News & Highlights

SMU Student Volunteers Make a Big Impact for Little Kids

A dozen students from Southern Methodist University in Dallas spent their fall break with Collaborative for Children. For three days in October these students volunteered at the College Bound from Birth child care center Alpha Academy #2 in Houston’s Aldine neighborhood. 2016 is the second year in a row that a group of students have volunteered to build a better future for young children as part of SMU’s Alternative Break student-led service program.

Site visit co-leaders Evan Caston ’16 and Rebecca Yuan ’16 selected Collaborative for Children for their Alternative Break to improve the learning environment for young children at Alpha Academy #2. After assisting with power-washing the main driveway, Rebecca said, “I think we’ve made a positive impact in being able to utilize our man-power in completing tasks that the teachers don’t have time for on a day-to-day basis.”

In addition to power-washing, the SMU students spent their weekend mulching two playgrounds and designing, sanding, painting and assembling a music wall. After finishing ahead of schedule, the student group insisted on doing more and also helped clean out Alpha Academy’s garage and storage space. Evan Caston commented that his favorite experience was cleaning out the garage because it was a project that was not previously planned, showing how much the students were getting done.

On Sunday, each student reflected on their accomplishments and their experience working with Cynthia Miranda, the director of Alpha Academy #2. This was the first service project at the child care center since its enrollment in College Bound from Birth. Cynthia expressed her appreciation for the students’ work, noting, “The work they completed is work the teachers are not able to do because they are busy with the daily events in the classroom and working with parents.” Cynthia and her staff were grateful that the SMU students were willing and eager to dedicate their free time during their fall break to young children in Aldine.