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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Local Museum Grateful for Help of ODU Student Volunteers

The region's rich history is interwoven with the story of African Americans in Hampton Roads. The City of Portsmouth Museums celebrated African-American Heritage Day last month, and the event went far more smoothly thanks to volunteer work done by a handful of Old Dominion University students.

Five students from the student advocacy organization Minds About Progress (MAP) volunteered most of Saturday, Jan. 19, to serve as logistical staff for the museum's African-American Heritage Day. Scott Tillman, Ariel Brown, Anjelica Bennett, Daniel Burs and Moriah Shumpert, along with faculty adviser Kideste Wilder-Bonner, lecturer of sociology and criminal justice, assisted museum visitors with different activities throughout the day.

In a letter to ODU President John Broderick and Cecelia Tucker, director of community relations at the university, Corey Staten, museum educator for the city of Portsmouth, expressed gratitude for the help provided by the students.

"Both visitors and museum staff consistently complimented MAP's members for their professionalism, courtesy, willingness to help and extraordinary ability to relate with and work with children," Staten wrote.

"In today's economy, many museums are facing the difficult task of maintaining quality operational standards with limited staff. Volunteers such as Dr. Wilder-Bonner and the MAP students she provides guidance to are greatly appreciated for the work they do at our museums."

Students from MAP had previously volunteered for October's Museum Madness event at the City of Portsmouth Museums and the Children's Museum of Virginia, and have pledged their help for the Chinese New Year event Feb. 23.

"We have reached out to student organizations of ODU and other local universities for volunteer opportunities on several other occasions; MAP has been the only organization to respond each time," Staten wrote.

Minds About Progress was formed as an ODU student organization in 1999, with a mission of promoting unity to ensure maturity and advancement so that students achieve classroom success and become active and positive community members.