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Partnering for the Community HOW I USE MY EXPERTISE TO INFLUENCE YOUNG STUDENTS IN ALBANY I ’m proud to call Georgia home. It’s a gorgeous state full of hardworking and down-to-earth residents, and I’ve always wanted to give back to it. The recent terror and subsequent efforts to restore balance back to our community after Hurricane Michael have inspired me to dive into this ambition more. Unfortunately, our community is facing a dire crisis. The poverty rate in Albany was last recorded at just over 33 percent, according to 2016 census data. That total is more than double the national average of just over 12 percent. Feeding America also reports that poverty disproportionately affects African Americans more than any other race in the U.S., and Albany’s residents are no exception to this. Between 70–80 percent of our residents are African American, and given Albany’s high rate of poverty, we can’t ignore the effects of this link. Recently, I was asked to join the board of directors at an organization that is actively fighting to help the youth of our region obtain the best resources for a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. LIFE Educational Services is the brainchild of retired math educator Connie Leggett and is comprised of local education, business, military, and medical professionals looking to give students the best chance of success — regardless of their socioeconomic status. The organization’s first program, the Young Doctors and Health Professionals Program, is catered to fifth grade students in Dougherty County schools and provides a seven-month immersion course in health sciences. Partnering hospitals are paired with students as they learn about blood pressure tests, overall wellness,
my growing team, but I’m struggling to find one that is a good fit for our firm. A program like LIFE Educational Services just might provide the proper basis for an education to help students of all ages, races, class, and genders succeed and obtain jobs in our local community. But as a resident of Albany, I want to give hope to our residents and parents. I was asked to join the board this fall after various directors noted a need for a legal opinion as they continued to flesh out their first program. A couple of the tasks I’m helping with involve protecting patients’ rights to privacy and navigating legal jargon in this organization’s quest to find and lease a building. As a lawyer and the son of a lawyer, this is something that’s easy for me. I understand the basis of a contract, and in my work with personal injuries, I’m often confronted with Health Insurance Portability Protection Act (HIPPA) laws and rules. These are daily occurrences for me, but much like how the basics of human anatomy and calculating differentials are foreign to me, so is law to these board members. I ammore than happy to offer my services and make legal matters clearer for this worthy organization. LIFE Educational Services and its students are in good hands. We have a colonel from the local Marine base, some medical professionals, university educators, and math experts. I feel empowered to learn more about my community through them, and I’mmotivated by what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. Our first group of students will begin in the program this month, and 20 years from now, I can’t wait to see what kind of impact they’ve made on our resilient community.
and pulse readings while simultaneously improving their communication, math, problem-solving, and science skills.
-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
As a business owner, this is a mission I want to fully support. I’m currently in the process of looking for another lawyer to add to
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