Usually when college students pull all-nighters, they are cramming for an exam or putting the final touches on a paper. As a senior at Williams, David Battey’s late-night study sessions were motivated by more than just a grade—he was writing the blueprint for the rest of his life.
Battey grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas—a middle-class suburb of Kansas City. As a ninth grader, he decided to join the local Presbyterian Church. “Part of joining the church meant getting up every Saturday morning during ninth grade and doing service.”
“My project was to take a school bus to a poor area of Kansas City and tutor two fifth graders. After the first week, I didn’t want to go back, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that the kids loved seeing me. When I would get off of the school bus, they would come running up to me.”
Inspired by the work he was doing as a tutor, Battey became more outgoing, more confident, more dedicated, and more responsible. He began seeking out other volunteer opportunities everywhere he went. At Williams, Battey participated in a volunteer program in Africa, spent time at a local nursing home, and coached a youth basketball team.
In the spring of his senior year at Williams, Battey and his Political Economy classmates were tasked with the challenge of researching an issue in American culture and crafting a set of policy recommendations to address it. One of Battey’s team members suggested that they look at youth volunteerism.