I AM PROTECTIVE

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Southern Environmental Center Offers Hands-On Learning

If you follow the echo of giggles, you will find yourself looking at the rather large toilet in the former indoor pool building on the campus of Birmingham Southern College (BSC). It can flush an entire kid, sending him down a winding tunnel into the bottom of the emptied-out swimming pool. This toilet slide generates “gallons of giggles,” but it also illustrates for children wasteful water consumption. The massive commode is part of the Interactive Museum inside the Southern Environmental Center (SEC), and it, along with the other displays of trash heaps and old fashioned bicycles in the museum, is designed to teach people of all ages how they can help protect and improve their local environments. At 5,600-square-feet, it’s the largest education facility of its kind in Alabama. For Roald Hazeloff, the director of SEC, it was important that the center embody the spirit of the “Three Rs” –…

Student service initiative aims to Impact America and teach compassion to young adults

Impact America Founder and President Stephen Black is proud of the work they are doing, but he wants the organization to go beyond addressing community needs. He also wants to empower college students with empathy for those most in need so that they can better understand the impact of their efforts. “I don’t know a better way to change a person’s mind than allowing them to gain personal, intimate insight into the lives of those in need,” Black says. “It’s such a powerful experience.” Black’s vision began in 2004, when he became director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama, and created Impact Alabama, a student service initiative. In 2014, the program expanded to Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida, and the organization officially changed its name to Impact America. The nonprofit meets community needs through initiatives such as FocusFirst, SaveFirst, and SpeakFirst. FocusFirst is…

Spinning Tales about Endangered Species

With the details of each spin in his mind from a colorful menagerie of animals on a merry-go-round, Art Ritchie has built or restored at least five-dozen carousels in the 32 years since he and Daniel Jones founded Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio. But he specifically remembers the Protective Life Carousel at the Birmingham Zoo, because during his restoration work, one of the South’s infamous spring storms ripped the canopy for the carousel right off its cables. While it delayed the progress, it didn’t put a damper on the centerpiece of the Birmingham Zoo’s Children’s Zoo. Once installed, it immediately began entertaining guests of all ages, including Rusty Keene. Rusty moved from the Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida to take over as Birmingham Zoo’s vice president of operations. A carousel aficionado, Keene was particularly impressed that Birmingham’s carousel was wooden. Wooden carousels are expensive, costing just over a half million…

Next Generation of Change Makers

Birmingham’s Ryan J. Swain takes the stage in the world premiere of an Off-Broadway show. And when he walks onto the stage at the National Black Theater to star in the debut of “Kill Move Paradise,” he says he has, in part, Protective Life to thank. Ryan is one of more than 200 recipients of Protective Life Scholarship and Academic Awards Program. “I owe so much to Protective,” Ryan says. “Receiving support for my education truly allowed me to focus on the education that I needed to hone my skills and prepare for a career in the theater.” Growing up in Birmingham, he had always wanted to be an actor, attending Alabama School of Fine Arts and Howard University.  This year, he boarded a bus to follow his dream, moving to New York City, where he has hired  an agent and booked a role as one of four performers co-starring…

Empowering America’s Younger Citizens

The Liberty Learning Foundation is an Alabama-based organization dedicated to teaching children the importance of civics through hands-on demonstrations that take them beyond the classroom. Learn why Protective Life is proud to support this organization’s efforts to empower and inspire America’s youngest citizens.