Alex Card completed her undergraduate degree in communication disorders in 2014 at the University of Tennessee and is currently a second-year graduate student studying audiology. I initially met Alex through my sorority and now I know her as my boss a.k.a Facilities Graduate Assistant at the Tennessee Recreation Center for Students (TRECS). Everyone who knows Alex knows that she is a strong advocate for Camp Koinonia and, throughout her undergraduate career, dedicated three years to it. As soon as she started graduate school, Alex couldn’t wait to find a new outlet to fill the void that Camp K left.
Alternative Fall Break was the obvious choice.
The University of Tennessee has held Alternative Break community service trips for students since 1993. During these trips, students travel in groups to new areas where they collaborate with local service agencies to meet specific community needs. Each trip is centered around a service theme that helps students gain a well-rounded perspective of a specific social issue.
Alex applied to be a Learning Partner which is a position open only to graduate assistants and professional staff members of the University. After completing the interview and training process, Alex finally got to find out what trip she would be chaperoning and meet the students in her group. Alex was thrilled to be given her number one choice of Disability/Ability Awareness Alternative Fall Break.
At 6 a.m. on October 15, 2015, Alex and her student group left for Indianapolis, Indiana, which is known for having many clinics for people of all ages with disabilities.
While in Indianapolis, the group served at the Applied Behavior Center for Autism, Noble Life, Outside the Box and Agape. Through these organizations they were able to participate in direct and indirect service. Their service consisted of everything from cleaning barns and painting classrooms to aiding teachers during lunchtime at Noble Life.
It may have been three short days of service, but for Alex, it’s an experience that will last a lifetime.
Alex offered advice for students looking for their own outlet to volunteer, “Find something that you’re interested in. Just because one of your friends volunteers for an agency and loves it, that doesn’t mean the same agency will peak your interest and mean as much to you as it does to them. Find something that speaks to you. There are plenty of ways to get involved.”
Volunteering was a childhood trait that Alex learned from her mother.
“I learned from my mom at an early age to give more of yourself to others. She was really selfless and growing up in that environment bled over to my own life choices. I’m a more giving person because she was.” said Alex.
In addition to class work and serving 20+ hours a week at TRECS, Alex currently volunteers weekly to tutor elementary school children for the Emerald Youth Foundation. She also participates in weekly bible study, referees 15 adult volleyball games a week AND is the fundraising chairman for NSSHLA at UTK.
View the Disability/Ability Awareness Alternative Fall Break blog HERE.