Civic Engagement has named Andrew Navratil the Volunteer of the Month for the month of March. Andrew is currently in his final year of law school at Georgia State University College of Law. Throughout his time at GSU Law, he has been an integral part of Civic Engagement’s Panther Breakaway program.
Andrew’s involvement began in 2015 when he participated in a trip to Atlanta where the volunteers worked to combat human trafficking. In 2016, Andrew joined the Panther Breakaway trip to Orlando which focused on poverty and food insecurity. During this trip, the team volunteered with the organization iDignity to help individuals acquire government-issued identification. Acquiring identification changed many lives because it enabled the population served to easily apply for jobs, travel, and ultimately function in society.
During spring of 2017, Andrew co-led a service trip for law students which focused on housing justice in Atlanta. The students worked alongside practicing attorneys to document unsafe housing conditions, write demand letters, and encourage landlords to make necessary repairs so that children and families had a safe home.
Most recently, Andrew returned from the Panther Breakaway trip to Costa Rica which focused on international development and education. In Costa Rica, the team exposed elementary schoolers to English and planted school gardens that will provide fresh produce for the school kitchen for years to come.
Participating in Panther Breakaway has impacted Andrew in several ways. First, during his first year in law school, engaging in hands-on service for a week helped ground Andrew and remind him that he was studying to use his law degree to fight for those without a voice. Serving also reminds Andrew of how privileged and fortunate he is and that he has an obligation to use his power and resources to empower and improve the lives of others. Finally, Panther Breakaway helped Andrew connect with the broader GSU community beyond the College of Law. This has exposed him to passionate leaders from diverse backgrounds who are all working together to make a difference.
Andrew would like to thank Byron, Mr. Lemons, and everyone else in the Civic Engagement Office for organizing Panther Breakaway trips. He believes they provide an essential vehicle for students to learn, grow, and give back while in school. He appreciates how the staff, leaders, and fellow participants have been so welcoming. On some of the trips, Andrew was the only graduate student, or the only man, or both. Andrew mentioned, “He always felt like part of the team!”
Congratulations, Andrew! We are thankful for the service and excited to see what the future holds.