Student volunteers team up at Orange Grove

Students from Howard and GPS made a big difference

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Photo credit: Dennis Wilkes

Anyone can learn from volunteer work – students especially. That’s why Girls Preparatory School facilitates a “Winterim” experience every year. This year, one of the opportunities was themed “Be My Neighbor.” Students from GPS partnered with students at The Howard School to learn from each other and from community.

“The ‘Be My Neighbor’ Winterim evolved out of a social justice course that I’ve been teaching at GPS for almost four years now,” said Callie Hamilton, history and AP instructor at GPS. “Our goal is to make sure students have the opportunity to meet young people from across the community so they can form relationships, break down stereotypes and better understand each other and the diversity within our city.”

After learning about people with disabilities from the City of Chattanooga, United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s Volunteer Center connected the student group to an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and give back at Orange Grove Center. Orange Grove provides services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. About 25 students helped with painting and cleaning projects.

“In addition to their much-appreciated hard work, we were impressed by their interest about individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the mission of Orange Grove Center,” said Windy Brooks, assistant director of development at Orange Grove. “Our small maintenance team, along with other staff, are often responsible for taking care of numerous day-to-day projects. The help we received from the volunteers allowed our staff to focus on the care of the individuals we serve, and for maintenance staff to focus their attention to other needs.”

If you or your organization is interested in volunteering, visit or contact Hannah Norman.

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