CC students invited to change young lives

Colleen Roach, Staff Writer

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P.L.A.C.E. Fellows is partnering with Gable Oaks, a local apartment complex, and reaching out to CC students for mentoring opportunities for Columbia youth. The apartment complex has recently transferred between owners to a foundation that wants to remain private at this time. The new owners intend to renovate the apartments and add more amenities, such as a computer lab.

What they also need are Columbia College students, volunteers that the youth at Gable Oaks can see as constants in their lives and as individuals they can look up to.

“You have to want to do this. It’s not like doing two hours of service and signing a form,” said Roscoe Wilson, a representative of the company that has bought Gable Oaks.

P.L.A.C.E. Fellows is a student organization on campus that focuses on involvement in our local community and partners with nonprofit organizations.

“Students don’t think about having assets, but you do; you are a catalyst that can start a reaction,” said Dr. Tamara Burk, CC professor, program coordinator for communication studies and  director of the P.L.A.C.E. Fellows program.

“If you are mentoring, you are not trying to be their friend; you are trying to expand their minds and options to new ideas,” Destiny Smith, a P.L.A.C.E. Fellow member, said.

The new owners of Gable Oaks want to begin renovations to the facilities in February, and once they are complete, CC students are welcome to come and share their experiences with the youth.  

The renovations will include new appliances in the apartments, new carpeting or floors and any other work that may need. It will then be up to the tenants to maintain the state of the apartment. The renovations will also include adding a fully stocked computer lab, access to counseling services and after-school services for the children.

Anyone interested in mentoring youth in Gable Oaks should contact Dr. Burk via e-mail at [email protected]

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