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AmeriCorps/Vista leaves legacy at RCC

Sep 3, 2019

WENTWORTH – While the AmeriCorps/Vista program has come to an end at Rockingham Community College, its projects continue helping the college, its students, and its community.

AmeriCorps/Vista arrived on campus in the fall of 2017, in the form of two workers who stayed on for a year with the grant-funded program. They were followed by Emma Cooper and Elizabeth Treadwell, whose time here comes to a close this week.

Cooper landed at RCC through the grant after expressing to her Greensboro pastor an interest in helping refugees. He directed her toward “indirect service” through AmeriCorps/Vista, and she applied.

Treadwell, an Eden resident, was a social worker at the Salvation Army food pantry in Reidsville. What she knew of AmeriCorps/Vista was that teachers were involved in service work. “Indirect service was a strong draw, due to all the face-to-face interaction [in other opportunities],” she said, adding that she’s comfortable behind the scenes.

“The initial focus was capacity building from the high schools and getting into the community,” said Louis McIntyre, Title III project director at RCC.

Treadwell and Cooper agreed.

“Our predecessors were pathfinders in fulfilling part of the grant, and were all over the county learning about organizations and establishing relationships. They were not called to create projects, but they did a tremendous amount of research,” Treadwell said. “They did a wide range of learning about the county through economic reports, and [when we arrived] we picked up from there.”

Treadwell and Cooper took that background information and narrowed the scope of what they wanted to accomplish during their year, working from a small office tucked in a corner of the Advising and Counseling Center in the Whitcomb Student Center.

“I knew about the county, but was learning something new every day,” said Treadwell.

She and Cooper were tasked with creating projects, which were then vetted through RCC’s senior administration. While they arrived in September 2018, they spent the first several months building upon what their predecessors had started.

“But we had to come up with Plan B. Because the college has such a high profile in the community and within the public school system, it was almost difficult to see how we could forge our way through that and establish new relationships,” Treadwell said.

So they looked for other ways to make a difference, and began holding events in January 2019.

They sponsored a campus-wide MLK Remembrance Day, during which McIntyre introduced the online RCC Civic Engagement Directory, a project specifically designed by the AmeriCorps/Vista team as a resource by which RCC students can access volunteer opportunities, thus enlarging RCC’s community presence.

In February, Treadwell came up with a poster contest for Black History Month, to highlight personal individual role models.

“One of the most successful projects was partnering with the State Employees Credit Union for ‘The Reality of Money,’ which was very, very successful,” Treadwell said. “What came out of it is that SECU came to us after they saw the success [of the program and] wants to continue working with RCC faculty on a finance program. That will be a feather in the college’s cap.”

Cooper added that the program will be owned by RCC. Treadwell said SECU hopes to roll out the program in the spring.

On the heels of that April event, the AmeriCorps/Vistas hosted a Non-Public Schools Open House, to show off what the college has to offer. And in July, they hosted a Singapore Math workshop for home-school parent teachers.

In addition to the Civic Engagement Directory, the team also surveyed students on their basic needs, and posted a Student Resource Directory on RCC’s website which highlights diverse income-based services in the community that are available to students.

“Our projects can all be built upon … that’s the intention, for all of them to be sustained, added to and amplified,” Treadwell said.

“The activity of the grant should be in the history of the college. It legitimizes our activity, which was kind of important. Many people didn’t even know we were here,” Treadwell said.

Cooper and Treadwell documented their projects and built “toolkits” that are now archived by the library for ease in continuing the legacy.

“Only time will tell,” Treadwell said.

Address

Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Rd.
Wentworth, NC 27375

Hours

Monday to Thursday:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Contact

336-342-4261
336-349-9986 (fax)
info@rockinghamcc.edu