Editor's note: The following is the second in a four-part series that will feature University of Alabama students who are interning in Jasper this summer.
Katie Tindol is spending her summer helping Walker County youth.
The University of Alabama rising junior is interning with Youth Advocate Programs (YAP) in Jasper as part of the New College program at UA.
While at YAP, Tindol has completed trauma-informed education research for the nonprofit, which will ultimately help YAP apply for grant funding.
YAP is a national nonprofit that assists high-risk youth with behavioral health and developmental disabilities. Those who are in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems are also served. YAP has programs for struggling adults as well.
Tindol's trauma research may eventually result in a trauma room being implemented at Sumiton Elementary School if grant funding is secured.
"This grant would fund the room and allow for a full-time staff trauma intervention specialist," Tindol said.
Children identified to have experienced some type of trauma would visit the designated area for services.
Tindol has also helped organize a community library at YAP and has witnessed advocacy work at the nonprofit. She admits to being emotional after the first day of her internship.
"Some of these kids don't have all of the right things, even though they are still good kids and they still have a good heart," she said. "Sometimes they just grow up in unfortunate circumstances. It's definitely been emotionally taxing to spend time with kids who are close to my age and who are going through really tough situations."
The internship experience in Jasper has solidified Tindol's passion to study public interest law after she graduates from UA.
Tindol was in search of an activity in Jasper outside of her internship, so she decided to join CrossFit Derailed, which she describes as a fun experience.
"It's been cool to be exposed to a community of Jasper that I otherwise wouldn't have been," she said.
As a New College student, she is majoring in interdisciplinary studies and is also studying economics. She's decided to minor in educational studies as well and is preparing to take the Law School Admission Test.
"I'm open to wherever life takes me. I really like to travel. I really like education and kids, and I'm also really passionate about nonprofit work," she said.
Tindol grew up in Tuscaloosa and admits she isn't used to living in a small town, but she has enjoyed the familial atmosphere in Jasper.
"Everyone is so welcoming to us," she said. "It's just easy to get to know people."
Tindol is one of four students interning in Jasper this summer through New College. The Walker Area Community Foundation has sponsored dozens of UA students to come to the city for nearly ten years.