What inspired you to do the celebration with Durham Rescue Mission residents?
Throughout the years, the Durham community has supported NCCU in so many ways. I wanted NCCU to show gratitude and appreciation back to the community, specifically those who are less fortunate. Originally, I wanted to plan a massive soup kitchen sponsored by NCCU, where anyone in the community could come to the Pearson Cafeteria to partake in a meal where the student organizations of NCCU would serve as greeters, servers and host. But this would have taken a lot more time and money than I had to work with. After hearing that the members of the Gamma Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity had a similar idea, we decided to collaborate.
Holding the event during the holiday season was intentional. The Durham Rescue Mission is in need of support all year, but the holiday season can be especially hard for those without family, and those of us at NCCU wanted to be that family.
Why is this important to you?
I truly do not take anything for granted. In the trying times of today, many people are in unpredictable situations that cause them to live a lifestyle they did not choose. I understand this. At the very least, we could ease their troubles and have their mind at peace for a short period of time, and give them a bit of hope that someone does care.
You and the Alphas brought the residents to NCCU and truly celebrated them. Why did you decide to plan it this way?
Sometimes it is hard to see the positives in life if you are not exposed to them. We wanted to take the residents out of their normal environment to remind them that there is real hope and real people who want to see them succeed.
What did you take away from the event?
I, and I’m sure the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha would agree with me, took away so much inspiration from doing this community service project. The conversations and laughs we shared with the residents of the Rescue Mission will remain a special memory. They were all so bright and wise. I am inspired to keep fighting for those less fortunate and to inspire everyone I come in contact with to be the best they can be. Seeing them smile, dance, and laugh during the program was wonderful, but hearing them say “they treated us like humans” brought much joy to my heart and inspired me even more.
After the event, two members of Alpha Phi Alpha and I rode the NCCU bus back with the residents to drop them off. Hearing them joke around while watching the football game gave me a warm feeling and brought an uplifting closure to the event.
Is this project part of your platform? Do you have others planned for the near future?
Yes, community service outreach is the main duty and role of Miss North Carolina Central University. We commonly go out to different venues in the community, so we thought that bringing the residents to our home would add a unique twist to the event. We plan to make this an annual program, so the next Miss NCCU and Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha could strive to make this bigger and better using the foundation that we've started.
I am in charge of planning and coordinating the Holiday Service Projects that are sponsored by NCCU's Student Government Association/Royal Court. On the same day of this event but earlier in the day, we went to the Salvation Army to help clean and organize the food bank.
On December 4, we are going to the Salvation Army Toy Warehouse to sort and bag toys for children.
Along with these projects, I also serve on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Planning Committee, where I will be in charge of coordinating a service project for MLK week. I also plan to reach out to various shelters then to bring more people to NCCU's Campus.
Here is what Jeremy A. Hagan Vice President of the Gamma Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity had to say about the event.