Jean O’Connor-Snyder intern Katie Tindol reflects on Carl A. Elliot’s legacy in her thought piece from Jasper, Alabama.
Carl A. Elliott served eight consecutive terms in Congress and was the first-ever recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. A long-time Jasper resident, Elliott was an extraordinary individual who lived a long, productive and life centered around public service to Alabama and its citizens. Civic service was not only a defining priority in his life, but a value that Elliott inspired many to value themselves. Consequently, Elliott’s legacy lives on in many who call Jasper home fifty years after he left Congress. But this summer, when efforts to preserve Elliott’s Jasper home and the museum it houses struggled to come together, I began to look into what it might take to bring this idea to fruition.
Jean O’Connor-Snyder intern Logan Fenhouse reports on access to mental healthcare in her civic dispatch from Walker County.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, almost one in five of American adults will suffer from a mental illness of some form within the next year. In Walker County alone, that means nearly 13,000 of the almost 65,000 residents here will experience mental health problems. For a tight-knit small town like Jasper, this means that practically everyone knows someone, or are themselves, facing mental illness.
Jean O’Connor-Snyder intern Vaughn Gingerich reflects on small town America in his thought piece from Walker County.
I kept an open mind, having spoken with a previous intern who had a great experience, but didn’t quite know what to expect. Having grown up in Anchorage, Alaska, I had never spent much time in a rural setting before, let alone in the American South. So, when I first came to Jasper, my eyes mostly picked out what confirmed the stereotypes and assumptions people have about small, rural towns: vacated industrial properties, abandoned storefronts, and empty streets.
Jean O’Connor-Snyder intern Katie Tindol reflects on women’s roles in Walker County in her thought piece from Jasper, Alabama.
Over lunch at Jasper’s Victoria’s Café, the faculty sponsor of New College’s Walker County civic engagement internship, John Miller, uttered some words to me and my fellow Jean O’Connor Snyder Interns that have stuck with me since. As we talked about the end of our internship experience, Miller said, “You’ll never see a stronger civic infrastructure than here in Walker County”.
Jean O’Connor-Snyder intern Rolanda Tina Turner reflects on life skills education in her thought piece from Walker County.
Let’s be honest: Older generations are often astonished by how little today’s generation knows. Consider cars. Young Boomers spent endless afternoons tooling around with tie rods and carburetors. But today’s youth spend more time perfecting trip playlists than looking under the hood – assuming they can even find the latch.
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