It’s a sunny, 75 degree day in Chapel Hill in the middle of February. But some UNC students and organizations aren’t enjoying the weather.
“I mean, it’s nothing major. We’re cutting things out, putting little board games together: game pieces, dice, stuff like that,” said UNC sophomore and football player Mason Veal. “Just helping them get back on track for their end-of-year testing and helping them and giving them stuff so they can do extra.”
He’s describing the volunteer event at the Loudermilk Center for Excellence on UNC’s campus Friday. Participants were invited to make study kits for third, fourth and fifth grade students at Princeville Elementary school in Tarboro.
The school was flooded by Hurricane Matthew, and students missed many days of potential learning, but still have to take the same End-of-Grade tests at the same time as the rest of the state.
Kim Allen is the Program Officer for Faculty and Campus programs for the Carolina Center for Public Service. She organized the event in partnership with UNC Athletics and APPLES, a student-led program at UNC that focuses on connecting academics with public service. Allen said it was important to all the organizations that they help give Princeville students resources in little kits that can help them study, and catch up.
“We thought it would be a good effort to create some activity kits to help support what they’re learning in the classroom that teachers can use and that they can use at home,” she said.
APPLES president Lindsey Holbrook said the students and volunteers are separated in stations to make each kit for third, fourth and fifth grade students. And they’re also separated by math or vocabulary.
“So we have a math station with different math games for the kids and we also have a vocabulary station,” Holbrook said. “So we’re cutting out different games to put in those bags along with dice and chips to play the games with so we’ll send them home.”
Allen said there are also some UNC presents going in the kits as well.
“Then those kits will go into a larger bag that contains materials that the university – the athletic department education foundation donated,” she said. “Which includes some nice things that say that Carolina supports you so pencils and key chains and things like that for the children.”
Korie Sawyer, Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Development at UNC also helped with the event and said she hopes the kits will help motivate students to work hard, amid recovering from Hurricane Matthew.
“We hope that they’ll study a little harder knowing that some men’s lacrosse or some swimming and diving or just a UNC student said, ‘Hey, good luck with exams. We hope you study hard,’” she said.
Allen said the most important thing is that the participants are helping those in need, and are encapsulating what Carolina means.
“I know many of our staff and students and faculty have family in those affected areas,” she said. “So it means a lot for the Carolina community to be responding to the needs of neighbors and friends.”
The Carolina Center for Public Service is also traveling to Princeville next month to help with hurricane relief. All UNC students, faculty and staff are invited to sign up, and no prior training is required. You can sign up by clicking here, until March 15. For more information on UNC Hurricane Matthew relief, click here.