TUSCALOOSA, AL (03/29/2021)-- Nonprofit organizations across the country were among the many who felt the overwhelming impact of COVID-19. But last fall, when several Tuscaloosa nonprofits needed help like never before, The University of Alabama's student-led organization Serving Bama found a way to safely continue vital, in-person volunteer services, and they continue doing so today.
Among those students who led the way to safely continue volunteer services was Grace Langston of Mickleton, NJ (08056), an assitant team leader with Serving Bama.
Serving Bama is one of UA's Center for Service and Leadership's Community Action Teams. Through the hardwork of its team leader and 23 assistant team leaders, Serving Bama makes it their mission to serve the community, meeting a variety of needs for eleven nonprofits throughout Tuscaloosa, where nearly 130 UA students volunteer weekly.
One of those organizations is Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa, or TROT, which offers equine-assisted therapy services to those with cognitive challenges. Volunteers feed the animals, clean the barn and help maintain the facility.
"We have been fortunate to continue to operate during the pandemic, providing needed therapeutic services to individuals in the West Alabama area," said Dr. Marguerite Malone, CEO and clinical director of TROT. "But without the valuable services and help provided by Serving Bama and other volunteers from The University of Alabama, we would not have been able to keep our facility open."
Although there have been challenges along the way, the Serving Bama team has never lost sight of their goal to serve the community, even in a pandemic. They put new safety protocols into place for volunteers, such as self-transportation to and from sites, contactless check-in, mandatory mask-wearing, a limit of 10 volunteers per site, and social distancing requirements.
Serving Bama contributed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer services to the community last semester, and so far this semester, they've volunteered more than 60 hours.
Serving Bama currently partners with UA Arboretum, Humane Society of West Alabama Dog Shelter and Cat Shelter, Salvation Army, Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa, West Alabama Food Bank, Wings of Grace, Schoolyard Roots, Moundville Archaeological Park, SD Allen Ministries, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Jeremiah's Garden.
Additional information can be found by following Serving Bama on Instagram @servingbama, and students can sign up to volunteer at Serving Bama's GivePulse page.
The University of Alabama, the state's oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.