Torrence Banks, Managing Editor
A few things have changed this semester for the Morehouse College UPS Community Service Scholars Program. First, the scholar program returned to the Bonner Office of Community Service, which is responsible for the daily management of the program established by retired administrator, Dr. Anne Wimbush Watts in 1996.
Second, scholars served virtually in the west Atlanta, assisting instructors by providing one-on-one tutoring to students in the areas of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies at Fickett Elementary School of the Atlanta Public Schools system. The goal of this tutoring is to increase the understanding of concepts in preparation for the Georgia Milestone. Assistant Director of the Bonner Office of Community Service, Kevin D. Chapman, Jr. ’06, was excited about the return of the third community service scholar program.
“Dr. Whitney and I really enjoy our role of fulfilling the college’s mission of leadership and service through our office,” Chapman said. “Our scholars are learning what it means to be great neighbors, active citizens and social change agents, which provides great examples to the youth as well as strengthens west Atlanta communities and the communities that our scholars will join beyond Morehouse.”
Co-Lead of Morehouse’s UPS Scholars Program Nikeidrick Trimble ‘22 said, “The UPS Community Service Scholar Program is funded by the UPS Foundation and funds 10 scholars from each of the Atlanta University Center institutions. The scholars provide tutoring instruction to students and assist teachers at Atlanta Public School’s Fickett.
“My favorite part about working with the UPS Scholars Program would definitely be working with the students. I think that working with them, I’ve learned a lot about the K-12 education system, the school to prison pipeline and just how impacting the students is really powerful.”
Trimble is going into his third year in the program. Being the Co-Lead of the program puts more responsibility on his plate. During his first year in the program, Trimble was passive.
“I think my first year, I was a little apprehensive about the program,” Trimble said. “I didn’t know much about it. That was my first time teaching students. Now, being in my third year, I have the experience to educate the students, understand the students more and learn how to articulate myself better to help them understand the topics that we’re teaching them.”
Morehouse College sophomore Zachariah Smith ‘23 really enjoys working with the students at Fickett Elementary. Although his service is virtual, he can still feel the impact that he has on them.
“I really do enjoy being there for them,” Smith said. “Usually, it’s a bit easier to do so in person, but it’s still enjoyable from a distance.
“With us there, it just goes to show the importance of their education. I think that otherwise, they would feel that this semester is devalued. I think that they’re able to see that we’re working ourselves. We’re still doing work from home and we’re on our grind. I think a lot of them realize that they should be as well.”
Morehouse is a home away from home for many students. Smith initially got involved in community service because he wanted to create this feeling for other students.
“One reason why I serve is because we have the privilege to attend an institution that treats us with respect and we’re told that Black men can just be,” Smith said. “We should look to promote that same feeling in the area surrounding us.”
In addition to serving in the UPS Community Service Scholars Program, Smith is also the President of the Morehouse College chapter of First-Generation Investors Program. The goal of the program is to educate students on the investment process.
“Essentially, we go to local, underserved high schools, recruit a few students and we engage them in our curriculum, Smith said.
“The program originated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton and expanded to Harvard and Fordham. We’re trying to get it kicked off at Morehouse so we can be the first HBCU to adopt it.”
Cameron Thomas ‘21 is in his second year as a UPS Scholar. He serves as a fourth-grade math and science tutor at Fickett Elementary. He really likes being a positive role model for the students and has also learned a lot from tutoring the students.
“I like being able to help them see their strengths when they feel weak,” Thomas said. “Just being a voice for them and showing them that they can do anything that they put their mind to.
“Because I am a fourth-grade math tutor, it helps me work on my skills as well. It teaches me patience. It teaches me how to think analytically.”
Thomas first heard about the program during his freshman year when he went on a service trip to Chicago. He met then director of the program, Dr. Jamila Lyn, and learned more about it.
“I didn’t necessarily take advantage of it, but I got involved with it last year because I was looking for a way to give back and do community service, Thomas said.
“It’s a wonderful program to get involved with. It’s important to pave the way for those that come after you and by joining this program you will be doing that. You will be able to show young kids that they have the potential to go anywhere and do anything.”