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Clemson Hope mentors students

Hope: a feeling of expectation and of desire for a certain thing to happen. No other word is as accurate a description of what drives the passion and mission behind one of Clemson’s organizations, Clemson Hope. 

Price Crenshaw is the executive director of Clemson Hope, majoring in elementary education with a minor in nonprofit leadership. Over the summer of 2016, a close family member of hers passed away and she found herself in a somber place. Though she was grieving the loss of her loved one, she had an unquenchable desire to serve those

around her.

“Life is so short. There is no reason for me to wait until after college to start impacting the community when I can start at Clemson,” said Crenshaw.

She realized the brevity of life and was determined to make a difference right where she was. Crenshaw was inspired to start Clemson Hope after hearing the director of the Charleston branch talk about the heart behind the nonprofit: Charleston Hope. Crenshaw immediately knew she could incorporate this nonprofit at Clemson University. 

Clemson Hope includes programs where everyone and anyone could be involved and form intentional relationships. The two programs she created through Clemson Hope are “Paw Pals” and “Tiger Talks.” 

Paw Pals is a pen pal system with students from a Title 1 elementary school and a Clemson student. The great thing about Paw Pals is it allows anyone to participate. It only takes about 10 minutes to write a letter to your designated class, and the next week, you receive about 15 letters back from excited kids. Not only does this program allow these children to form relationships with Clemson students, but it also benefits the kids by giving them a chance to work on their writing skills. More importantly, it gives kids a chance to express their thoughts, feelings, desires, hopes and questions in their own words.

Tiger Talks is a mentor program through Clemson Hope, which includes Clemson student mentors and children from James M. Brown Elementary School. Every other week Clemson Hope volunteers have the opportunity to visit the school and meet with their designated students. These kids come from all sorts of backgrounds, which might be having parents in and out of jail, bouncing around from family member to family member, mental and social disabilities or just feeling alone. They are all paired with Clemson students who are eager to encourage, help and pour in to them. This program gives Clemson students the opportunity to better to someone’s life in an incredibly special way. The entire purpose of Tiger Talks is to form lasting relationships with the children.

I had the opportunity to take part in Tiger Talks, and not only did I experience the growth of my student but have also been unexpectedly impacted by this 10 year-old boy. Every other week I get to spend time with my fifth grade student and hear about a childhood no kid should have to endure. The most amazing part of my time with my student is every time I walk in the classroom, his eyes light up and he claims spending time with me is his favorite part of the week. These kids don’t care who you are, what your major is or where you came from, they simply enjoy your presence. It did not take long before going to visit the elementary school also became my favorite part of the week. I had the opportunity to spend time with a child who just needs someone to help him with homework, talk through hard concepts in his life and to discuss why Batman is way cooler than Superman.

“I want to see relationships form and for Clemson Hope to be a hopeful and encouraging concept,” said Crenshaw. As the executive director, she would like the club to grow by having more volunteers and expanding to other elementary schools. If you have an interest in being a part of an organization much bigger than yourself with an evident and ongoing impact, join Clemson Hope. If you want to get connected or find out more information about Clemson Hope, send an email to [email protected].

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