Juvenile Detention Facility Director Debra RouLaine with her Falcon Scholars Amanda Currie, Charitina Goebel and Nathan Glaze (Contributed)
Juvenile Detention Facility Director Debra RouLaine with her Falcon Scholars Amanda Currie, Charitina Goebel and Nathan Glaze (Contributed)

Exemplary students honored at annual Falcon Scholars’ showcase

Published 10:33am Wednesday, April 30, 2014

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO—University of Montevallo students who volunteer at Shelby County non-profit agencies through the innovative Falcon Scholars in Action Program were honored at an Annual Showcase on April 17.

Falcon Scholars in Action is a collaboration between Shelby County Community Services and the University of Montevallo that provides UM students the opportunity to volunteer at a non-profit agency for one year. The program began in 2009 as a way for the County to offer additional support to agencies during a time of economic recession.

Representatives from Shelby County Community Services Staff, Agency Directors, UM Office of Service Learning Staff, Falcon Scholars in Action and their guests met at the John Stewart Student Retreat on the University of Montevallo campus to reflect on the students’ service over the last year.

“Falcon Scholars have made a big difference in the operation of Shelby Emergency Assistance.  Their service not only provides support for our day-to-day services, they also bring fresh views and innovative ideas for improving our programs,” said Karen Pendleton, Executive Director of Shelby Emergency Assistance, who has partnered with the program for four years.

Charitina Goebel, a junior English major who served at Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center, said the experience positively impacted her life as well as the lives of others.

“I went into Falcon Scholars thinking that I would be able to change lives through positive influence, by being a friendly face, teaching, or just by giving a helping hand. I didn’t know that I would end up getting so much back in return,” Goebel said. “I have learned valuable life lessons and gained experiences by listening to and speaking with these kids that I feel will help me when I become a teacher. The program is of course about reaching out and helping others, but also it’s about the Scholar, what they can learn, and how they can develop along the way.”

Jessica Smith, who served at SafeHouse throughout the past year, said the experience solidified her desire to become a social worker.

“I have learned valuable knowledge about the world of nonprofits and gained experience in working with clients from a multitude of races, ethnicities and ages,” Smith said. “This service placement has given me the opportunity to give back to the community and confirmed my choice to become a social worker.”

UM students may serve as Falcon Scholars during their sophomore, junior or senior years, and as graduate students. The program accepts 25 students per year and is always accepting applicants.

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