Children from all over Miami spent Saturday morning dancing and bouncing at the University of Miami as part of Black Awareness Month’s (BAM) annual Day of Service.
Hosted by United Black Students (UBS), the service event invited more than 90 students from local community centers for workshops on tutorials in math and English, Black history games and a bounce house on the UC patio. Participants also made get-well cards for Miami Children’s Hospital.
This year’s goal was to “bring the children on campus, shed some light on black culture and just make sure they were having a good time, and see college in a positive light overall,” said Victoria Graham, a co-chair of BAM Day of Service.
Rebecca Carter, who is Graham’s BAM Day of Service co-chair, said the volunteers were the most crucial part in making the day run smoothly.
“They all provided a very welcoming environment for the kids,” she said.
Carter and Graham were able to get in touch with community centers with help from the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership.
One of the community centers at the event was Touching Miami with Love. The center’s mission is to promote the Christian faith and “love of Christ” by providing hope, opportunities and resources with the Overtown community.
“I think it’s good to see a lot kids from various areas of Miami have the opportunity to come to the University of Miami, touch bases with people who look like them and have the opportunity to incorporate themselves with different cultures, different people, and different activities,” said Christopher Meeks, program instructor at Touching Miami with Love.
Lawrence Rolle, president of Brothers Overcoming Negativity and Destruction, believes this event is important because it allows community children to look up to and learn from university students.
“It seems we definitely had an impact on a lot of students. It’s good to see children at this campus, seeing what it could be like in terms of their future,” he said. “It just feels good knowing we’re making a difference on people’s lives. It was great experience.”
Nareka Trewick, a UBS member, explained that Day of Service is her favorite BAM event because it allows students to interact with the community and helps them branch out of the UM campus.
“I hope the volunteers gained a little perspective into what goes on in the Miami community outside of Coral Gables,” she said.
UBS hosts a number of events dedicated to making the student body aware of the different social, economic and academic contributions of the African-American community throughout February.
BAM events will conclude on Feb. 26.
Featured image courtesy Steven Sheats of Flickr.