutoring activities, from her time as a Sharpe Scholar and beyond. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in education at the School of Education. 

Office of Community Engagement: How are you involved in community engagement at William & Mary?

Annie Daughtrey: As an undergrad at William & Mary, I participated in Project Phoenix, a tutoring and mentoring organization that worked with local middle school students, some of whom had been identified as needing extra support with academics, socially, etc. I also taught Hispanic Religious Education.

OCE: How has this work contributed to community needs?

AD: I think that Project Phoenix worked to address the need of a few of Williamsburg’s younger residents for extra support. We wanted to help them to improve their school performance. When kids do better in school, and have older people to whom they can look up, it hopefully makes a positive impact in their life, at least for a little bit. Teaching Hispanic Religious Education addressed the community need for elementary and middle school students to be educated in their Faith.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean for you?

AD: I think Active Citizenship means caring about the world around you, and not just ignoring issues that don’t personally impact you. It means working towards and being involved in the process of making the world a better place.

OCE: How has your experience working in the community affected your educational career at William & Mary?

AD: Volunteer work can actually help shape the person you become and what you choose to pursue. In my case, working with Project Phoenix helped me to realize that I would be happier working in an elementary than a secondary classroom, and I am now currently pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Education from William & Mary.

OCE: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned as an engaged citizen beyond William & Mary?

AD: I think my volunteer experience with Project Phoenix gave me the opportunity to practice what I believe in, which is helping the less fortunate. I hope to continue to do this throughout my life.

Habitat for Humanity- Bringing Community Home

OCE Community Profile Series

by Laura Stephens

Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes. There is a great deal of truth to that- home is where we go to rest, feel safe, and connect with loved ones. Having a house has many social and emotional benefits as well. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that understands this, and works to make the home a center for connection. Through their different programs such as home-building and the ReStore, they work to bring people together in all aspects of their lives. Janet Green from Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg was gracious enough to answer some questions for us about their place in our community.

Office of Community Engagement: Tell us about your role in the community.

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg is a nonprofit homebuilding organization founded in 1985 – we are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year!  Habitat homes are made possible by sponsorship and volunteer labor, including 400 hours of “sweat equity” the homebuyer must provide. Habitat homebuyers must have income between 45-80% of the area median income, excellent credit and the ability to pay for their new Habitat home. Habitat homes are sold at no profit with a zero-interest, 20 to 30-year mortgage carried by Habitat. Monthly mortgage payments are then recycled to build more Habitat homes. We have also performed exterior repairs to over 200 homes owned by low-income, elderly or disabled residents in our local community of the local community through our home repair program.

Habitat also operates two Habitat ReStores, our nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers.  The Habitat ReStore in Williamsburg is located in the Colony Square Shopping Center and sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  100% of the profits from the ReStores are used to build and sell more affordable homes to low-income families’ right here in our communities.

OCE: What role do William and Mary students play at Habitat for Humanity?

HH: William & Mary students have played an integral role with Habitat, especially with the inception of the Habitat ReStore in Williamsburg.  Not only are the student’s shopping and donating to the Habitat ReStore, they also have been incredible volunteers, performing hundreds of hours working in the ReStore.  The students have unlimited enthusiasm for our mission, promoting not only affordable housing but also our mission of recycling, helping us to divert literally tons of recyclable items from landfills. William & Mary students contribute by far the most collective number of volunteer hours at the Williamsburg ReStore.

OCE: What benefits does your organization derive from working with William and Mary students, and how do you see the students benefiting from their work?

HH: The William & Mary students offer a very positive and youthful energy to the store. They also bring a very different insight to Habitat than many of our other wonderful volunteers.   There is better “mutual” awareness of the difficulties faced by many individuals and families who struggle to find affordable housing in the Greater Williamsburg area, as well as nationwide.

OCE: How does your organization help educate the student volunteers about community needs?

HH: Habitat has worked very closely with the Office of Community Engagement to further educate student volunteers about the needs in our local community through on-campus networking.  We also have had to become experts on social media and have been proud to have the students help us with our on-line campaigns.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean to you?

HH: Let us answer this question as it relates to Habitat’s homebuyers – Studies have shown:

  • Habitat Homeowners are more likely to vote and participate in civic organizations, community affairs and volunteer organizations.
  • Homeowners are more likely to provide a supportive environment for their children.
  • Children of homeowners are less likely to have behavioral problems in school.
  • Children of homeowners are more likely to achieve higher grades, graduate from high school, and achieve higher levels of education and income.
  • Increases in homeownership levels and taxpayers in neighborhoods lead to increased property values of single-family, owner-occupied units.
  • Homeowners are more likely to maintain and repair their property.
  • Homeowners are less mobile, resulting in household and neighborhood stability.

If that isn’t active citizenship, we don’t know what is!

Emily Mahoney- Living Outside the Box

OCE Student Profile Series

by Laura Stephens

Recent graduate Emily Mahoney has a heart for everyone she meets. Kind and humble, she is quick to laugh and be silly. She looks for opportunities to welcome others and make them feel comfortable. But she also is an accomplished researcher, who has worked with Dr. Scott Ickes in his public health research for years. During college, she also gave her time to MANOS, or Medical Aid Nicaragua: Outreach Scholarship. Currently in Uganda, she shared some of her reflections with us on what community engagement has meant to her. 

Office of Community Engagement: How are you involved in community engagement at William & Mary?

Emily Mahoney: I was involved in Medical Aid Nicaragua: Outreach Scholarship (MANOS) for 3 years.

OCE: How has this work contributed to community needs?

EM: MANOS is a student-led research team that partners with a small, rural community in Nicaragua in order to identify and address the community’s needs in a collaborative manner.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean for you?

EM: Active citizenship means cultivating an awareness of the problems going on in your community–both locally and globally–and then seeking to imagine and create something different alongside fellow community members.

OCE: How has your experience working in the community affected your educational career at William & Mary?

EM: MANOS entirely shifted the way that I approached academics. It made me hypersensitive to sweeping assumptions made in the classroom and an advocate for practice-informed research. Being an “active citizen” in the classroom really taught me to think critically.

OCE: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned as an engaged citizen beyond William & Mary?

EM: No matter what I do, I plan to use this active citizen perspective to think critically about my place in the world.

OCE: What is the most memorable or striking moment you experienced during your engagement work?

EM: While working with MANOS, we got to see the project grow by leaps and bounds. It was incredible to see how community members took more ownership over incoming resources and began to advocate for themselves and for their communities. It was really exciting to see measured, sustainable change taking place.

Nadia Asmal- A Globe-Sized Heart

OCE Student Profile Series

by Laura Stephens

Nadia Asmal was one of the first friends I met during college, on the OCE 7G trip, and I’m so lucky to have known her. Her parents are diplomats, which has taken her all over the world. It’s definitely given her a global perspective and a deep empathy for everyone she meets. She always looks for opportunities to serve and make the lives of others better, and I’m so lucky to know her.She received the  President’s Award for Service to the Community in 2013, so I know I’m not the only one who thinks she’s awesome. She’s currently living her post-grad life working at an embassy in Malawi.

Office of Community Engagement: How are you involved in community engagement at William & Mary?

Nadia Asmal: While I was a student at WM I was involved in several service groups at William and Mary.  I was an Exec Board member and mentor with Campus Kitchen, and a co-founder and Vice President of the Gleaning Club.

OCE: How has this work contributed to community needs?

NA: My work with Campus Kitchen and the Gleaning Club helped to alleviate hunger in the area.  Hunger is a big issue in Williamsburg, and both organizations work to tackle the issue by recovering food and produce that might otherwise be wasted.

In addition to tackling hunger related issues, my work with the Education and Programming section of Campus Kitchen contributed to community needs by providing mentorship and tutoring to local youths in low-income housing.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean for you?

NA: To me, being an active citizen means being the most helpful citizen you can be for your community.  It means making a difference, be it big or small, in your little corner of the world.

OCE: How has your experience working in the community affected your educational career at William & Mary?

NA: My experience working in the community actually inspired me to take one of my favorite courses at William and Mary, “Community Engagement in Context.”  The course covered all sorts of topics, from social good through business to art and social change.

OCE: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned as an engaged citizen beyond William & Mary?

William and Mary’s community engagement programs taught me that connecting to your community – whatever community that may be – makes for a more positive and more meaningful experience for everyone.  I think that’s an important lesson as we all go off into new communities after we graduate.

One of the most important pieces of advice I gained during my work with W&M’s Community Engagement team is that you need to understand your community in order to make a meaningful contribution to it.  I’m working overseas now and have really taken that message to heart.

OCE: What is the most memorable or striking moment you experienced during your engagement work?

NA: Sophomore year I volunteered with Dream Catchers Therapeutic Riding Center.  It’s a wonderful organization that offers horseback riding lessons for children with disabilities.  At one of the lessons an 11-year-old student said his first word – the horse’s name.

Cathey Sadowski: Doing What We Can

by Jessica Edington

Cathey Sadowski is a board member with FISH, Inc, a local organization that provides food, clothing, and transportation to community members in need. She took some time to speak with the Office of Community Engagement about her work with FISH, the community, and William & Mary volunteers.

Office of Community Engagement: Tell us about your role in the community.

Cathey: FISH has helped persons in need in the Williamsburg area with food, clothing and transportation to medical appointments since 1975. It is the oldest of such organizations in the area and is supported entirely by contributions from the community, both financial and in-kind. FISH was founded on the philosophy of “neighbor helping neighbor” so we have no paid staff, take no tax money, nor do we seek grants from outside the Williamsburg community.

During 2013, FISH provided food equivalent to 158,220 meals; 10,287 outfits of clothing; and housewares to 568 homes. Overall, our volunteers served 5,051 requests for assistance, an increase of 6% over requests in 2012 (when requests were 14% higher than in 2011). Unfortunately, 2014 service numbers indicate that FISH is needed more than ever this year.

OCE: What role do William & Mary students play at FISH? What benefits does your organization derive from working with William & Mary students?

Cathey: William & Mary students are generous donors of both food and clothing to FISH. Many campus organizations and athletic teams sponsor food and clothing drives, significantly enhancing the services FISH can provide clients. Student support of the annual W&M Costume Sale before Halloween is important to the FISH budget. Direct volunteering at FISH is not feasible for most students, but there have been occasions when W&M students have given of their time in the FISH facility; the regular volunteers, most of whom are retired, always enjoy the young presence.

OCE: How do you see the students benefiting from their work?

Cathey: Through their efforts to help community members in need, students can gain awareness of the difficulties faced by many individuals and families, including some who work for the College in lower-paid positions.

OCE: How do you see the community benefiting from your work and the work of William & Mary students?

Cathey: There is less hunger in Williamsburg and more persons have useful clothing because students help FISH. The community may not know that students are important contributors to this effort, but FISH is pleased to pass the word whenever possible.

OCE: How are does your organization help educate student volunteers about community needs?

Cathey: FISH is happy to work with the Office of Community Engagement to help W&M students understand the way FISH serves the community – and the ways in which that support is limited to short-term assistance.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean to you?

Cathey: Active citizenship means giving time, talent and monetary support to helping members of the community, as well as the world, with basic human needs.  Food, clothing and transportation, are only a few of those basic needs; we are not able to solve systemic injustices; and, we can only help the persons of our local community. But in this case, active citizenship means doing what we can with what we have to share.

Nic Martinez: Passing on the spirit of service

OCE Community Profile Series
By Graham Bryant ’13 | July 30, 2013

When you think of the qualities and dedication exemplified by William & Mary’s many active citizen service-learners, the image you conjure is inevitably one of someone like Nic Martinez ’14. As president of the College’s Nu Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity and one of the largest community service organizations at William & Mary, Martinez helps coordinate the efforts of around 300 service-minded students dedicated to meeting the needs of Williamsburg and beyond. When not working with APO, the government major and economics minor frequently devotes his time to OCE projects and events, passing along his passion for service learning the College’s next generation of engaged scholars. We sat down with Martinez to talk about his experiences and future plans.

Office of Community Engagement: How are you involved in community engagement at William & Mary?

Nic Martinez: Since freshman year I have been on numerous trips with Branch Out Alternative Breaks. They range from going to Nicaragua with Bridges to Community, to driving down to Newport News to work with Habitat for Humanity. This past spring I traveled to Philadelphia to assess homelessness and income inequality. I led the Housing and Healthcare 7 Generations Pre-Orientation trip to the Eastern Shore. Among other things, I have worked locally with the Habitat ReStore and Campus Kitchens. The OCE helps me always stay busy!

OCE: Tell me about your experiences as a 7G co-leader. What were your responsibilities and what trip did you work on? What did you gain from the experience?

NM: One the face of it, the trip was focused on the housing and healthcare situation of migrant workers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. But throughout the trip, I realized the issues at hand were interchangeable with any other issue. The real learning experience was facilitating human interaction and compassion. I have been on trips in the past as a participant, but by leading a trip, I was able to pass on the spirit of direct action, service learning, and sustainable social reform. I also get to introduce incoming freshmen to the College, which is always awesome.

OCE: Can you tell me about your involvement in APO and briefly discuss what APO does in the community?

NM: This past fall I became the president of Alpha Phi Omega. One of my favorite aspects of APO is the community that we provide for people to feel more comfortable seeking out direct service. Having a network of friends that one can do service with is key to facilitating action. I remember being a freshman and I had no idea where to go to do community service. APO guides members to the OCE and creates the social pathway to find new resources and opportunities.

OCE: How have these roles contributed to community needs?

NM: The OCE and APO alike both have short term goals: helping those in need with direct action. For example, bringing pre-made meals to low-income community members is a short-term solution. Then there is a middle term goal of learning about the problem at hand and really understanding it. It’s important to realize why the problems exist in the first place, while factoring in many different variables. In the long-run, I hope that students will go on to post-graduate work with these problems and goals in mind, thereby raising their social issue awareness.

OCE: What does active citizenship mean for you?

NM: It involves learning about the process of social change. Helping feed others or picking up trash in a campus clean-up project is important. This is the dirty work to social change. It is also very important to know the reasons for excessive littering on campus and how we can alleviate it. Finally, active political and social participation in the future is needed so that we can shape our community and policy in a way that fixes the issues.

OCE: How has your experience working in the community affected your educational career at William & Mary?

NM: I’m government major with a minor in economics. I enjoy pondering the issues that affect our society and the political discourse that goes along with these issues. Understanding the economics behind social issues is also very important to me.

OCE: How do you plan to use what you’ve learned as an engaged citizen beyond William & Mary?

NM: I plan on studying further in public administration or public policy. I will always stay politically active and hope to shape the policy in my community.

OCE: What is the most memorable or striking moment you experienced during your engagement work?

NM: I helped people without permanent housing sell a street newspaper in Philadelphia. For the first time in my life I felt invisible and worthless because people walking by on the streets thought I was homeless too and ignored me. It really helped me see things in a new perspective and change my views about the socioeconomic conditions in urban areas.

Graham Bryant