JaRhonda Roberts is a third-year majoring in architecture in the School of Architecture. JaRhonda volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club as a tutor for reading and math for children aged 5 to 12, and she also tutors children who have English as a second language at Buford Middle School. JaRhonda also volunteers with the Salvation Army. In the past, JaRhonda has worked with Special Olympics (USC and UCLA) and with Shepard Cove, where she served breakfast to the homeless community and gave out toys to children during Christmas. JaRhonda has received recognition for her incredible community service work in the form of the Outstanding & Distinguished Community Service Award and the President's Volunteer Service Award.
How did you first get involved?
I did a lot of community service at a young age with an organization called Jack & Jill of America. Just being able to see and enjoy the joy of giving back and feeling compassion was an amazing feeling for me that I decided I wanted to continue throughout my high school and college career.
What is your #CommunityCommitment this year?
When I graduate, my #CommunityCommitment would be to give back not just to the Charlottesville community but also in Washington, D.C., where I am from. I would love nothing more than to help the community in which I grew up flourish in a way that is memorable to and for all Washingtonians. I would love to see more after-school programs, such as free SAT/ACT prep classes, community engagement activities, and Big Brother/Big Sister programs. Lastly, having programs such as "Officer Friendly" to bridge the gap between the police and the community.
How would you encourage others to get involved?
I would encourage others to get involved by showing them it is truly a rewarding experience to know at the end of the day that you made a difference. There are opportunities big and small, such as picking up litter, visiting retirement homes, giving out food or care packages to the homeless, or donating old clothes or toys.
What has been the greatest class you have taken at UVA?
I fell in love with two classes: World Contemporary Architecture with Shiqiao Li and Computer Aided Architectural Design with Earl Mark. Both professors were wonderful and very nurturing, and I would recommend both classes to any non-architecture or architecture student. They both made sure that I learned the information and worked with each and every student closely to make sure that they understood the course work.
What is your favorite UVA tradition?
Black Alumni Week would have to be my favorite tradition. It gives me a sense of family and how African Americans who have attended UVA in the past have paved the way for me to be able to attend today. In addition, I love seeing how diverse and strong the UVA alumni community is.
If there was one thing you could do to make the world a better place, what would it be?
If I could do one more thing to make the world a better place, I want to continue to travel around the world helping others that are not as blessed with resources like we have in America, such as filtered water. Being able to visit other countries and see how clean water is not available or that many people are homeless inspires me to want to help, for example, by building community centers, schools, or houses.