Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

The pursuit of service

Wofford students to volunteer in Dallas this summer through Project Transformation

Project Comm Trans 382

Revitalizing inner cities, mentoring children and keeping them learning and reading over the summer — that's what two Wofford College first-year students are doing right now.

Working in partnership with the United Methodist Church and AmeriCorps, Claire Scavone, a Spanish and government major from Charlotte, N.C., and Emily Griffin, a Spanish major from Fair Play, S.C., have been selected to serve in Project Transformation’s Greater Dallas program.

“Project Transformation serves both the children and their families in these communities in many ways,” says Griffin. “The program I will be serving under will mostly focus on increasing reading levels and engaging the students in better educational experiences.”

According to Scavone, the goal is to prevent summer slide, or the loss of educational gains that happens when children are not in school five days a week. Project Transformation’s goal also is to offer children a safe, constructive environment during summer months. The program aims to be a model of ministry and service that produces leaders, changes communities and transforms lives. Both Scavone and Griffin are living at Southern Methodist University during their summer experience. From there they will travel to a local church to help with the summer literacy programs.

“Reading is so crucial to a child’s education, and I’m so excited to see firsthand how the children develop their skills,” says Scavone. “I hope to pass on my love of learning to the children that I’ll be working with because getting them excited about learning can open so many different doors and opportunities.”

Many of the students enrolled in the program are Hispanic so they also must overcome a language barrier. Both Griffin and Scavone hope to use the skills they’ve learned in Wofford Spanish classes to help bridge the gap.

“I’ve had a fair share of community service experiences, but I’ve never made such a large commitment,” says Griffin. “This will take up my entire summer, but I’m so excited, and I’m looking forward to committing more time because it will allow me to invest more in my internship and in the students that I will be serving.”

Scavone expects to make an impact.

“This year I’ve volunteered with kindergarteners at Arcadia Elementary School where we do similar exercises, working on reading and homework. It is so easy to see how much progress all of the children have made since September and to see how much more confident they are in their reading and writing skills. I find this work so fulfilling and important, says Scavone. “I’m so grateful to be able to partake in this process with even more children through Project Transformation.”

Affiliated with AmeriCorps, Project Transformation serves more than 1,000 underserved children each year from sites in Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. With its mission of engaging young adults in purposeful leadership and ministry to support underserved children and families and connect churches to communities in need, Project Transformation relies on 100 student interns every summer.

by Kelsey Aylor, Wofford Class of 2018