My Contributions to the UHCSC Capstone Team

For the end of our Capstone class, we’ve been asked to document all of the ways in which we contributed to the Upstate Homeless Coalition of South Carolina.  I can honestly say that I’ve put more heart and soul into this project and class then I have in any other class of my four years at Clemson University.

My experience with this class started out a semester before the actual class met for the first time.  I, along with 4 of my classmates, met with Dr. David Novak in December to discuss the class and possible ways that we could help the Upstate Homeless Coalition.  Ideas were thrown around and possible ways to organize groups was also discussed.  Over Christmas break, I researched the UHCSC by joining their Facebook group, looking at their Web site, and signing up for their free newsletter.  I noticed that the UHCSC puts on an annual ball every February to help raise money.

Once our class met on January 7, 2010, it seemed as though everyone was ready to get to business.  We read the book on homelessness and communication called, “Who Is My Neighbor” by Phillip Tompkins and reflected on Tomkin’s experiences with homeless people and shelters.   We also talked about the Bridesmaid’s Ball and received the contact information for the volunteer chair.  I immediately invited my friends to volunteer with me and sent the names to Annette at the UHCSC.  I also was able to get Toussaint Law Firm (the firm where I intern) to donate tickets to the circus for the Bridesmaid’s Ball silent auction.  At the auction, my friends and I helped with the silent auction along with adding fun moves to the dance floor!

In my social media group, I took over the UHCSC Twitter account along with Lauren Patterson.  We tweeted daily during the week about upcoming events, interesting facts about homelessness, and news about the UHCSC.  I wrote the “How-To” guide for Twitter for whoever takes over the project at the Upstate Homeless Coalition.  The guide included how to log on to Twitter, post, and different aspects that will help raise awareness of the UHCSC. 

I also helped Beckman Perry with the UHCSC blog.  I uploaded a post once a week to help build the blog.  I helped promote the blog through the Twitter account. 

 During the fundraising week, I ate at several targeted restaurants to raise money for the UHCSC.  I bought a Battle of the Bands t-shirt and attended the Battle of the Bands event at 356.  I brought along a few friends and gave them stickers to wear for the event. 

I truly think have enjoyed the time that I’ve spent working and helping the Upstate Homeless Coalition this semester.  I feel so blessed to have been part of this awesome project.

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Recent Activity for the Social Media Group

Last week was so hectic with tests and papers, that I didn’t have time to blog about my recent activity with the social media group.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

-Fixed Twitter logo and put a background on the page.  Check it out!
Blogged results from the Bridesmaid’s Ball from answers from Linda.
Blogged about WYFF4 news story on homeless children in Greenville — cross posted from Leslie’s because her post was very informative.
-Tweeted multiple times.
-Sent Erin Sanders pics from the Bridesmaid’s Ball
-Contacted Celena Ferguson from the Bridesmaids Ball and asked her to answer questions regarding her experience with homelessness. — Celena is the one that spoke at the ball and thanked the UHCSC for their help.  Received her answers and will be blogging about them this week!

-Contacted Paul Bowers and explained our class goal.  Asked him to guest blog about his experiences and why he pretended to be homeless.  I have not yet heard back from Paul, but hope to be in contact with him this week.

I’m excited that our blog and Twitter are taking off like they have.  So far, we’ve had over 300 views on our blog!  We follow 27 people and 22 people follow us back.  I’m hoping that this week, we will get more followers and begin engaging with our current followers.

Upstate Homeless Coalition’s Bridesmaid’s Ball

This Saturday, I, along with 5 of my best friends, volunteered at the Upstate Homeless Coalition’s Bridesmaid’s Ball in Greenville, SC at the Marriott.  On our way to the ball, I thanked my friends for giving up their Saturday night to volunteer with me… On the way home… they thanked me for letting them volunteer and have so much fun.   

 

My friends at the Bridesmaid's Ball
JD Burgess, Madison Fisher, Katy Padgett, Edward Meyer, Merrick Fisher, and Sam McElrath helped out at the ball.

   

We arrived at 6:30 and got our badges and job descriptions.  Our job was to deliver the silent auction prizes at the end of the night to the highest bidder.  That means we were able to enjoy the food, drinks, and dancing before our shift started.   

Part of the wonderful food that was offered at the Upstate Homeless Coalition's Bridesmaid's Ball.

Part of the food that was offered at the Bridesmaid's Ball.

   

The ball was laid out like a wedding reception (without the actual wedding).  The host bride and groom were announced and had their “first” dance, a cake was cut, and speeches and toasts were made.  Mike and Linda both spoke briefly.  One of the speakers was an actual victim of homelessness and spoke about how the Upstate Homeless Coalition helped turn her life around.  She now has three very successful children who know the value of hard work from their heroic mother.    

After the speeches, more dancing ensued.  Then came the best part… the Bridesmaids’ Dress from Hell Contest.  There were about 15 contestants and every dress was unique in a different way.  This was my favorite dress:     

  

Kate was a contestant who received the runner-up award for her bridesmaid’s dress from hell.

    

The winner was on a lady who wore a dress straight from the Hippie Era.  She even wore her hair in a way that a hippie would.   After the contest, attendees danced, drank, and were served gelato.  I danced with both Mike and Linda’s husband!  At the end of the night, we helped give the auction prizes to their rightful owners and headed back to Clemson.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night.  Having fun while helping out the homeless!