As a young alumna spearheading her career, Cameron Shevlin is already the director of Impact Alabama, a division of Impact America, which is supported by the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility.
Impact America is a non-profit group that serves communities in the Southeast by helping families file their tax returns for free, conducting vision screenings for preschool children, providing college mentors for high-school students preparing to take AP classes, and coaching young debate teams.
“Each of our initiatives is in place to address a need,” Shevlin said. “People think you have to go to another country to serve, but that’s not the case. There are plenty of ways to serve right here in Alabama.”
Shevlin’s main responsibility as the director of Impact Alabama is to oversee the Impact team, which is typically made up of recent college graduates who volunteer as part of the AmeriCorps national service program to serve the community full-time for at least one year.
“To be able to connect young people with areas in need around the state is really important,” Shevlin said. “Alabama is a great state, and there’s a lot to be done here. So being able to plug in these extremely bright and enthusiastic minds to see what change they can bring is a great opportunity.”
According to Shevlin, Impact Alabama and its AmeriCorps members have 21 tax sites across the state; the organization is on track to screen over 50,000 preschool children for vision problems this year across all 67 counties in the state; and they are actively involved in schools in the Birmingham area.
“I think that sometimes it’s hard for communities to believe that people are going to do what they say they are going to do,” Shevlin said. “You have to gain trust and work with a community, and we do that through ensuring that we have a strong team who can carry out each of our initiatives.”
Shevlin’s favorite aspect of Impact Alabama, however, is meeting and getting to know people she otherwise would never come in contact with.
“Especially in today’s world, it is becoming easier and easier to stay within one’s own bubble,” Shevlin said. “Being out in the community day-to-day exposes our team members to the fact that even though we each have our differences—we can always find some commonality.”