“I saw a picture on the front page of The Daily Progress of UVA students camped out in the rain waiting to sign up to volunteer at Madison House,” Karin remembers. “It was so far beyond anything that I understood about students. It was amazing.”
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.
Madison House Alumna Discusses Food Justice
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.