MONROE, La. — Dr. John W. Sutherlin, associate professor of political science and director of the Social Science Research Lab (SSRL) at the University of Louisiana Monroe and graduate student Ashley Lawrence recently volunteered at Our House homeless shelter in Little Rock, Ark.
“It’s always a great reminder about how fortunate we are and that anyone of us could be homeless due to no fault of our own,” Sutherlin said.
Other volunteers came from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Leadership Initiative, which has funded the SSRL for the past three years. Sutherlin and Lawrence donated their service to help sort clothes alongside others from the DRA eight-state service.
“We hold training sessions throughout the Delta and always try to include a day of service,” Dr. Sutherlin said.
The DRA has always been involved in community outreach. The need of the community is what determines what type of service is provided. In New Orleans, for example, the DRA painted houses and cleaned up blighted properties.
Lawrence, a first year graduate student in program for Masters in Public Administration (MPA), says the experience with the DRA and the SSRL has made her graduate training more intense.
“I get to do what I am learning about in class. People in poverty need help and we have the ability to help them,” said Lawrence.
The SSRL works with the University of Alabama and Arkansas State University in a partnership for the DRA, and will continue to provide service for the DRA for at least another year.
For more information about ULM’s SSRL, visit http://www.ulm.edu/ssrl/.