Roughly 3,000 students a year volunteer through Madison House. Nearly 40,000 have participated since the center opened in September 1969, according to Tim Freilich (Col ’93, Law ’99), executive director of Madison House and a volunteer there during his undergrad years. In 2018-19 alone, he estimates, students contributed more than 108,000 hours to local projects, from adopt-a-grandparent programs and teacher’s aide positions to patient-care roles at hospitals and free clinics. […] “You can’t learn this type of leadership through a textbook,” Freilich says. “The experience that our 300 student leaders get as they lead their peers is probably the most valuable thing that Madison House does.”
Madison House, the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students, [was] founded (in its current iteration) shortly before Camille. This year also marks its 50th anniversary.
“My own opinion is that student response to Camille had a great deal to do with subsequent support for Madison House,” Casteen wrote. “It had existed before Camille, and its people had always had their own active lives, but the work following Camille made everyone grow up very quickly.
“Campus Compact came along two decades later. Madison House and its volunteers invented their model on their own.” It’s a model that has worked well over the last half-century.
“Madison House has been what its creators and student volunteers hoped it would be – a catalyst for action by students to benefit surrounding communities and a constructive force in the lives of people living in communities around us,” Casteen wrote.
Shantell Bingham is Program Director of the Charlottesville Food Justice Network at City Schoolyard Garden, sits on the board of the Charlottesville Alliance for Black Male Achievement, chairs the Human Rights Commission and is a Dalai Lama Fellowship recipient. That list is just a few of her achievements. The UVa graduate and North Carolina native goes to work every day with one goal in mind: end food inequality and make sure everyone in the community has access to healthy and nutritious food.
“Right now that’s not the case,” Bingham said. “People of low income and of color have less access to healthy food options than others, for a number of reasons. That needs to change. I’m part of a collaborative movement that can make that happen.”
Eight Madison House Volunteers Receive Fulbright Scholarships:
“I think of it as a way for me to understand the power and value behind immersion,” Baphna said. “My future career in public health may involve attempting to understand the experience of other people so that I can figure out what is the best way to help them access the resources they need. For that, I need to have knowledge on how to best communicate with them. More so than that, I must learn how to understand the people I am working with so as to respect who they are and where they come from.”
Corinne Singh, an anthropology major, received the Community Service Award. Early in her undergraduate career, Singh learned that the Charlottesville Free Clinic lacked clinicians to draw blood samples. In response, Singh trained for and earned a phlebotomy certificate and began volunteering weekly at the clinic, serving a critical need. She also has inspired fellow students to become involved with Madison House’s Special Olympics program and with the emergency department at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.
“The Charlottesville community is healthier and better off thanks to her service,” [trustee Mariana Brazao] stated.
She is a researcher working in labs in the biology, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery departments. Also a Madison House volunteer, she is a founder and head program director of the Creative Learning After School and Summer Program; a program director with Madison House Medical Services; a member of the Madison House HELP Line Outreach Team….
[During Alita’s] first semester, she ventured to Madison House, the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students.
“When I found Rise Together [through Madison House], I felt like their initiative, and just talking about my experiences and topics like bullying, was important to [the students],” she said. “I thought it was a really great initiative that I was glad to be a part of.”
Last spring, through Madison House, the independent, nonprofit volunteer center for UVA students, Duckett volunteered for a program called Creating Assets, Savings and Hope, or CASH, which helps people file their taxes.
“That was by far one of my favorite memories of UVA,” Duckett said. “It’s something I think a lot of us take for granted.
“There were clients we had who were refugees from Afghanistan and didn’t speak English. Being able to help someone and seeing people’s faces when they got a refund was amazing… For a lot of people, an extra $1,000 may go toward a new TV, but for our clients $1,000 was more of a lifeline.”
Harrington found many ways to contribute – to the University and the community beyond baseball. He got involved with an organization called Team IMPACT, which connects seriously ill children with collegiate athletic teams. He also volunteers at Madison House, and with several other student volunteer organizations.
“We have this great platform as student-athletes,” he said. “We have an opportunity and a responsibility to be good role models for kids and society generally. And it’s fun, being with a great group of guys doing something of benefit to others.”
Through Batten projects and her volunteer work with Madison House’s Cavs in the Classroom, and even in ballet, Sarah has learned a set of leadership skills that combine organization and attention to detail with a dancer’s confidence and grace.
“I knew I enjoyed school and I love learning,” Alexander said. Working with young pupils through Cavs in the Classroom – not to mention growing up in Louisiana, with a struggling public education system – has shown her firsthand the importance of education, she said. “I believe the solutions to our problems lie with making sure we have an educated citizenry.”
The tabling event was the first of its kind and featured a series of stress-relieving activities.
Students stopped by South Lawn over the course of three hours Thursday afternoon to participate in a “Mental Health on the Lawn” event. Hosted by Madison House’s Help Line, If You’re Reading This and National Alliance on Mental Illness on Grounds — three student organizations dedicated to providing students with the resources and help they need for a wide variety of situations relating to mental health and mental illness — the event focused on promoting a healthy and transparent mental health culture on Grounds.
This past Saturday, April 13, hundreds of University students came out to participate in the Madison House BIG Event. Through service-oriented activities at various locations around Charlottesville, the BIG Event promotes campus and community unity as students come together for one day to express their gratitude for the support from the surrounding community.
The event was focused on celebrating Baddeliyanage’s memories and positive impacts on the community.
The University community hosted a “Celebration of Life” event Sunday morning in Old Cabell Hall for Rehan Baddeliyanage, the fourth-year Engineering student who unexpectedly passed away in an accident over spring break. The remembrance event was followed by a reception in the McIntire School of Commerce’s Art Gallery and Courtyard. Approximately 200 people were in attendance.
More than 200 volunteers spent the day working at one of 29 job sites as part of the fifth annual BIG Event, a one-day event sponsored by Madison House, the independent, nonprofit UVA student volunteer center.
Although University students regularly spend time on community service throughout the year, working through Madison House and other programs, the annual event brings out a concentrated group effort every spring. Started in 2015, it’s one day when students come together to express their gratitude for the surrounding community and its ongoing support.
Fourth-year College student Alex Cintron is the first Latinx Student Council president in the University’s history.
As the first Latinx Student Council president in the University’s history Cintron said that, while he felt uncomfortable in some environments which the position required him to engage with, his perspective empowered him to act differently than previous Student Council presidents.
“This is my form of resisting what has been the normal narrative for Student Council president,” Cintron said.
Influential Madison House program allows volunteer musicians to play for patients during long hospital stays.
When fourth-year College student Grant Frazier decided to combine his passions of music and medicine, he began working with Madison House to bring music into the hospital setting. This idea led to the creation of Harmonies for Healing, a program which sends three student musicians to the University’s Transitional Care Hospital each day with hopes of improving the lives of both patients and medical staff.
Every year, I pick up a different Madison House program as well, it just depends on what's going to fit my schedule the best! Through Madison House, I've volunteered with New Century Hospice, where I would act as a companion once a week to patients. As a companion, my job was mainly reading, playing board games, passing the time, or just listening to what the patients wanted to say. I initially joined because I was pre-med at the time, but I stayed with the program for the eye-opening and rewarding experience. It was decidedly the most difficult volunteering experience I've ever had, due to the nature of the position. But I always felt like I was doing something that mattered; a little act of kindness goes a long way.
When I first became a student at UVA, I was so impressed with all the great programs available in Charlottesville and through Madison House that allowed for interaction and mentorship between kids in the community and college-age students. I was eager to get involved with one of the nearby elementary schools, and I was told about the great work that Abundant Life had been doing at Johnson Elementary. Soon after, I began attending the afternoon tutoring sessions at the school and working with a second grader named Abdikhayr. Our time together has continued on this year, and I still see him once a week as he is moving along through the third grade.
The panel discussed how civic engagement can look like anything from going to Charlottesville City Council meetings to simply getting off Grounds.
Freilich said community service like through the Madison House is a great way to do that.
"The most important part is personal relationship," he said. "That way our students are hearing the stories of folks in the community and gaining first-hand knowledge of what's actually happening here in Charlottesville."
Matt Wajsgras, a fourth-year Engineering student and Madison House HALO program director, said his experience volunteering helped him better understand the Charlottesville community surrounding the University.
“When you get a new guest that hasn’t been there before one of the first things they do is they’ll come up and ask about case managers and what options they have for affordable housing and stuff,” Wajsgras said. “So you do hear a lot about it, and you can tell it’s something that’s one of the primary issues.”
UVA’s 750 student-athletes routinely take time out from classes, practices and games to volunteer in the community – in schools, in hospitals, at Habitat for Humanity builds, assisted-living facilities, Special Olympics events and more.
Some of UVA’s student-athletes volunteer through Athletes Committed to Education, or ACE, a Madison House program that connects more than 50 student-athletes to local elementary schools. They visit the schools on a weekly basis, allowing them to form strong bonds with students week after week, year after year.
Jaime Lear is a second-year chemistry major with a sign language minor. Currently, Jaime volunteers through Madison House as a patient ambassador at the hospital where she fulfills deliveries and special requests from patients by visiting the different floors with a cart of entertaining things to offer, such as magazines or crossword puzzles.
An Echols Scholar and a College Science Scholar, Cheng also received the 2018 George C. and Carroll F.M. Seward Scholarship (a College of Arts & Sciences Deans’ Scholarship), a College of Arts & Sciences Small Research and Travel Grant and the Laurie Lee Woolen Memorial Scholarship. A dean’s list student and recipient of Intermediate Honors, she chairs the College Science Scholars Council; is a program director for the Madison House Adopt-a-Grandparent Program….
An Echols Scholar and College Science Scholar, Dove-Anna Johnson is a member of the Daniel Hale PreMed Honor Society; American Medical Student Association; the Undergraduate Research Network; OneWay InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; the Cavalier Symphony Orchestra; and is a Madison House volunteer for Medical Services.
Caroline Hallowell is a second-year in the College of Arts & Sciences and serves as the Head Program Director for Madison House's Summer Programs and as the Coordinating Program Director for Madison House Medical Services. Caroline also is a volunteer in the Acute Pediatric Program at UVA Health System and a Project SERVE Site Leader.
The event was hosted by the Madison House, an independent volunteer student center.
"Hosting the IMPACT conference has been a chance for us to bring over 550 or so students and administrators from around the country here to Charlottesville to learn from some of our incredible nonprofit leaders, local activists," stated Tim Freilich, Executive Director of Madison House.
“When access to food is not consistent and dependable, a household is classified as food insecure,” Jane Colony Mills, Loaves & Fishes’ executive director, said. A UVA alumna, Mills herself volunteered with Madison House in a different program when she was a student.
Children make up almost 36 percent of the clientele served at the food pantry, and the percentage of senior citizens has more than doubled to nearly 14 percent, Mills said.
Janee Murray is a fourth-year in the College of Arts & Sciences double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and History. Janee is involved with the University's service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega; volunteers with both Madison House and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center; and has been recognised by Student Council as a Service Scholar.
On Saturday, January 26th, 2019, Madison House will hold a food drive in celebration of #CharterDay. We encourage all those who wish to donate to bring at least one item from the list shared below. Thank you for helping to combat food insecurity within our Charlottesville community!