By Kelly Burns, Staff Writer

His smile. That’s what you’ll probably notice first about him. It’s wide and bright and pulls you in like a magnet.

James Hodges looks like the type of person who would sit with you for hours and help solve all of your problems.

Fitting, because that’s exactly what he wants to do.

Well, maybe not all of your problems, but he does want to help solve some of the big problems in the world.

James is a member of the Urban Teaching Cohort, working with inner city kids to help figure out what they want to change about their community and how to go about it. He is also a member of the Miami Ambassadors for Creating Change and the Black Student Action Association. He’s all about helping people.

But why does he care?

James identifies as a part of the lower social class. But he’s also here at Miami, a public ivy.

“Growing up through that struggle and struggling throughout life and me having a chance to do better with myself, it just inspired me,” James says.

But if you press him further as to why exactly he cares so much, he’ll laugh. To him, the answer is as simple as it gets.

“I just don’t like injustice. To me, it’s just common sense,” he says with his ever-constant smile. “I don’t like doing people wrong. So it’s just common sense to me to fight against people doing people wrong.”

And unlike a lot of volunteers and organizations, James wants to focus on the people, not just the problem.

“We have more people going to urban communities trying to fix things and there are less people trying to serve people,” he says. “And that’s the only way we can have real change, if we have service.”

By no means does James think that he is going to change the world single-handedly. But he does believe that he can make some impact on problems he sees around him.

“I just feel like I can help change that and maybe not on a macro scale but a micro one, like in my community,” James says. “I can help people to continue their education, or find a job, or help people to get together and fight for something they want.”

And for now, at least, that’s enough.