Coppin honor students thrive on involvement

November 24, 1991|By Barbara Richardson

Heddie Tibbs, 103, sits perfectly still while Desiree Eades, a volunteer from Coppin State College, manicures her nails.

Ms. Tibbs, a resident of the Pleasant Manor Nursing Home on Park Heights Avenue, first decides what color nail polish to wear. She asks for red, then decides on a dark pink.

"That's better," she says of her choice. "It's not as loud as the other one."

Ms. Eades, a professional manicurist, is one of 78 Coppin students who volunteer at Baltimore hospitals, nursing homes, schools, soup kitchens and youth centers as part of the college Honors/Presidential Scholarship Program's mandatory community service component.

Ms. Eades said she chose to work at Pleasant Manor because most of the residents can't afford a manicure. When she gets to the home, she walks around to find a woman who wants her nails done. The service would normally cost $15 to $20. Ms. Eades, who averages four manicures per visit, does them at no charge.

"You don't owe me anything," Ms. Eades tells a resident concerned about cost. "It's already been taken care of. Somebody already paid for it."

Ms. Eades said the residents get excited when they learn they're getting their nails done. "They are older women, but they like to look nice. It makes them feel more desirable, more beautiful."

To keep an honors or presidential scholarship at Coppin, participants in the college's Honors/Presidential Scholarship Program are required to do 20 hours of community service per semester. Failure to do so can result in loss of the scholarship, which covers tuition, fees and book stipends.

Dr. T. J. Bryan, an Honors Division dean, said the mandatory community service was implemented to help students develop character. Community service educates students about their social responsibilities while allowing them to "give back" to the community, she said.

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