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Thank you, Brittney Paulk

Photo by Chris Meyer
Photo by Chris Meyer

Here’s a story about Brittney Paulk, an Indiana University senior who spearheaded the “Adopt-A-Nonprofit” program that resulted in Eigenmann Hall adopting the South Central Community Action Program this year.

This story is from the website for University Communications at: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/12150.html

Volunteer spotlight: IU senior Brittney Paulk starts program to match residence halls, nonprofits

To Indiana University senior Brittney Paulk, community is everything.

Paulk’s childhood wasn’t easy. Growing up, she relied on neighbors to take care of her, provide her with basic necessities and even make sure she attended school. Despite the hardship, her natural giving spirit was apparent early on. At just 7, Paulk began volunteering to help other kids — through the same program that also ensured she had enough to eat — handing out sandwiches to needy families in local parks.

Now a resident assistant at IU’s Teter Hall, she frequently assists students who need advice or campus resources. As a sophomore, she was a community service event coordinator for the Groups Program, for which she organized 15 community service projects at food banks and homeless shelters.

Eight months ago, she pitched “Adopt-a-Nonprofit,” her idea for a community service initiative that would pair IU residence halls with area nonprofit organizations, to Robert Weith, director for residential operations of Residential Programs and Services (RPS). Weith brough the idea to the RPS advisory council, which adopted Paulk’s idea. With the theme “poverty” in mind for the program’s inaugural year, the advisory council selected 11 area nonprofits that serve people in poverty to match with IU’s 11 residence halls (each residence hall houses about 1,100 students).

Each residence hall will conduct its own fundraising efforts and activities on behalf of each agency’s special needs. A graduate supervisor and a resident assistant will coordinate the voluntary activities in each hall.

Paulk said she hopes that the initiative will encourage student and staff involvement in community service, as well as increase students’ awareness of non-profit organizations within the community.

“We don’t think of poverty as a next-door neighbor. This program aims to bring community issues back to forefront,” Paulk said. “Poverty is not something happening only in Third World countries. It’s something in our own community that needs to be addressed.”

The local organizations that will be served by the project include: Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, My Sister’s Closet, Middle Way House, South Central Community Action Program, Backstreet Mission, Salvation Army, Stepping Stones, Habitat for Humanity, Shalom Community Center, Community Kitchen and Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Paulk said her residence hall, Teter, conducted a toiletries drive for Shalom Community Center in August during new resident move-in day.

Meanwhile, she is working with the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network to allow student volunteers to track their volunteer hours for the residence halls on its Web site.

Paulk plans to join the Peace Corps after she graduates from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (with a degree in health administration). She will always be grateful to those who have helped her in her growing up years.

“I want to give resources to others and help build a strong community,” Paulk said. “Strong communities build strong people.”

IU Residence Hall-Nonprofit Pairings

  • Ashton: Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
  • Briscoe: My Sister’s Closet
  • Collins Living Learning Center: Middle Way House
  • Eigenmann: South Central Community Action Program
  • Forest: Backstreet Missions
  • Foster: Salvation Army
  • McNutt: Stepping Stones
  • Read: Habitat for Humanity
  • Teter: Shalom Community Center
  • Willkie: Community Kitchen of Monroe County
  • Wright Quadrangle: Hoosier Hills Food Bank
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