CSCC Spreads Holiday Cheer

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - by Holly Vincent

Cleveland State Community College has been busy spreading good cheer this holiday season throughout its five-county service area. The college had a variety of projects and services the faculty, staff and students were all involved in throughout the community. 

"We pride ourselves on being the college that always puts community first,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president. “This is particularly evident during the holiday season as our students, faculty and staff act to help others in so many ways.”

The Department of Service-Learning sponsored the H.O.P.E. (Health, Opportunity, Protection and Encouragement) Center's Children's Advocacy Center of Bradley County for the fifth year by placing their Christmas Angel Tree in the CSCC Library. 

The H.O.P.E. Center is one of CSCC’s Service-Learning Community Partners serving people in Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties whose lives have been affected by violent abuse in their homes. The Children's Advocacy Center specifically serves child victims of sexual abuse and their families. This year's Angel Tree included cards for approximately 30 children and youth (ranging from newborn to age 17) being served through the Children's Advocacy Center, whose families are experiencing financial difficulty. The cards reflect each child's “Christmas wish list."

“This is the fifth year that Cleveland State Community College has placed The HOPE Center Angel Tree on campus, and the Service-Learning team has been honored to lead the initiative each year. We appreciate Teresa Grant, executive director, HOPE Center Inc., for entrusting us with the opportunity to serve their Angels. The outpouring of love and generosity by Cleveland State employees and students is beyond amazing.  Each year we say, ‘This is the best year yet,’ and we’re right.”

Each year, the CSCC Staff Senate provides Christmas gifts to the residents at nursing homes in the service area. This year, the Staff Senate adopted 23 nursing home residents at Bradley Healthcare and Rehabilitation of Cleveland. 

Cindy Dawson, Staff Senate Secretary, said, “Employees from all over campus came together to provide some Christmas cheer for the residents."

Ms. Dawson and staff member, Larry Burns, delivered the gifts in time for the nursing home's annual Christmas celebration.  Donna Martin, activities assistant for the nursing home, expressed tremendous gratitude for the continued support from Cleveland State for these residents with little or no family in the area.

The Medical Assistant Student Association had two service projects this past semester. They hosted a canned food drive for The Caring Place and collected hats for cancer patients at Tennessee Oncology. They plan to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Wish List in the spring semester. The Ronald McDonald House provides a “home away from home” for families with critically-ill or injured children and supports programs that improve the health and well-being of children.

Cleveland State participated in Southern Heritage Bank’s annual “Cleveland Helping Cleveland” Food Drive again this year with CSCC students, faculty and staff donating to the event. The campus campaign was managed by Student Senate and Service-Learning teams, and donations were delivered to Southern Heritage Bank by CSCC student Cassie Lanier and Sherry Holloway, director of Service-Learning. Southern Heritage Bank distributed the food to the Caring Place and the United Way of the Ocoee Region. 

CSCC’s Social Work Program, organized and participated in their sixth Annual Free Store Event on Dec. 2.  The event was held for the community this year at Big Spring Baptist Church and was organized to help families with young children.  Associate Professor Jana Pankey asked that faculty, staff and students donate various baby items, and then her students in the Family and Children’s Services class distributed such items to the families in our community free of charge.

Ms. Pankey said, “This is always a great event for the students and families served.  This year, the students wanted to help families with young children who were in need of basic necessities. We were able to collect and distribute items, including clothing, strollers, cribs, diapers and towelettes, bottles, toys, coats, shoes and various toiletries to over 40 people in our area.”  

Evelyn Thompson, CSCC’s women’s basketball coach, recently set up community service opportunities for the Lady Cougar basketball team at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, as well as the Salvation Army at Bradley Square Mall.  

“My philosophy is that when you build a better person, you automatically get the better basketball player,” stated Coach Thompson. “I have a holistic approach to coaching. I don't want them to just learn to be better basketball players. I want them to be better athletes, students, citizens, etc. We are committed to making them better women. Part of that commitment to creating better women is the idea of community service. I want our team to be invested and involved with the community so that the community feels that same commitment to us. It is a reciprocal relationship that benefits everyone involved. It also fosters gratitude. It is important for young women and men to understand their responsibility to others.”

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