AmeriCorps volunteer: ‘You should be pro-active’

2013-02-01T01:00:00Z AmeriCorps volunteer: ‘You should be pro-active’ The Southern
February 01, 2013 1:00 am

We have a longstanding tradition at SIU of helping our friends and neighbors in Southern Illinois. From assisting in Harrisburg in the wake of last year’s devastating tornado to partnering with more than 60 community organizations, service and volunteerism are very much a part of our university’s DNA.

It is because of that commitment that SIU is one of just 50 colleges and universities selected — out of 1,400 nationwide — as a lead institution for the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Initiative, a national effort to enhance service-learning, volunteerism and civic engagement.

Our Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism is leading several projects as part of this initiative. One of them got under way last weekend, when more than 40 people came together to begin a discussion about enhancing our community service efforts. The participating faculty, staff, students and community partners are undertaking a semester-long self-study.

I was pleased to see that Gabrielle Brumbaugh is one of the students helping with the self-study. A native of Woodlawn, near Mount Vernon, Gabrielle is a senior majoring in special education and elementary education. She is incredibly dedicated to helping others, participating in the Elementary Education Student Organization, the Student Council for Exceptional Children, and Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor Society, which promotes academic achievement and community service. She also is a member of our Land of Lincoln chapter of AmeriCorps — the oldest one in Illinois.

Gabrielle is building a strong résumé. But, that isn’t what motivates her.

“I want to help those in need and show them that there is hope and happiness, even if they are in a tough situation,” she says. “I want to help everyone succeed and give them the opportunities they deserve.”

As an AmeriCorps volunteer, Gabrielle is doing just that at Lewis School in Carbondale. She devotes about 21 hours each week to mentoring fourth- and fifth-grade students. Her focus is on helping them with reading and language skills. Some of the students she works with have learning disabilities, and others are English-language learners.

“I try to be a positive role model and give them encouragement,” Gabrielle says. “And, I am learning from them. Working with English-language learners helps me break down language and cultural barriers, and that will help me in the future. That also is true of the students with ADHD. It helps me develop strategies to help them.”

Gabrielle’s commitment, and that of her fellow members of the Student Council for Exceptional Children, extends throughout the region. The students assist Gum Drops, a local organization that provides weekend backpacks of child-friendly food to schools, which distribute the backpacks to at-risk children.

“I’m not one to sit around,” Gabrielle says. “You know there are children who have rough lives. Instead of being sad about it, you should be pro-active.”

She earns high praise from Kate Baba, Gabrielle’s supervising teacher at Lewis School and a special education teacher for more than 33 years. Kate has worked with our AmeriCorps students for the last 12 years.

“I have high expectations of students who work with me from SIU,” Kate says. “Gabrielle exceeds my expectations.”

That’s a great reflection on Gabrielle, on our programs, and on our university’s culture of caring.

RITA CHENG is chancellor of SIU Carbondale. Her column appears weekly in Southern Plus.

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Gallatin County wins business skills competition again

Gallatin County wins business skills competition again

HARRISBURG — Gallatin County High School was the winner for the high school business skills competition at Southeastern Illinois College for t…

March 08, 2015 1:00 am Photos



Brehm School Foundation receives $7,500 donation

Brehm School Foundation recently received a donation from the George A. Bates Memorial Foundation.

March 01, 2015 6:00 am(0)

Miller family places first in corn yield contest

Scott and Joshua Miller of Tamms, have placed first in the 2014 NCGA National Corn Yield Contest for the state of Illinois announced AgriGold.

March 01, 2015 1:00 am(0)
Tickets on sale for Chester production of 'Ax of Murder'

Tickets on sale for Chester production of 'Ax of Murder'

CHESTER — Tickets went on sale Feb. 23 for the Chester High School drama production of “Ax of Murder.” The show runs March 19-21.

February 27, 2015 1:00 am(0)
'Voice' contestant has Murphysboro roots

'Voice' contestant has Murphysboro roots

MURPHYSBORO — A woman with family roots in Murphysboro auditioned on NBC's singing competition show "The Voice."

February 23, 2015 1:00 pm(0)
The Appalachian Mountaintop Experience

The Appalachian Mountaintop Experience

MARION -- “God used the Appalachian Mountains, practically, to save my life,” Rebecca “Becca” Hosselton, Marion native and Birmingham, Alabama…

February 17, 2015 1:00 am Related (0)

Marion native's Appalachian Mountain experience life changing

MARION -- “God used the Appalachian Mountains, practically, to save my life,” remarked Marion native and Birmingham, Alabama resident, Rebecca…

February 16, 2015 1:00 am(0)

Silkworm pays it forward with supply drive for St. Francis Care

Silkworm Inc. will collect supplies to benefit St. Francis Care near Murphysboro.

February 13, 2015 5:50 pm(0)

Free Agricultural Act of 2014 seminar will be Feb. 9

MURPHYSBORO — A free informational seminar about the Agricultural Act of 2014 will begin at 6 p.m. today in University of Illinois Extension o…

February 09, 2015 7:00 am(0)

Red Rose Gala will be Feb. 28 at Kokopelli

MARION -- A buffet dinner, dancing, and the auctioning of tickets for many athletic events will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the a…

February 07, 2015 5:59 pm(0)


Deals & Offers

Special Sections

Southern Business Journal

Southern Business Journal

CEO program: Southern Illinois leaders excited to get idea started.

June 02, 2015 8:30 am(0)