Looking for a helping hand

The altruistic student organization Holding My Dream seeks to help Huntsville citizens by providing community services.

HMD president Phillip Jones, junior, helped found the organization in 2002. A kinesiology major, Jones said he persuaded several of his friends to help him organize the group, which he said is very diverse with black, Hispanic and white members.

“I took several of my friends and I told them this was a vision I had from God,” Jones said. “The group I have is a very dynamic group. We’re not a showmanship organization; we’re just straightforward college students giving back to the community.”

The group currently has 13 members and seeks to become more active this semester by participating in more community activities.

“We’re a hot organization,” Jones said. “The reason we’re hot is because we’re doing our goals.”

The organization helped feed homeless people last Christmas, but Jones said HMD does not just wait until holidays to provide service to the community.

“We are active: we’re not waiting for Christmas or Thanksgiving to give back to people. We’re giving back right now,” Jones said.

Jones said the group is planning to participate in an after school reading program at Sam Houston Elementary called X-Man, which is aimed at what Jones calls “last chance students.” The program will take place Tuesday and Friday afternoons and is aimed at helping at-risk students improve their reading skills.

HMD also plans to take part in the Adopt-A-Highway litter control program by adopting Highway 90 later in the spring.

“We plan to do that in April when the weather clears up, but we do have that on our agenda,” said Jones.

One pursuit HMD members currently take part in is visiting elderly patients at the Huntsville Health Care Center.

Junior Tarsha Hardy, the organization’s vice-president, said the group members socialize with the patients in a variety of ways.

“We do a lot of interacting with the patients,” Hardy said. “We play bingo with them. We try to do a lot catering to the women, manicuring their hands and nails.”

Hardy said she was seeking out an organization interesting in helping the community.

“I saw there weren’t a lot of organizations on campus that were unified and diverse,” Hardy said.

Since joining HMD, Hardy said she’s found her work is both morally and personally satisfying.

“I’d say it’s about 60 percent spiritual and 40 percent me having a good heart and wanting to help people through my own personal experience,” Hardy said.

Jones said HMD is currently seeking to win a Sammy Award for its community service contributions, but that the organization may be overlooked because its activities do not take place on school grounds.

“It’s too political,” Jones said. “We’re not getting enough recognition because we’re not doing things on campus. We don’t get recognition because we don’t have the social events other groups have. But when we go to the (Health Care Center), people have tears in their eyes.”

The organization has many activities planned out for upcoming months, including and Easter food drive after spring break to collect canned goods for the Good Shepherd Mission, and will have a fundraiser to provide air conditioning units to two needy families, one in Huntsville and another in Houston.

In order to grow as an organization, Jones said HMD is actively seeking new members.

“We’re looking for strong leading people willing to give back to the community,” Jones said.

Hardy said the organization has a promising start, and will gain momentum as time goes by.

“I feel it’s extremely promising, ” Hardy said. I feel people involved are taking a big risk in setting an example. I believe HMD is on its way to the top, and once people see what we’re doing, they’ll take advantage of it.”

Jones added that he gives thanks to the members of his organization for the hard work they’ve put into HMD.

“None of this would be going this great without my team,” Jones said. “God has put this on my to do this, and I give props to my organization.”

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