Auburn University is known as the “Loveliest Village on the Plains.” When people think of Auburn, they think of the nice town, the University and the friendly atmosphere. What many do not realize is that along with the positive views the town front, Auburn has another side — one it does not openly share.
Like every city Auburn has its set of problems, but even with these problems people persevere. In the case of the subsidized housing and low-income communities, many Auburn citizens break stereotypes.
The Auburn Housing Authority is a government funded
subsidized housing program within the city that provides services for
low-income families. Within the program are in-house social service workers who are there for support.
Auburn Plainsman spoke with a social
service worker at the Summer Feeding Event along with families that attended. Charlotte Mattox, social service family self-sufficiency
public relation coordinator for Auburn Housing Authority, and her assisting
volunteers welcomed Auburn Plainsman to join them for their Summer Feeding
The Summer Feeding Event is an initiative to feed children below 18. The initiative is partnered with the local food bank and Auburn Public Library. The library provided books and the food bank provides packaged lunches and non-perishable items.
Auburn Plainsman spoke with Mattox until interested residents approached the event.
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Here are a few accounts.
“My name is Brenda Stinson and I attended Tuskegee University and Southern Union.” Stinson is a resident of the Auburn Housing Authority. When asked given insight about her life she did not have much to share other than her optimistic perspective.
“I worked for health care, as a house keeper and as an assistant at a hospital, “she explains, “I don’t have the best life, but I don’t have a bad one either.”
Stinson says her happiest moments was when her children were born.
“I have a 14-year-old grandchild and four grandchildren,” she states proudly. Retired from working in health care, Stinson cares for her grandchildren. When asked about lessons she has learned she says the biggest lesson is to “Keep your opinions to yourself.”
Another person stepped forward to speak with the Plainsman.
Santavias Dowdell, joined with his family, shared their hopes and dreams. Dowdell is a concrete finisher for the city of Auburn. He has worked for the city for over 10 years.
“Since I was 18,” he says. Dowdell is a self-proclaimed family man whose passion is his children and significant other. When asked what his greatest achievement was, he says it is his kids. Dowdell claims he is a man that cherishes the present and does not reflect on the past.
Besides working and caring for his family, Dowdell enjoys playing basketball.
For the future, Dowdell plans on moving his family to the countryside and live in a large house.
Dowdell’s significant other also came forward to speak with The Plainsman.
“I’m Derikka Mimenefield and I’m a full time mom of three kids,” she says, passing off the youngest daughter Harmony to Dowdell to hold. Mimenefield is 23 years old and is an aspiring designer.
Currently she writes and reads recreationally when not “chasing after the kids.” Mimenefield enjoys writing about her life and original pieces in the form of short stories.
“I write whatever comes to mind,” she says.
When not writing or reading, Mimenefield and Dowdell like to play sports with their children. Mimenefield enjoys playing volleyball and kick ball. Mimenefield looks forward to placing her kids in sports related activities once they reach grade school age.
When asked about her greatest achievement, Mimenefield also shared that it was her kids.
“My kids changed me for the better,” she states.
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