Jonathan Sheperd-Smith '18 watched as the little boy fidgeted in his seat, unable to focus on the standardized test in front of him.
"He refused to stay on task," Sheperd-Smith said. "It was very frustrating to see the teacher blow him off and the child shut down. I tried to provide positive reinforcement, and as I left for the day, he called my name from the waiting room of the principal's office, where he was probably getting ready to be disciplined. He flashed the most genuine and brilliant smile."
That experience as an Education Scholar with Project LIFT, a public-private education partnership, left him with a strong desire to do more–so he founded a new mentoring program that reaches underserved youth in West Charlotte.
"At that moment, I saw myself in that little boy, as well as my nephews and cousins, and I wondered what was being done to help him," he said.
Sheperd-Smith, an economics and anthropology double major, doesn't believe in service for the sake of service. The Bonner Scholar, Brown Scholar, Terry Fellow and football captain from Atlanta, Georgia, uses his service requirements at Davidson to engage more deeply with the community.