UAB student uses graduation gift money to help others

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A 32-year-old UAB student decided against taking gifts for her graduation in criminal justice which takes place a week from Saturday. Instead, today Camilla Gaines is putting the finishing touches on a room she helped make over at the Lovelady Center in Birmingham. The center houses women and their children. The facility acts as a transition for the women who may have gotten into trouble with the law or authorities.

Gaines took about $700 in donations from family and friends to paint and spruce up a room at the center for two residents.

"Honestly I didn't need anything. The thing I wanted most was to help others," Gaines said.

Gaines wants to graduate and possibly go to law school to become a lawyer who can provide help for non-profit organizations like the Lovelady Center. Gaines' act during the Christmas season touched many at the center.

"All the time we hear it's better to give than receive but not many people take that into account," Brenda Lovelady Spahn, Lovelady Executive Director, said.

Thursday afternoon, the roommates finally got a chance to see their new room. They exploded with delight to see the pink room, the new bedding and a new mirror on the wall.

"It's a blessing for her who could have done other things. She not only remodeled our room, I'm starting to feel like she remodeled my life," Harriett Woods said.

"I was overwhelmed. It doesn't look like a new room anymore, it's a home," Brenda McCrary said.

Gaines will take part in her graduation ceremony next week. She plans to think about the Lovelady Center and that room. Gaines is also hoping her selfless act will inspire others to do the same.

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