Ember Langley was looking forward to seeing Harry, a resident of the Mobile L’Arche community where people with intellectual disabilities live, work and share their lives together. The Miss University of Mobile 2013 met Harry a year ago when a team of University of Mobile students participated in Project Serve
, the Christian university’s annual campus-wide day of service to the community.
But Harry wasn’t there.
“Last year at Project Serve I had the time of my life hanging out and dancing with Harry at the L’Arche home,” she posted Sept. 20 on the social media site Instagram, along with a photo of herself and Harry. “I went back to the L’Arche home today for Project Serve 2013 and found out Harry passed away not too long ago from a heart attack.
“Today, I had the pleasure of painting at one of the houses Harry lived in,” she wrote. “This is why I love Project Serve. This event truly makes an impact on your life and community.”
Ember was among more than 1,100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees who moved the classroom to the community for service projects at 63 locations throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties on Sept. 20. Students signed up for service teams from their academic areas, athletic program, student organizations and university support staff offices.
Many projects matched students’ majors or talents with opportunities for service. Nursing students packed 425 boxes of food at Prodisee Pantry, which provides a food and health services hub for the community of Spanish Fort, Ala. Education students volunteered at various schools, among them the Regional School for the Deaf and Blind in Mobile where they played with children who clasped hands with their new-found friends on the playground. Art students painted a mural at an elementary school, and Center for Performing Arts students sang at assisted living centers and nursing homes.
Students in the College of Arts and Sciences donated school supplies to the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital schoolroom and visited with patients. School of Christian Ministries students mowed grass, cleaned gutters, and clipped bushes for the elderly in Chickasaw, Ala. Athletes worked alongside coaches and UMobile Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Wilson on four homes for Habitat for Humanity. RamCorps brass and percussion group performed, shared testimonies and prayed for youth at Strickland Youth Center in Mobile, resulting in several young men who professed their faith in Jesus Christ. Non-traditional adult students in the Center for Adult Programs worked on the grounds at a fire station in Prichard, Ala., where a UMobile student serves as a fire chief.
The event and the accompanying tweeting, posting, hashtagging and social media buzz caught the attention of local news crews and organizations such as Alabama Nonprofits, which tweeted, “It looks like @umobilenews is having a great day of service. Check out #projectserve13 @ #projectserve to see their great work!”
UMobile Student Government Association President Seth Brasher said, “Project Serve means the world to us as students. It is the physical example of our university living out James 2:18 -- 'Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds.' Project Serve reminds us and reaffirms that we are a servant-minded, Christian university.”
Brasher, a senior majoring in worship leadership, added, “To see that our president will cancel classes is one thing. To see our entire faculty working alongside their students, that shows the Gospel of Jesus Christ more than any lecture ever could."
The day began at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast and rally in front of J.L. Bedsole Library on campus. After a send-off from UMobile President Dr. Mark Foley and a group photo, teams departed to various locations to serve.
“Look into the eyes of the people you are helping,” Foley told the teams, emphasizing that the day was about making personal connections and influencing lives – those of the students as well as people in south Alabama communities.
Foley said the university takes a practical, hands-on approach to cultivating life-change in its circle of influence, through classroom learning and community service alike.
“The University of Mobile mission of ‘Changing Lives to Change the World’ isn’t about education alone – it’s about transforming the nation by meeting both spiritual and physical needs of people. Through Project Serve, UMobile impacts thousands of lives by being the hands and feet of the gospel of Christ throughout the community,” Foley said.
About the University of Mobile:
The University of Mobile is a Baptist-affiliated university located in Mobile, Ala., on an 880-acre campus near Gulf Coast beaches. More than 1,600 students are enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Christian Leadership, School of Business, School of Christian Ministries, School of Education, School of Nursing, School of Worship Leadership, Center for Performing Arts/School of Music and Center for Adult Programs.
For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu
or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.
More than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees volunteered
UMobile Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Wilson, left, works with men's basketball
manager Megan Archer and head Coach and Athletic Director Joe Niland on one
of four Habitat for Humanity builds that UMobile's Rams student/athletes worked on
College of Arts & Sciences students load school supplies to take to USA
Children's and Women's hospital, where pediatric patients have a classroom
UMobile President Dr. Mark Foley and students visit a patient at USA Children's
and Women's hospital in Mobile, Alabama
School of Education students play with children at the Regional School for the
Deaf and Blind in the Mobile County Public School System
Photo from Project Serve 2012 of Ember Langley and her friend Harry, who passed away