UServe: Connecting Students to the Community

Our November 2020 blog describes the active citizen continuum model, which suggests a process of experiential learning that focuses on questioning, understanding, and implementing actions to address social issues. UServe is based on this model and is an interactive civic engagement program at UNA that was developed in 2019 as the brainchild of Community Service and Outreach and the Mitchell-West Center of Social Inclusion. Since its inception, Housing and Residence Life has been an instrumental co-sponsor for the monthly educational component before our service event.



UServe is an interactive, monthly program that incorporates education, training, service, and reflection to create dynamic social change. Each month focuses on the social challenges that exist today and connects students with local agencies and organizations that work with those specific topics to help provide a better understanding and experience. Each of our UServe monthly programs also address equity and ways to create more inclusive practices. In the past, we have focused on the following in our community: food insecurity, disability support, homelessness, youth mentoring, intimate partner violence, and Native American culture.

We are happy to announce that we will be partnering with the Shoals Dream Center for our October UServe event. On their website, it states that they “exist to make an impact throughout Northwest Alabama by being a hub of practical help and life-giving hope to families. Here, donors and supporters are given the opportunity to make a direct impact in their neighbors’ lives through the provision of food, resources, programs and mentoring for at-risk kids, addiction recovery resources, and life skills training.” The Shoals Dream Center runs the Dream Center Academy (DCA), which provides a caring and committed environment for children through an after-school program where they engage in learning activities and social and emotional development training three days a week. The Shoals Dream Center also organizes a food assistance program. Their website states that 24.4 percent of the people in the Shoals community live below the poverty level, which is double the national rate of 12.3 percent. The Shoals Dream Center “addresses this need by distributing approximately two million pounds of food each year to more than 12,000 people.” 

The education, orientation, and training will be held on Tuesday, October 5 at 5:30 pm at the Rivers Hall Patio. Food will be provided by Housing and Residence Life. The service project will be held on Tuesday, October 12 at the Shoals Dream Center. More details will be provided soon and transportation is available if needed. You can find registration information here.


women of action


We are thrilled to partner with The Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) for our November UServe event. AIDB provides comprehensive education and service programs for children and adults who are deaf, blind, deafblind, and multi-disabled and supports for their families. We are fortunate to have a local AIDB Regional Center located in Tuscumbia directly across from the Helen Keller Library. At this location, they provide case management, adjustment counseling, assistive technology, a deaf lab, lending library, and public awareness presentations for the deaf and hard of hearing. Services for the blind and visually impaired include case management, adjustment counselling, assistive technology (e.g., computer lab/computer training, iPhone training, minor tech support, and access to the Low Vision Center), support group, consumer store, descriptive video services, lending library, Braille production, and community education. AIDB also provides early intervention services for ages 0-3, American Sign Language classes, Sign Language interpreter services, job development, community services, and the Alabama Telecommunication Access Program (ATAP).

The education, training, and orientation will be held on Tuesday, November 2 at 5:30 pm in Mattielou Hall. Food will be provided by Housing and Residence Life. A service project and simulation will be held on Tuesday, November 9 at 5:30 pm in the GUC Banquet Halls. Food will also be provided for this event. You can find registration information here.


image stating it is ok to not be ok


We are excited about the opportunities for education and service this semester, and hope that you will join us. Equity and inclusion is at the heart of each of our UServe monthly programs and you will see this as you learn about the Shoals Dream Center and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. We encourage you to attend the educational component even if you cannot attend the service event. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like for us to organize a UServe event around a topic that you are passionate about.