For the UAMS College of Medicine’s Sharanda Williams, giving back is a way of life. So it’s no surprise that on the Nov. 10 UAMS holiday in observance of Veterans Day, the college’s director of academic affairs was cheerfully serving veterans.
“I have been given so much,” Ms. Williams said as she worked with other members of the UAMS Veterans Awareness Committee to set up for an appreciation luncheon for veterans in transitional housing at St. Francis House Ministries in Little Rock. “To whom much is given, much is required,” she said. “I take that very seriously.”
“Sharanda is one of the most generous and selfless people I have ever known,” said Richard P. Wheeler, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs. “She is involved in many worthwhile causes and gives her all to each one.”
Williams’ husband, Reggie, is a U.S. Army veteran, and their son, Jordan, is in Army basic training. The couple have volunteered in UAMS veterans-awareness activities as well as other UAMS and community initiatives for many years.
The luncheon for veterans was one of the culminating events of the UAMS Veterans Awareness Committee’s annual initiative. With contributions from faculty and staff across campus, the committee presented care packages to veteran patients at UAMS and long-term care patients at the Eugene Towbin Veterans Affairs Hospital at Fort Roots in North Little Rock as well as the veterans at St. Francis House.
UAMS staff and faculty are generous with their time and resources year round – and the spirit of giving back is especially clear as the holidays approach.
Another recent group initiative was a chili fundraiser on campus organized by the Office of Sponsored Programs Administrative Network (OSPAN). The office was raising money to purchase holiday gifts for children in a Head Start classroom. The college’s Department of Pediatrics administers 10 Head Start sites in Pulaski County that serve 760 children ages 3-5 and four Early Head Start sites serving nearly 130 infants and toddlers.
Several organizations on campus “adopt” classrooms each year. OSPAN raised about $575 at the Oct. 30 chili fundraiser and was gearing up for a pre-Thanksgiving bake sale of cakes, pies and other goodies on Nov. 21.