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2016-12-12

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will meet on Thursday, August 17, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.  The public is welcome to attend.

College Community Connection - Changing Students’ Lives

The end of the year and the holiday season have become inexorably linked with gift-giving. Some gifts are purchased, some are homemade. Some get wrapped in boxes, some entail donating one’s time to a cause, and some involve making charitable contributions. In evaluating different kinds of charity, the twelfth-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) described eight levels of giving. He ascribed the lowest rank to giving unwillingly. Giving cheerfully was better, as was giving without being asked. He rated giving anonymously higher still, but Maimonides placed the highest honor on giving that enabled the recipient to become self-reliant.  

In more contemporary times, Oprah Winfrey made a similar observation, “It's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.”

Working in education gives me an opportunity to see these principles in action. On a daily basis, I observe faculty and staff members who give their utmost to touch students’ lives. As a result of their influence, I watch students work hard and undergo a transformative process, becoming self-reliant community members and serving as role models for others.

Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we believe that all citizens should be given an opportunity to acquire an education that develops and extends their skills and knowledge. The college's goal is to provide diverse instructional programs ranging from developmental studies to associate’s degree curricula, and our offerings cover a wide spectrum of academic, technical/vocational, lifelong education, and workforce development classes.

People who choose to pursue these opportunities often require assistance to cover the costs of education, and SVCC works diligently to give students the support they need. In fact, 94% of beginning students receive financial aid. Much of it originates from federal sources, such as Pell grants. Some comes from state sources. State funds are particularly important to students enrolled in noncredit, workforce development programs. During its 2016 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed a legislative initiative that established the New Economy Workforce Grant Program, a program that can cover up to two-thirds of the cost of courses leading to credentialing in high-demand fields.

These types of federal and state financial aid do not cover the entire cost of education, however. To help students with unmet financial need, the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation administers scholarship programs that help fill the gaps so that deserving students can successfully reach their education goals. During the most recently completed academic year, the Foundation presented awards to more than 250 students. These opportunities were made possible primarily through the generous contributions of local people and businesses who wanted to help today’s students succeed and become constructive co-laborers who will join in the task of building a better tomorrow.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Foundation Grant Will Enable Paul D. Camp Community College to Respond to Growing Demand for Solar Jobs

RICHMOND — The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education is presenting Paul D. Camp Community College with the 8th Annual Valley Proteins Award for Workforce Development. The $10,000 grant is funded by Valley Proteins, and it will help the college create a Career Studies Certificate (CSC) program in energy technology with a focus on solar energy.

With four large solar farms in various stages of review, approval, and construction within the PDCCC service region, college officials were eager to get the program up and running to accommodate the nearly 500 specially-trained jobs the facilities will require. Paul D. Camp has campuses in both Franklin and Suffolk. 

“This CSC in energy technology will provide both the entry-level and mid-level solar energy training to support the construction, operation, and maintenance of the burgeoning solar industry currently underway in the rural Hampton Roads area,” said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois.

The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund is awarded annually to support workforce development programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the areas of environmental science, commercial truck driving, heating and air conditioning, and office technology.

"We are very grateful to have received this Valley Proteins grant. The goal of our program is to provide the community and industry with the best-trained students possible. This generous grant will provide our students job opportunities in the growing field of solar energy in PDCCC’s service region,” observed PDCCC President Dan Lufkin.

The process of earning a certificate in energy technology can be completed in one academic year. PDCCC expects to begin offering the Energy Technology Career Studies Certificate program in the fall of 2017. It is anticipated that the success of the first class of graduates will attract even more students to the program.

This is the second time Paul D. Camp Community College has earned the award. Previous recipients of the annual award include Blue Ridge Community College, Eastern Shore Community College, John Tyler Community College, and Southside Virginia Community College.

Headquartered in Winchester, Valley Proteins, Inc. is committed to supporting the workforce, particularly in the areas in which it has a business presence. The 66-year-old firm operates plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Its processing facilities recycle food waste materials into usable products and bio fuels for feed and industrial applications.

Crater Community Hospice Honors Retiring CEO Brenda Mitchell

Celebration at Country Club of Petersburg on December 7th 

Petersburg, December 9, 2016 --- Crater Community Hospice (CCH) honored retiring CEO Brenda Mitchell and welcomed her successor, Karen Cameron, with a gala reception at the Country Club of Petersburg on Wednesday December 7th. 

Almost 100 people gathered to celebrate the milestone occasion of Ms. Mitchell's retirement after more than two decades in the position. Attendees included colleagues, area officials, supporters, and current and former members of the Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff. Students from Appomattox Regional Governor's School under the direction of Mr. Paul Lindsey provided music.
 
Tracy L. Taliaferro, Esq., Chair of the CCH Board of Directors welcomed the guests. He noted that "Tonight, we pause to honor the end of an era and to re-commit to our mission as we begin a new era." He reminded the audience of Ms. Mitchell's long history with the organization. "In 1995 the CEOs of our two, local, public hospitals of the time, had a vision to meet the needs of the seriously ill and others within the hospitals' service region who were struggling with end of life.  Their vision was Crater Community Hospice.  Two years later, the board of directors made a wise and impactful choice when they selected Brenda Mitchell to serve as CEO. Brenda grew CCH into an outstanding hospice provider."
 
Brenda Clarkson, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Hospice and Palliative Care, (VAHPC) attested to Ms. Mitchell's impact more broadly on the hospice movement.  She reminded the audience that Ms. Mitchell was a founding member of Virginia Association for Hospices (now VAHPC), incorporated in 1987, and has served in many roles including currently as President.  She noted that "Brenda has been a true leader in our field, always being at the forefront of the mission to advocate for quality care for all persons with life-limiting illnesses, to promote hospice and palliative care education and ethical practices."
 
Jo Ann Glazier, Chair of the CCH Board of Director's Governance committee, presented a legacy plaque and told attendees that the community room at Crater Community Hospice's building - which is utilized for many free public educational programs including monthly Coffee Chats, memorial services, and more - will now be named in Ms. Mitchell's honor.  
 
Mr. Taliaferro concluded the formal remarks by reminding everyone of Crater Community Hospice's mission. "The American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson authored the phrase, "Life is a journey, not a destination."  Hospice is a celebration of life-a celebration which, when begun in a timely fashion, can provide a person and their family the best quality of physical, emotional, and spiritual support on the most divine of journeys.  Hospice celebrates life. That celebration has been happening every day in the Crater region since 1995."  He thanked Ms. Mitchell again and looked forward to CCH's continued growth and leadership in the community under new CEO Karen Cameron.
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