Spirit of Alabama: The House Tuscaloosa Offers Welcoming Learning Environment
At first glance, it’s a nice brick home where any family might enjoy living. But it’s so much more than that, as two University of Alabama students can tell you.
Quin Kelly Jr. and Alexus Cumbie serve on the board of directors of The House Tuscaloosa.
“What we hope to do with our literacy center is to give children the basic building blocks to have a successful life and to prolong their life,” said Kelly.
Kelly and Cumbie spend a lot of time working in a quaint brick house on the Stillman College campus. It once served as the home of the school’s president, but it’s been vacant for about 20 years. Now, it’s coming back to life with a new mission: ensuring children are literate.
“Literacy is understanding, not just reading, but understanding,” Kelly said. “So our focus right now is educational literacy, spiritual literacy and musical literacy, but we hope to expand that to other areas.”
“Quin and I and the rest of the board, we come here almost every single day, multiple times a week to paint and to sand things down and to move furniture,” Cumbie said. “It’s been a smaller team because of COVID, but we’re just blessed that we’ve had people work on the outside and help us just really get the house running.”
Inside, shelves are already filling up with books. Lots of books. Kelly and Cumbie who are both UA graduate students, said they want the House Tuscaloosa to become a special space.
“My goal is that we can really connect with the teenage population,” Cumbie said. “I think their reading comprehension is so pivotal, and they can either sink or swim.”
The House Tuscaloosa is gearing up to start their work in earnest this summer. Kelly, Cumbie and their fellow volunteers are working on fundraising and raising awareness, too.
Their next event, happening May 8 from 7 a.m. to noon behind Snow Hinton Park, is a sidewalk sale benefitting The House Tuscaloosa.
Visitors to the sale can fill a bag for $5 or a box for $15. If you’re interested in donating items for the sale or volunteering, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also make a monetary donation to the organization right here.