For the fourth consecutive year, Allstate helped keep the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. alive through its Give Back Day program. The insurance company encouraged citizens across the nation to use the holiday as an opportunity to serve their communities. Allstate also honored those who dedicated themselves to year round service, naming them the 2012 Give Back Day Heroes. This year, Atlanta’s own Alexandria Phillips shares this distinction with Joyce Calvin of Chicago, Robert Cradle of Baltimore, and John Darjean of Dallas.
Philips, a Senior and International Studies major at Spelman College, chose to use her “day off” to organize a painting and beautification project at Humphries Elementary School with the help of of former NFL quarterback and co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation, Rodney Peete. The project served to remind students that their community cares about their learning environment. Phillips dedicates her free time to the youth of Atlanta year round by mentoring and tutoring elementary school students before and after school. Her nine year old sister, who is in fourth grade, inspired her to stay connected with young children. “A lot of the students I work with don’t have older brothers and sisters in college or parents they can look up to, so I really want to set that example. And even if they do have someone at home, I’m that extra mentor who is around consistently,” Phillips explains.
As a student and member of Delta Sigma Theta, Student United Way, Actively Changing Tomorrow through Service (ACTS), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Phillips has quite a busy schedule, but she always finds a way to volunteer. “I’ve been making time for it my whole life, and I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t have time get involved in the community and give back,” she says. Phillips is also a community service scholar at Spelman, which requires her to do 280 hours of service during the school year. Yet she encourages others to serve for a fraction of that. “Even if you don’t have much free time, there are a lot of community service projects that take place on a Saturday morning, like the one at Humphries Elementary. You can always go around your community and clean up. It doesn’t require a lot of tools or a lot of time,” she continues.
“Another way that you can give back if you don’t have a lot of free time is by educating people. So even in my conversations, I try to keep to everything that’s going on in the world in the forefront of people’s minds,” Phillips explains. But she does much more than keep the conversation going. In 2011, she served as Haiti Team intern at the Clinton Foundation and worked on the Event Operations team as Whisper Room Logistics Assistant for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. Recently, she was named an Opportunity Nation Scholar and attended the summit and leadership institute in New York City.
And while Phillips has been involved in several global initiatives, she believes it’s equally important to serve locally. “That’s the community where I have to wake up and live every day. I want it to thrive and succeed, and I want my global community to do the same,” she explains. Phillips encourages other youths to serve by, “being involved in different schools, working with the before, after and during school programs, and by continuing to let children know that I’m taking time out of my day as a college student to come and hang out for tutoring and things like that.”
Upon graduating from Spelman, Phillips plans to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.