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St. George’s junior launches club to help homeless

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Attison Womack, 16, started the school year with a new way for students to give back. The junior at St. George’s Independent School launched Room in the Inn Club, a newly formed organization that brings students together to help the homeless.

Womack says the idea struck her last winter, in the midst of juggling school work and sports. She helped her father deliver donated backpacks to Room in the Inn–Memphis, a non-profit network of churches that provides free overnight shelter and meals to the homeless during the coldest months.

She stayed to have dinner with Room in the Inn guests, and she says she felt moved to do more.

“It was so much fun getting to know the individuals who were receiving our donated backpacks,” Womack said. “I wondered if I could expand that experience to my school and continue to make a difference.”

Womack planned the new club throughout last summer, identified a faculty advisor, and got school approval. She worked closely with her friend Jacqueline Cole, who serves as club vice president.

When August came, 22 students signed up to join them. They meet every two weeks, and Womack says the club coordinates directly with leaders of Room in the Inn–Memphis, targeting Germantown United Methodist Church’s facility for its hands-on service work.

Says Emmy McClain, Assistant Director of Student Life for Student Life, “Attison is a great, self-directed leader who understands that she can’t truly connect to those in need if she doesn’t go to where the people are. She’s taken the initiative to really work to make a difference in her community.”

Womack explained, “Our club’s mission is two-fold: we plan to donate three large items throughout the year, such as bus passes and backpacks, and we plan to spend time with Room in the Inn guests at least three times per month.”

So far, Womack’s club has filled 12 backpacks, delivered during Room in the Inn’s first night of the season on November 1. They hope to hold a school-wide backpack drive later this year, pending school approval. Womack says the club’s budget is limited and they need to get many items donated, which can be a challenge.

“We are excited to get involved,” she said. “For many students, this is their first time experiencing Room in the Inn and helping the homeless in a hands-on way. Next year, we can expand and recruit younger students to carry on after I graduate. I hope to build a legacy of giving back.”

Alise Davis, fundraising coordinator of Room in the Inn–Memphis, said, “We are excited that Attison has created this club, because there are no age restrictions on loving your neighbor. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. When a need exists, anyone can help find a way to share hospitality.”

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