Last week Justin Maddox and I traveled to my alma mater, Auburn University, where we spoke to an audience of Civic Engagement students led by Mark Wilson. Mark and Nan Fairley run the "Living Democracy" program which sends students into a rural community for a summer internship-of-sorts where the students participate in community service endeavors, live with a resident of the community and write about their experiences. Elba has been fortunate enough to have received students for the past three summers. Jelani Moore, our student from this past summer, joined us in class where we shared the story of Restoration 154, our mission, our dreams, our challenges and our motivations.
We also had an opportunity to attend a "campus conversation" meeting where we discussed the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind". It's a great story about a boy from Malawi who grows up with very little, but manages to teach himself how to construct a windmill, which provided electricity to his home and later to construct another one that provided irrigation to crops. His story parallels our own in that we are trying to building something where there are so few resources. I'm so proud of Philip and Justin and the work they have done with Pea River Outdoors. It's bringing in TOURISTS to ELBA! Again, creating something where before there was very little...
I had such a nice time visiting Auburn and hope that we can continue to strengthen the relationship with them in the future.