By Rebecca R. Bibbs
For The Herald Bulletin
Many people don’t really know what the Urban League of Madison County has to offer their community. But Lindsay Brown, the organization’s president and CEO, hopes that will change the week of April 16-21 when the organization teams with Anderson University’s Operation Foundation Project for its student-led volunteer blitz.
“We want everyone to have a sense of ownership, even if they are just renters,” he said. “When all is said and done, you want to lead by example. If we show the young people what to do, they will take care of the area, as well.”
The Urban League, the surrounding neighborhood and its residents are the beneficiaries of Operation Foundation Project Anderson, one of many outreach projects offered by Anderson University.
With practical and financial assistance from the City of Anderson, the students will lead volunteers from the university and greater Anderson community on a cleanup of the area surrounding the Urban League.
In addition to renewed community pride, Brown said he hopes the initiative will encourage the police department to start a neighborhood crime watch and to persuade the owner of the empty lot next to the Urban League to allow area residents to plant an urban garden there. He also hopes the cleanup will become an annual spring event.
“We just want to give some life to the neighborhood and show people we care about the neighborhood,” he said. “It will show there are people around here that do care. A lot of times people lose the drive or belief that the city cares.”
Sarah Russell, an Anderson University junior majoring in middle school math and English, said though the 4-year-old organization is working through the process of official university sponsorship, she hopes the volunteers will come from all walks of life.
“Personally, what I get out of it is knowing that free services are being given to the citizens of the city, and that’s a direct expression of God’s love because Christ never asked for anything in return,” she said. “You’re doing a service, and that always connects you when you’re doing it together.”
Volunteer registration forms and service request forms for residents are available at Operationfoundation2012.blogspot.com.