Blessings belong to those people who give of themselves
Published 4:15 am Friday, December 26, 2008
During the holidays when gift giving abounds, I am reminded of the words of Kahlil Gibran: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Givers of Self
At Paul D. Camp Community College, we are truly blessed by the many people who give of themselves in support of the college and its mission. For example, members of our College Board, acting in an advisory capacity, take responsibility for assuring that the college is responsive to existing needs in its service region, while members of the PDCCC Foundation Board work diligently to secure resources that promote the continuing progress of the college. And members of our many advisory committees assist the faculty and administration in planning, conducting and evaluating each of the college’s Occupational-Technical Programs; they also provide counsel in the development of new programs that reflect the changing needs for trained personnel in the community.
We are additionally blessed by the people in the communities served by the college and the many forms of giving they do to enhance the quality of life and to make a difference for others. It is truly wonderful to count all the ways that people are giving through volunteer work. Their unselfish acts are the truest forms of gift giving.
A broad array of individuals and community organizations (and local foundations) provides needed scholarships for our students. The range of scholarship options through the generosity of others includes awards given in memory of loved ones, awards directed to certain occupational tracks and awards to honor someone living.
Examples of memorial scholarships include the Susan E. Terry Scholarship, established by the GFWC Franklin Jr. Woman’s Club in 1983 in memory of a dedicated member of their club; the Ryan Kirkland Memorial Nursing Scholarship, established in 2007 by Ryan’s family and friends in celebration of his life; the Dean Nancy Sandberg Scholarship, established by her family and friends in memory of Dr. Sandberg and her positive contributions to education and PDCCC; and more recently, the Pamela Michelle O’Quinn American Sign Language Scholarship, established last year by Pamela’s family and targeted for students interested in pursuing college-level courses in American Sign Language (ASL).
The Col. Lula B. Holland, U.S. Army (Retired), MSW, BSN, AA Scholarship is an example of a scholarship honoring a living example of public service. Established by Col. Holland’s daughter, this scholarship provides for books and incidentals related to the completion of a degree by a non-traditional student. Former College President Ed Barnes also sponsors the Shirley Barnes Scholarship, in honor of his wife and her many contributions.
Scholarships promoting particular career tracks include multiple memorial awards from diverse givers for students pursuing a nursing degree. In addition, area businesses donate equipment and dollars toward specific programs (heating, ventilation and air conditioning, for example).
And finally, we are most proud of our students who give back to the communities that support them. Unlike students at four-year residential institutions, our students typically juggle jobs and family responsibilities in tandem with their course of study. Thus, they have precious little time for extracurricular activities — making their giving even more impressive!
During fall semester, nursing students provided free blood pressure checks at various community events and participated in other outreach activities, including the Walk for Victims of Domestic Violence. Students in our Literary Club at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus provided volunteer time tutoring young children at the Boys and Girls Club of Suffolk at J.F. Kennedy Middle School. Both sets of students also facilitated donations to local food banks, and the Student Government Association collected coats and sponsored an Angel Tree for the needy.
In this season of giving, let us not forget, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only gift is a portion of thyself.”
The College is closed for the holidays and will reopen on Jan. 5, when registration for Spring Semester 2009 continues through Jan. 9. Spring Semester classes start Jan. 12.