Thursday, February 26, 2004

Anniston, Bessemer youth fast, become ‘homeless’ to help others

Matthew Wilson tries to shield himself from the cold during HillCrest Baptist's homelessness event.

By Theresa Shadrix
The Alabama Baptist
February 26, 2004

As most teenagers in Alabama prepare for weekend nights of fun on the town, some youth are putting aside this social frivolity for lessons in gratitude. Teenagers in the youth group at Hillcrest Baptist Church, Anniston, gathered Jan. 23 in the parking lot of the church to experience homelessness.

They unfolded cardboard boxes suitable for shelter and spread blankets for warmth. Fifty-five gallon drums for fires littered the concrete.

While the rules included being able to bring blankets and empty boxes, aid from electricity was not allowed. The 70 youth and adults who participated also had to defeat hunger brought on by the 24-hour fast, which started at 6 a.m. the day of the event.

The event was organized by Tim Thomas, Hillcrest’s youth pastor. To coincide with the event the youth collected two truckloads of used blankets, coats, gloves and clothes to donate to Calhoun County shelters that assist the homeless.

“We are attempting to get teenagers out of their comfort zone and get out of the ordinary lifestyle,” Thomas said.

He believes it is only the start of teaching the youth to meet the needs of people in the community. “We have no idea where it is going to end up, but we know where it is going to start,” he said.

Maghen Haynes, 18, said the experience offered her a lifetime of gratitude.

“At first I did not know if I could handle it, but I don’t regret it. I realize now that I don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

The Wellborn High School senior encourages other youth groups to have similar awareness events because it unites people.

The National Coalition for the Homeless indicates approximately 39 percent of the homeless population are children.

The most at risk for becoming homeless are people living in poverty. A growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty are primarily to blame for h0omelessness.

Hunger is a major part of homelessness. To combat world hunger teenagers from Loveless Park Baptist Church, Bessemer, will observe a fast for world hunger Feb. 27–28.

For 30 hours more than 30 students are expected to go without food after asking sponsors to donate money that will go to World Vision, a nonprofit organization coordinating efforts to relieve world hunger in many countries.

“This will bring our students to an awareness they have never felt before,” said Will Nahrgang, minister to youth.

To begin the Friday and Saturday World Vision 30-Hour Famine the youth will begin fasting at 12:30 p.m. wherever they are on Friday. They will gather at the church at 6:30 p.m. to begin a night of varied group activities. The event will end 6:30 Saturday evening.

Nahrgana cited World Vision statistics that 29,000 children in the world die every day from hunger and other problems. It takes $30 to feed and care for a child for one month and $360 to feed a child for a year.

“I know that when we participate in the 30-hour famine we will be changing lives and spreading the love of Christ to those in need,” he said.

His youth group’s goal is to raise $7,200 — enough to feed 20 children for one year in a developing country. (Anthony Wade contributed)

Copyright 2005© The Alabama Baptist. All Rights Reserved. Contact The Alabama Baptist

Thursday, January 01, 2004

About Me

Before I started teaching in 2012, I was the Managing Editor of Longleaf Style magazine and Special Publications Editor at The Anniston Star. This job offered me a chance to fulfill my dream of being a journalist, but I felt something was missing from my life. I didn't even know something was missing until I became a teacher. 

I've been married to Mickey for 28 years and we have two sons, Solomon and Simeon.  

PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

LIFE-LONG JOURNEY
My philosophy of education reflects the idea of a life-long journey of learning. From the first breath to the last, education is a constant process. As John Dewey said, “Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; it is life itself.”

INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING
Individualized learning and individualized success is important to me. In order to understand how to teach a student, I feel that I must understand the whole student and his or her personal journey. Each student brings experiences from his or her home, culture, and social life to the classroom. So, when a student enters my classroom, I have no preconceived ideas about the student. I value only what I witness for myself and seek to help each student learn in his or her unique way. My desire is for every student to take responsibility for his/her learning and to be motivated to excel.

ACTIVE AND FREE

Learning, to me, is active. In Progressivism, the foundation of learning is not passive. I appreciate the Progressive belief that learners are seen as problem solvers and thinkers. To me, engagement in the process of learning is essential to success. An environment that embraces communication and fluid learning between the student, the community, family, and school is important.

EDUCATION 
Master of Science in Education, Secondary Education, ELA 
Expected graduation date: Fall 2017 
Jacksonville State University 
Jacksonville, AL 

Bachelor of Social Work 
Minor: Sociology 
Graduated: 1996 
Jacksonville State University 
Jacksonville, AL 

CERTIFICATIONS 
TEACHING 
Career Technical Education Certificate 
Alabama Department of Education 
Valid: 7/1/2013 - 6/30/2018    
Specialty Area 3, Career and Technical (CS3)    
Grade Level: 6-12    
Technical Education (025)    
Technical Education: Advertising Design (T01)    
Technical Education: Graphic Arts (T18) 

SOCIAL WORK 
Licensed Bachelor Social Work 
Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners 
Valid: 3/1/1997-3/31/2007 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS 
Alabama Education Association (AEA) 
Alabama Association for Career & Technical Education (ALACTE) 
Association for Supervision & Curriculum (ASCD) 
National Education Association (NEA) 
Phi Delta Kappa 

PRESENTATIONS 
Freedom's Choice 
CORE Academy, Jacksonville State University, 2015 
The Freedom Rides of 1961 and some Calhoun County residents clashed on May 14, 1961 when members of a local Klan Kavern burned the Greyhound bus in the Welborn community and beat Freedom Riders on the Trailways bus. This workshop focused on the local history of the Greyhound bus, the photos taken by Joe Postiglione for The Anniston Star, and ways to teach the topic in secondary schools. 

Cover It!  
CORE Academy, Jacksonville State University, 2015 
Workshop about communications, journalism and media in classroom projects. 

Augmented Reality in the Classroom 
CORE Academy, Jacksonville State University, 2014 
Augmented Reality (AR) is a merging of the physical and virtual reality worlds. Using an iPad, iPhone, or Android device, apps like Aurasma and Layar allow a printed page to link with digital content, like websites, videos, coupons, social media, photo galleries, 3D animations, and audio. The Anniston Star: http://webmedia.newseum.org/newseum-multimedia/tfp_archive/2014-06-06/pdf/AL_AS.pdf 

Connect. Create. Change 
CORE Academy, Jacksonville State University, 2014. 
Integration of technology in the classroom. Using digital art and media projects to allow students to Connect to the topic, Create a project, and Change the way the student learns. Connect. Create. Change.