For more than fifteen years, Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table (AMKT) has provided support to the families of Anthony Homes, Macon Housing Authority’s largest federally funded community. These families, most headed by a single mother or grandmother and living well below the poverty line, have benefitted from tutoring and after school snacks, cultural programs, classes for parents, a neighborhood garden, community meals and celebrations, and referrals to other free or low cost resources like health services and GED preparation. All these services have been made possible by a dedicated and compassionate group of Wesleyan students, faculty, staff, community volunteers, and generous donors.
Located in a house on Wesleyan's campus, AMKT provides a tranquil location, complete with large rooms for individual and group work, substantial grounds for outside activities, and a carport for pottery and art projects. Wesleyan provides transportation to campus every Saturday.
The on-campus location provides easy access for Wesleyan students, allows for extended time to teach, guide, and mentor children, and offers the College's state-of-the-art facilities for engaging in science, art, music, and sports. Currently, thirty-six children are registered to attend Saturday School at AMKT. Pre- and post-test indicators have already shown an increase in knowledge and positive attitudes on topics such as drug awareness, safety, and self-esteem. Twelve-year-old Akayla exclaimed she “loves Aunt Maggie’s because it is always so much fun and because there are always great lessons that we learn.” Breanna, age nine, added, “Everything we do is really exciting and fun.” Her sister, Jayla said, “I have made more friends through Aunt Maggie’s and love learning something new every time I’m here.”
Many individuals and organizations have contributed time and resources to ensure the success of the outreach program. Under the direction of Mike McCue, Stratford Academy donated sixty computers that were given to children who attend AMKT to use at home. Eagle Scout Nick Dorogy headed a project to lay a foundation for a garden so the children can grow plants and vegetables while learning about harvesting, making healthy food choices, and preparing nutritious meals. Wesleyan’s nursing department is providing lessons on topics such as indoor and outdoor safety, drug and alcohol awareness, hygiene, nutrition, and bullying. The Confucius Institute at Wesleyan College hosts a week-long East Meets West summer camp for the children where they learn about Chinese culture through calligraphy, mask making, dance, and a special celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.
The Lane Center for Service and Leadership and its work with Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table is the visible expression of Wesleyan’s mission to teach young women to study, analyze, think, understand, love, care, and use all that is within them to serve others. The goal is that students will accept service as a way of life well after graduation. Co-founder of the Lane Center Eleanor Lane ’58 summed up the spirit and enthusiasm surrounding AMKT saying, “We have the leadership in place to get the work done. We are blessed with our volunteers and with exemplary projects and programs.”
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead
of Wesleyan faculty, representing 11 departments, are incorporating service learning into their pedagogy.
The approximate amount of Wesleyan students taking courses that incorporate service-based assignments.
Approximate number of Wesleyan students who participate in service through the Lane Center.
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