Project Uplift is a volunteer program that pairs Auburn students and members of the community with children having problems at home or school. Mentors go through a training process before they are assigned a child to spend time with weekly.
The main goals of Project Uplift are to prevent juvenile delinquency in Lee County and build children’s self-esteem.
Since graduating from Auburn University in 1990, Nunn always knew he wanted to help children stay out of any juvenile delinquent system. He pursued his passion by working at Lee County Youth Development Center and as a probation officer in Chambers County.
“These jobs gave me the experience of seeing children come from all types of circumstances and backgrounds,” said Nunn. “I knew there needed to be something in place offering younger kids all that they needed to make good decisions and stay out of trouble so they could contribute positively to the community.”
After almost 20 years of working as the program coordinator, Nunn is now a mentor to Project Uplift volunteers and the full-time Project Uplift staff members.
“Everybody knows him, he is the face of Project Uplift,” said Emily Walsh, the support services manager of Project Uplift. “From the volunteers to the children that are in the program, everyone looks up to him for guidance.”
The administrative support assistant for Project Uplift, Kimaya Johnson, said most of the success of Project Uplift can be attributed to Nunn’s leadership.
For Nunn, the most challenging part of being program coordinator of Project Uplift is not being able to help everyone.
“I want to make sure we can provide to all of the children that have been recommended to us by schools, social services or families. I have a strong desire to serve these families and it is hard when we can’t.”
There are currently many children on the waitlist to receive mentors, and that number is growing faster than the number of volunteers. This makes Nunn work even harder to get more people involved in Project Uplift.
“The most rewarding part of this job is seeing individuals go through the process to become mentors to children…and to hear those children and families say to us how much of an impact is has on them,” said Nunn.
Project Uplift volunteers and staff explained how Nunn has made a great impact on the program and will continue to in the future.
“It inspires me to see him stay in the same job for so long and continue to be so successful and passionate,” said Walsh.
In the future, Nunn hopes that Project Uplift can serve every child that is referred to the program. “My strongest desire is to figure out a way that every single child has a positive role model and that we can make an impact in some form or fashion."
(Photos from http://cla.auburn.edu/projectuplift/gallery/)
Join the Auburn Family! Enroll at Auburn.