An Opportunity of a Lifetime
Baylor's community service program is available as an afternoon activity for students in grades 6-12. An extremely industrious group, these students volunteer each afternoon to work with over 250 inner-city youths from eight different areas in Chattanooga – assisting with homework assignments, computer classes, music lessons, and art classes. Students work with a nearby pre-school and visit the elderly in a nursing home (you might also find them raking yards and doing chores to raise money for the "Jamaica Fund," which helps provide an education for children in Jamaica). During fall and winter breaks, a group of Upper School Community Service students travel to Asheville and Cherokee, N.C., where they work in a homeless shelter and with a family and children services agency. For spring break, they travel to Jamaica to work with abused children, a squatter's community, and the elderly.
As part of a grant writing course offered through the Community Service program, students identify various needs and service locations, then research, write, and present grant proposals before a panel of community leaders. Children in various service locations throughout Chattanooga have benefited from such programs as drama, astronomy, music, computer upgrades and training, Spanish tutoring, cultural understanding, African American history, and literacy and writing skills. Taylor McLachlan '03 was one of those grant recipients. " If I hadn't gone to Baylor, I don't know if I'd have gotten involved in community service," says Taylor McLachlan. "And I sure wouldn't have been as happy." Taylor shared that happiness with inner-city students each afternoon, under the stars and planets they studied together in an astronomy class she created just for them. Her astronomy lessons launched more than rockets: They launched futures.