Living in Alabama means following in the footsteps of the activists who came before them and taking part in fighting for equity and civil rights for all people today
For our corps members, living in Alabama also means being part of a close-knit community. Southern hospitality is a way of life in our state—neighbors and parents may offer to cook you a delicious dinner or show you around the town. Affordable housing offers corps members the opportunity to live in the same communities as their students and build relationships with families and other community partners. As a corps member you will quickly grow and expand your network by working side-by-side with your local community.
While about one-third of our corps members live in rural areas, we also have many current corps members and alumni living and working in cities such as Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montgomery. After a long week in the classroom, corps members can head north to Huntsville and visit NASA’s Space and Rocket Center or south for a relaxing weekend on the Gulf Coast, hang out in Birmingham and peruse Pepper Place Farmers Market, hike at one of Alabama’s many state parks, or head to Tuscaloosa or Auburn and catch an SEC football game. Teach For America Alabama truly offers the best of all worlds: small town intimacy with easy access to a big city and the great outdoors.
“I love living in Birmingham because it is a growing city with easy access to the leaders of the city and the big businesses.”
Neighborhood Highlights - Woodlawn
Woodlawn is a neighborhood in east Birmingham, where our corps members teach and live.
The neighborhood is home to many community organizations working together to improve education for students and quality of life for all citizens, including urban food projects, music and art programs, and locally-owned businesses. Corps members who serve in this area partner with Woodlawn Foundation Community Partners allowing them to purposefully engage with their school and the community at large. The neighborhood is also a short distance from many coffee shops, Pepper Place Farmer’s Market, local parks, and the downtown area.
The Woodlawn Foundation is the lead organization or “community quarterback” of Woodlawn United—a comprehensive collaboration of partners committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in the Woodlawn community in Birmingham, Alabama. The Foundation follows a holistic approach to community revitalization based on the Purpose Built Communities model. Several TFA-AL teachers work within the Woodlawn Feeder Pattern
The Birmingham Education Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of students in the Birmingham City Schools that are on the path to college, career, and life readiness. They do this by partnering with Birmingham City Schools and bringing many initiatives straight to children. The Birmingham Education Foundation is led by many Teach For America alumni including J.W. Carpenter (Mississippi Delta ’01) and Andrew Mitchell (Alabama ’11).
The Desert Island Supply Co. is a nonprofit creative writing program for students in Birmingham. They offer free after-school workshops plus in-school programs in area schools. Their space in Woodlawn also serves as a hub for creative community projects and events.
Audiostate is a recording studio and entertainment company in the heart of Woodlawn. They partner with Woodlawn High School and bring in students to teach them about the professional and technical aspects of recording and producing music.
The Woodlawn Street Market is an urban street market in the heart of Historic Woodlawn with local vendors selling food, art, home goods, and more! Like their Facebook page to get updates about when they are happening!
Down the road from Woodlawn, the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market happens every Saturday from mid-April to mid-December. While it began as a place that was established to help small farming families, Pepper Place now has over 100 vendors set up with local produce, food, clothes, and other goods every Saturday.
MAKE is an open, membership-based space that facilitates creativity and the development of creative enterprises though facilities, resources, and education. (Think "Gym" and substitute a potter's wheel or table saw for a treadmill.) In addition to an open work space, they also offer classes for adults including ceramics, welding, woodshop, and more!
Higher Academics Summer School (HASS)
Higher Academics Summer School (HASS) is a four-week academic summer program that serves high achieving students from the rural, Black Belt of Alabama. HASS was started in 2011 by two Teach For America teachers who recognized the importance of providing more opportunities for students to continue learning during the summer months.
The CAP & GOWN Project
The CAP & GOWN project prepares underrepresented students in Huntsville City Schools to graduate from college and invest their talent in North Alabama. The program gives Huntsville high school students the opportunity to visit colleges within the region and gain exposure to options after high school.
Teach For America Alabama, the Poses Foundation, and Understood have partnered to incorporate Understood's knowledge and resources into our ongoing professional development. The goal of this partnership is to increase awareness of learning and attention issues and support for diverse learners among corps members, parents and colleagues in the TFA network.