Special to the
Opelika Observer

Abigail and Maddy are seniors at Auburn University who became involved with Project Uplift in 2017, becoming mentors to Zariayah and Dravion. Abigail is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and she is majoring in biomedical science; Maddy is from Huntsville, Alabama, and she is majoring in exercise science.
Abigail and Maddy hang out with Zariayah and Dra at least once a week, for about 2.5 to 3 hours each time. Some of their favorite things to do with their big sisters are going to the park, Chewacla, visiting the Lee County Humane Society, getting games from the Project Uplift office to play and baking. The big sisters also help them with their academics.
They have helped Dra with his sight words and reading and helped Zariayah with her math.
This experience with Project Uplift has been most beneficial to Zariayah and Dra, as well as Abigail and Maddy.
“This experience has meant so much to me. Seeing Dra and Zariayah grow through the past years has been an amazing experience,” Maddy said. “They have definitely changed my life for the better.”
“I have learned to be flexible because Dra and Zariayah do not always want to do what we have planned, so we have to come up with creative games and crafts to help them have fun. I have learned to be patient and humble, as well,” Maddy added.
The families have seen amazing changes with their behavior and attitude. Dra’s family has seen changes in his attitude and motivation towards school. Last year, he won a poster competition for drug awareness week. His grades have improved greatly, and he has been paying more attention in class. Zariayah’s family has seen changes in her attitude, as well, and now, she has gotten better at playing with others.
About Project Uplift
For more information, visit www.auburn.edu/projectuplift.