Valencia College is a premier learning college that transforms lives, strengthens community and inspires individuals to excellence.
Valencia College Foundation’s mission is to support learning at Valencia College through scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, program enhancement funds and development of capital dollars.
We are looking for a short-term special events consultant to fill the position of Special Events Coordinator. This is a high impact position that will help put together a large-scale signature event to benefit the community we serve.
This contract position is responsible for assisting foundation staff with the planning and execution of our signature event on May 17, 2014, Taste for Learning.
Length of contract: March 10, 2014 – May 23, 2014
Location: Valencia College Foundation, 190 S. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801. There will be event planning meetings at other locations from time to time. Some duties may be done from a remote location. Event will take place at Rosen Shingle Creek.
Pay range: Inclusive fee of $4,000 – $5,000 for length of contract, commensurate with experience
Responsibilities include coordinating all aspects of the silent auction for the signature event but are not limited to:
• Preparing various forms of correspondence to request in-kind donations from constituents.
• Coordinating the delivery or pick up of in-kind donations.
• Tracking and entering in-kind donations into Raiser’s Edge database.
• Sending acknowledgements to in-kind donors.
• Attend event planning meetings.
• Recognizing silent auction donors and promoting the event through social media.
• Assemble in-kind donations into silent auction packages.
• Prepare bid sheets and on-site silent auction set up and subsequent break down.
• Coordinate volunteers for silent auction area.
• Work with foundation staff to coordinate the development and printing of silent auction listings for event program and other donor recognition pieces.
• Assist in packaging auction items for delivery to event location.
• On site auction area set up and subsequent break down.
• Follow up on final payment and delivery of auction items after event (for items not paid and/or picked up at event).
• Maintain oral and written contact with foundation management, staff and event partners for the purpose of exchange of information as it relates to the event.
• Other event-related duties as needed.
• Experience in nonprofits, including managing or organizing large-scale special events required. Demonstrated ability to secure auction items and sponsorships a plus.
• Strong oral and written communications skills.
• Highly adaptable and flexible individual who can excel in a fast paced environment and respond to last minute requests.
• High level attention to detail.
• Ability to work independently and with a team.
• Strong computer skills, especially Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and donor database experience. Raiser’s Edge experience preferred.
• This position will initially require only a few hours a week and then steadily progress to more in the weeks and days leading up to and through the event.
For immediate consideration, please submit cover letter and resume via email to email@example.com. Upon reviewing, we will contact you to schedule an interview. Contract to remain open and resumes will be accepted until filled.
Take Stock in Children of Orange County received $35,000 to help disadvantaged and at-risk youth be successful in school and go on to college. Take Stock was one of 25 local charities that received grants totaling $600,000 from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, in celebration of the Magic’s 25th anniversary season.
“We are proud to be one of the 25 organizations recognized for making a significant difference in our community,” said Elisha Gonzalez, director of the Take Stock in Children program.
“The commitment of the Orlando Magic Youth Fund and The McCormick Foundation to provide opportunities to our students locally is unprecedented. This grant means providing scholarships, mentors and hope to many more students to end the cycle of poverty. We are honored to celebrate 25 years of the Orlando Magic and to be part of their All Star team.”
In addition to the grant award, each organization will be recognized during the remaining home games this season.
“In what has become one of my favorite days of the year, we are proud to assist these very deserving organizations who work tirelessly to improve the lives of youth in Central Florida,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins.
Valencia administers Take Stock in Children—a statewide program—in the Orlando area in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. Valencia’s Take Stock In Children program pairs community leader mentors with students starting in the 8th grade. Students who maintain good grades, remain crime and drug free, and meet with their mentors are awarded a 2+2 Florida Prepaid scholarship upon graduating from high school. Students can attend a two-year community college and state university of their choice.
For more about Take Stock in Children: http://valenciacollege.edu/tsic
Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu
“Jealousy” is a bitingly vicious, yet hilarious, tragicomedy revolving around three individuals – Celia, Al and Gunnar – who are trapped in a room of uncertainty, betrayal, love, desire, truth and lies.
Written by Brown, a Valencia graduate, the play will be directed by John DiDonna, with stage design by Kristen Abel and Aaron Babcock.
Evening performances will be held Feb. 5-8 at 7:30 p.m. On Feb. 8 and 9, matinee performances will be held at 2 p.m.
During the run, the cast will perform two special performances. The Feb. 8 afternoon matinee will be an experimental all-female cast, while the Feb. 8 evening performance will feature sign-language interpretation for deaf or hearing-impaired patrons.
Question-and-answer sessions with the playwright, director and cast will occur after the Feb. 7 evening performance and the Feb. 8 afternoon matinee.
Please note: The play contains adult subject matter, language and situations.
All performances will be held in the Black Box Theater on Valencia’s East Campus, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, in Orlando. General admission tickets are $12; tickets are $10 for Valencia College staff, senior citizens and students. Order tickets online (at http://www.valenciacollege.edu/arts) and receive $2 off when you use the discount code: VALENCIAWEB.
Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu
It’s not too late to make a gift. You can make a credit card donation through our website at http://www.valencia.org. Or you can mail a check to Valencia Foundation, 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.
From the foundation to you, have a happy holiday season!
In this season of giving and thanks, what better time to share a heartfelt student scholarship thank you. Valencia student, Christopher, shares what it means to receive the Raymer and Dean Maguire Scholarship.
Saying thank you time and time again couldn’t nearly express my gratitude. I am writing this due to your generosity in extending a helping hand to someone in need, me.
Ever since high school ended and my college life began, it has been a constant struggle staying in school. Whether it was a family ordeal or lack of resources, I was not sure if I could continue attending classes. Recently moving out on my own and taking on more adult responsibilities put a lot more than just financial stress on me. The emotional stress was very taxing and I was not sure I could make it to the following semesters, but then you came along – an answer to my prayers. Just knowing that someone cared enough to help someone like me in such a big way is still awe-inspiring.
I could go on about my life story and my personal trials and errors, and how you helped me out in a time of need, but I won’t. You have given me a future to focus on, a new drive and hope that I will pursue until I succeed. There is no need to dwell on the past because I have been given an opportunity and I will not be taking it lightly. I can’t express my sincere gratitude through words alone and I hope and I pray that I will make you proud in achieving my goals. Thank you again so much for this wonderful blessing you have bestowed on me and I look forward to sharing my achievements with you in the near future.
For everyone that supports Valencia Foundation, thank you. You truly make a difference in the lives of our students. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!
The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved Valencia College’s plans to create a new campus in Poinciana, paving the way for Valencia to begin the process of looking for a site for the new campus.
Although Valencia College officials have been eyeing a possible Poinciana campus since 2003, the discussion began to gain traction this year, said Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College president. “We have been looking forward to bringing our presence to Poinciana for many years,” Shugart said.
When the campus will be completed depends on state funding, but college officials hope to get it added to the list of state-approved building projects. Plans call for securing a site by late spring of 2014.
College officials estimate that the first phase of construction of the Poinciana campus will consist of one 60,000-70,000 square foot building, which would serve about 2,500 students. Eventually, the campus would encompass 150,000 square feet of classrooms and offices and would serve about 4,000 students.
The new Poinciana campus will be Valencia’s sixth campus. The college currently operates four campuses in Orange County and one in Osceola County.
Poinciana is one of the fastest-growing communities in Central Florida. Census figures show that the area’s population grew from 13,600 residents to more than 53,000 from 2000 to 2010. Currently, students who live in the Poinciana area must commute about 45 minutes during rush hour to reach Valencia’s Kissimmee campus. The commute takes nearly two hours by bus.
“A campus in Poinciana would be a game-changer,” said Shugart. “We’d like to increase the college-going rate of students who graduate from high school in the Poinciana area; we’d like to get more adults to complete college degrees as well. We’d like to offer more career-training there; and we’d like to partner with the University of Central Florida and TECO (Technical Education Center Osceola) and others to make sure a full gamut of talent is available for companies that relocate and expand there.”
Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu
The Council for Resource Development (CRD), a national association of community college fundraising professionals, has selected Paul Jr. and Deb Mears to receive its 2013 Benefactors of the Year award. The annual award recognizes the outstanding contributions and service of donors who have made a difference to a community college. Mr. and Mrs. Mears were honored in Washington, D.C., as the top philanthropists for an urban, public college.
Paul Jr. and Deb Mears received the award in recognition of their long history of philanthropic support to Valencia College. The family has been involved with Valencia Foundation, the college’s fundraising arm, for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has served on the foundation’s board of directors since 2008.
In 2010, the Mears family pledged $1 million to create the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Established in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the fund supports educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, an initiative that helps promising at-risk children succeed through mentoring and a guaranteed college scholarship. In recognition of the gift, the college renamed its West Campus Student Services Building the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.
“We are most grateful for the partnership and support of Paul and Deb Mears and especially for the lives their investment is changing,” said Valencia President Sanford C. Shugart. “This honor recognizes not only their commitment to Take Stock and the college, but also to their numerous other charitable endeavors.”
Paul Mears Sr. founded Mears Transportation Group in 1939 with three taxicabs. Today it is one of Central Florida’s most recognized premier guest services and destination management companies. The company also provides charitable support to the Red Cross and is a founding contributor to the Give Kids the World Village. Deb Mears has served on the committee for the local Festival of Trees and Mears Transportation Group has sponsored the event, presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. In partnership with their sister company Hello Florida!, Mears has served as a corporate sponsor for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” charity walkathon.
Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu
Two Valencia College administrators have been named finalists for the annual Don Quijote Awards, which are presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida Inc.
Each year, the Don Quijote Awards recognize business excellence and outstanding professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.
Elisha Gonzalez, executive director of Take Stock in Children of Orange County, was nominated as Professional of the Year. “To be recognized by both the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an enormous honor,” said Gonzalez. “Growing up in Mexico City in a large family, I learned at a young age that everything is possible if you work together and for the greater good. I am committed to Valencia College and our community. I believe that economic development, education opportunities and top-caliber arts and culture offerings should be available to all citizens. I am proud to serve in Central Florida on various boards where collaboration and participation is the norm. I am humbled and proud to be a Don Quijote finalist and to be in the company of such accomplished Hispanic business and professional community leaders.”
Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus, was nominated for being a champion for the Hispanic community. At Valencia’s Osceola Campus, 42 percent of the students are Hispanic and Dr. Plinske has worked with the Osceola County schools and Osceola Education Foundation to increase the college-going rate for students in Osceola County.
“I can think of no greater honor than to be recognized as a finalist for the Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award,” said Dr. Plinske afterward. “While not Latina by birth, through my studies of Spanish, travels to Latin America, and work in Central Florida, I truly feel embraced by and part of the Hispanic community.
“As a first-generation college student, I was blessed to receive a scholarship to study Spanish, including the opportunity to study in Mexico. The opportunity to learn Spanish and explore the rich cultural heritage of Latin America was truly a gift, and I can think of no better way to give back than to help our Spanish-speaking families learn about the importance of higher education and help the dream of going to college become a reality for our students.”
The awards will be presented on Dec. 7 at Disney’s Epcot Pavilion.
Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu
In doing research for another project – a great series about returning students that will start in our November newsletter – I learned the story of Katherine. Hers is an inspirational and important story, all the more poignant because this month is domestic violence awareness month.
I didn’t want to wait to tell her story so I hope you will read it and share with people you know.
She was attending college in Miami, this was back in 2002, and she met a seemingly nice guy and they began dating. After a year and half, the abuse started. It started first with verbal abuse, calling her names that made her feel worthless. Then he began to exert control over many facets of her life, such as demanding she wear clothes over a bathing suit, whether at the beach or at the pool, and telling her what to wear.
Soon, the beatings started. After he had bruised her body, he started on her face, leaving her with broken vessels in her left eye and a black eye.
The next part is chilling, and I want to make sure I explain it exactly as she did: “One night after 3 months of abuse, verbal and physical, we arrived home from a night out and he started fighting with me. He choked me three times and I passed out each time. The third time I woke up he was sitting on top of me and had poured rubbing alcohol on my chest. He whispered to me, ‘I want to burn your heart,’ then proceeded to light me on fire.
Since I was on the floor, I rolled but that didn’t work, it just burned my left arm even more. When I got up, he was staring at me, surprised at what had happened. I ran to the bathroom and tried to turn the shower on, but when I leaned forward the fire on my chest began to creep under my chin and burned my eyebrows and eyelashes. He ran in and turned on the shower. Skin began to fall off my chest as the water ran down, my chest still had the feeling of being on fire.
I begged him to call for help. He refused and offered to heal me, and locked the front door so I couldn’t go out. Eventually I convinced him to let me call for help. He agreed so long as I told them I burned myself smoking a cigarette. I agreed and did so.
When I got to the emergency room, I was questioned by a nurse and she brought over a detective. They didn’t believe the initial story and I told them the truth about what had happened.”
Katherine spent a month in the hospital recovering but her spirit and emotions are still recovering. Diagnosed with PTSD, she refuses to allow her mind to take over and continue being in fear.
Her abuser received a 34-year sentence for attempted murder, arson, kidnapping and assault. But what could be the end of the story was just a beginning for Katherine. An inspirational survivor, she is determined to work on behalf of other abused women.
“I told myself I have to go back to school because it is too common how much domestic violence actually occurs, and I want to help women live and understand that regardless of your situation, kids or not, you can always leave and walk away.”
For Katherine, evil has a face, and some days are harder than others. But she refuses to let the bad days get her down or deter her from her goal of getting a master’s degree in sociology. Why? Because every day that goes by, women are being hurt and Katherine knows she can help. She wants to be as knowledgeable as possible so she can help as many women as possible
Katherine is working on writing a book about her experiences and serves as director for domestic violence at an international nonprofit for abused men, women and children.
As for her decision to return to school, she shares, “I’m tired of letting time pass by so I had to do something and enroll in school again, and God willing, soon I can change part of the world.”
Yes, I believe that. Katherine demonstrates the very definition of strength and serves as a beacon of hope that life can be lived, and can thrive, even after the most sinister abuse.
Locally, help can be found at Harbor House of Central Florida (407-886-2856) or Help Now of Osceola County, Inc. (407-847-8562).
Please keep Katherine’s story in mind this month and beyond. I want to thank her so much for trusting me with her story. She also shared the attached photo, a testament to her beauty both inside and out.
The winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations, “Chicago” roars onto the Valencia Performing Arts Center stage this fall.
See what makes this Bob Fosse musical deliciously dangerous and exhilarating – as the show says, it’s a story of “murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery – all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts.”
Join Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn, the “Merry Murderesses” and all the iconic characters that have made this musical one of the biggest Broadway successes ever since its debut in 1975. The subsequent revival became the longest-running musical revival as well as the longest running American musical on Broadway. It is also the third longest running show in Broadway history.
Valencia’s production will be directed by program chair John DiDonna, with choreography by Eric Yow of Yow Dance, and musical direction by Tim Hanes.
On Oct. 25, the performance will be followed by a talk-back with the cast and crew.
General admission tickets cost $15. Senior citizens, Valencia faculty, staff and students may purchase tickets for $12. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.valenciacollege.edu/arts.
Use the code “VALENCIAWEB” for a $2 discount on each ticket. The discount is for online purchases only. Tickets and more information are also available by calling the college box office at 407-582-2900.
There will only be seven performances of this hit musical, so advance purchase is advised.
Please note: The play contains adult subject matter and is considered a PG to PG-13 rating.
Valencia’s East Campus is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail.
Thanks to grassroots support, Valencia gathered $203,746 in scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college. That total includes our dollar-for-dollar match through a challenge grant; 100 percent of this money will go directly to students.
Top internal fundraisers were: Paula Pritchard, dean of nursing, Annmarie Coco Wise, purchasing agent, Katie Shephard, speech professor, Brenda Jones, facilities specialist, David Hosman, student life skills professor, Amanda Kern, graphics technology professor, Rob McCaffrey, graphics technology professor, and Josh Murdock, instructional designer.
The top Valencia alumni teams were led by Michele Nichols (Generation One), Julie Bennett (Gladiators in Wingtips) and Zia-ur-Rehman Ansari (Team Zia).
Foundation board members Rebecca York and Sue Foreman and foundation director emeritus and alumnna Sarah Kelly helped the team surpass its goal.
The most productive internal teams were graphic design, nursing, purchasing and OIT. These fearless internal philanthropy warriors were led by many, including Kristy Pennino and Ariane Dicarlo.
Kudos to Jason Dodge and the Valencia Volunteers team for their commitment, enthusiasm and heart.
Our thanks to each of you for, once again, putting students first.
My name is Angel Sanchez, and I am the first in my family to not only get a GED, but to go to college and excel at it. Despite not having the resources and guidance available to make college a realistic possibility, today I am a 4.0 honor student at Valencia College and much of it has been thanks to the support I’ve received from grants and Valencia Foundation scholarships which have made college a reality.
My story, as is the story of every first-generation college student, is the story of heroes. I feel that by going to college and defying the odds, I am becoming the hero in my family.
I was struck with this reality when I was visiting my family in Miami during the winter break and was talking with my little niece, Destiny. Destiny is 7-years-old and growing up in the crime ridden inner cities of Miami and knows no one who has ever finished school besides her teachers. Before leaving, Destiny asked me why did I have to go, and I explained that I had to return to Orlando because I had classes the following Monday. In shock, Destiny asked, “Uncle, you’re in school? What grade are you in?” I giggled and said, “Baby, I’m in college; I’m past high school,” and with sheer confidence she replied, “Uncle I’m going to go to college too.”
At that point I realized that I carried with me a great responsibility and had been given a great privilege: as a first-generation college student, not only did I have the opportunity to change the trajectory of my own life, but I was also changing the idea of what was possible for my little niece—I was given the opportunity to be a hero for my family.
However, I am not the only hero in this story. Just as I am having an impact on Destiny’s life, there have been countless individuals who have impacted my life and helped make my college dream a reality—they too are heroes!
Therefore, whenever you are able to help someone be the first in their family to do something great, such as going to college, you are being a hero, because as one of my friends once told me, “when we change someone’s life, we are changing that life plus the ripple effect.” So I challenge you today to be a hero and join me in helping other first-generation college students become heroes too!
Visit http://www.valencia.org/FirstOne and help someone today.
Today is the first day of classes for the semester – welcome back students!
Here is some inspiration for all of us as we get our week started – favorite “firsts” from the Wall of Firsts that was at our campaign headquarters. Our First One campaign is a celebration of all firsts and raises money for scholarships for those that are the first in their families to attend college. There is still time to participate – visit http://www.valencia.org/FirstOne today!
Valencia College is proud to host “Graphic Guts,” an exhibit by internationally acclaimed artist and social activist Luba Lukova, which will run Aug. 16 through Sept. 27 at Valencia’s Anita S. Wooten Gallery, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando.
Valencia will hold a gallery reception to welcome the artist on Sept. 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Lukova will speak at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.
The Bulgarian-born Lukova is regarded as one of the most distinctive image-makers working today. Whether by using an economy of line, color and text to pinpoint essential themes of the human condition or to succinctly depict social commentary, her work is powerful and thought-provoking. In a climate dominated by complex multi-layered imagery, Lukova’s work is a refreshing contrast. Using engaging composition and energetic contrasts, her distinctive style is powerful in its simplicity and vivid palette, often achieved with single ink on colored paper.
Lukova’s work has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally, with solo exhibitions at the UNESCO in Paris; the DDD Gallery in Osaka, Japan; La MaMa Gallery, New York; and the Art Institute of Boston. Her work is included in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and the World Bank.
In 2008, she released a critically acclaimed book of posters entitled Social Justice 2008, 12 Posters by Luba Lukova. Since its publication, the posters have been exhibited widely around the world.
The Anita S. Wooten Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is located in Building 3 on Valencia’s East Campus, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando. For more information, please call 407-582-2298.
The foundation’s First One campaign has been extended! We heard from some of our hardworking team leads that perhaps we were too quick to end the campaign on Aug. 11. Scheduling things in the summer months can be difficult and we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be successful. We want to be sure the campaign ends at an appropriate time, and raises all the funds we can for our first-generation students.
All funds raised are still eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match and 100 percent of all money raised will go directly to scholarships.
For those of you already working on the campaign, thank you so much for your support. Yes, our campaign goal is important, but your friendship matters more. If there is anything we can do to help you reach your fundraising goal, just let us know! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you haven’t yet pledged your support, please visit http://www.valencia.org/FirstOne today to find out more about this important campaign that supports education in our community.
Have you pledged your support to our First One campaign? With a deadline of Aug. 10, we are trying to raise $100,000 for first-generation student scholarships.
Life is a celebration of firsts, and through this campaign, you can give a first that lasts a lifetime – being the first in the family to attend college.
Please join us today at www.valencia.org/FirstOne
Last Wednesday, the foundation kicked off our First One campaign. The First One campaign is a six-week online campaign that hopes to raise $100,000 in scholarships for first generation college students. These students are the first in their family to attend college, and the campaign itself is a celebration of firsts – those special memories that help shape who we are today. For more information on the campaign, please visit http://www.Valencia.org/FirstOne.
First One Campaign Kick Off Reception
Wednesday, July 10, 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m.
Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute
8600 Valencia College Lane
Orlando, FL 32825
Enjoy food, fun and fellowship as we embark on the First One campaign in support of first-generation student scholarships.
The campaign runs through August 10. During that time, we are asking participants to share their firsts, a memory about a special first and how it impacted your life. #FirstOne
To RSVP for the reception, please call 407-582-3180. For more information about the First One campaign, visit http://www.valencia.org/FirstOne.
Many people I interview reference their parents and families as role models for higher education. Their parents went to college and they followed in their footsteps. But what if you didn’t have that? What would you do? Would you have enough courage to start down that path alone? Would you have enough motivation and faith to overcome obstacles?
Last year, more than 29,000 Valencia students did just that, they were the first in their families to attend college. These students are their own role model and work hard every day to change the trajectory of their family for generations to come.
To help these students, Valencia has launched the first ONE campaign. This is a six-week online effort to raise $100,000 for first generation student scholarships. 100 percent of the funds raised will go directly to support these scholarships, and each donation is eligible for a dollar to dollar match.
Each student story is unique but there is some commonality among first generation students. Often, they report that they watched their parent(s) struggle, not having a postsecondary education. And for each there is a mention of pride, pride they have for their accomplishment and the pride that they feel from their families being the first to attend college.
Natacha suffered a great tragedy, she lost her parents. That caused her to choose a career in the healthcare field. She wants to be a doctor to save people because she doesn’t want others to feel the way that she feels, not having those she loves and cherishes there to cheer on her accomplishments.
Samantha’s parents didn’t go to college, but they instilled in her the importance of education and greatly influenced her decision to become a nurse. She wants to give back to her parents and make them proud.
Alexander watched someone close to him struggle with cocaine addiction and since then he has always been anti-drug. He plans to finish his AS degree in criminal justice and attend the police academy.
Bianca’s dad was her only parent growing up and he never got past middle school. She shares that although he lacks a higher education, he is intelligent, gaining his accomplishments through hard work, and he taught her not to take any of life’s experiences for granted. She has been accepted to Valencia’s nursing program and recently got a job in the field.
Sequilla wants to get her AS in accounting and then move on to get a bachelor’s degree in business. She finds that going to school and being committed to her goals has had a ripple effect on her ten-year-old son. He has gone from a C student to straight A’s.
Isaias did some soul-searching and decided he would like to pursue a career in medical administration. He realized that a higher education would afford him more opportunities and a chance for a career.
Taisha remembers a childhood of poverty, addiction and welfare. As an adolescent she found herself in homeless shelters twice. When she became a mother she got serious about her education, determined to break the cycle of poverty and give her children a cherished childhood. Taisha is completing all of her pre-requisites and hopes to be accepted into Valencia’s sonography program.
Edith started a company with her husband but the economic downturn hit the business hard. She realizes that the job market has become much more competitive and most employers now require some sort of degree. She is at Valencia pursuing a degree in computer programming and analysis.
These stories represent the students that will benefit from the first ONE campaign. This online campaign will be a new venture for the foundation and we invite you to embark on this journey with us. Visit www.valencia.org/firstONE for more information.
If you are interested in leading a fundraising team, please contact Donna Marino, CFRE, at 407-582-3128, or Barbara Shell at 407-582-3219.
This month I am turning the keyboard over to scholarship recipient Angela Bardwell-Owens. She shares with us her definition of philanthropy and explains the importance of scholarships.
Easily defined as an inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, usually through monetary donations, philanthropy is more than just a financial endeavor. Philanthropy begins from a frame of mind that sometimes, people need a little assistance. This benevolence extends into donations of services or self as well.
As a sophomore studying psychological sciences, I am exposed to numerous theories and abstract ways of thinking. I am often asked why I stay after class or stay up late to help classmates with class materials. My reply is always the same, “I am able to do the right thing by offering myself as a service to students who are struggling, because someone else has offered their assistance to me.”
I have been the fortunate recipient of nine scholarships since my arrival at Valencia in the fall of 2011. These scholarships have alleviated some of the financial burden I have placed myself and my family under for the pursuit of higher education.
My dream is to lead my own lab as a research scientist creating new research, overseeing graduate student research, undergraduate activities, managing multiple projects and continuing to provide leadership to institutional and community organizations.
I am active in several student organizations on campus, in the community, as well as interning at a research lab at UCF. The philanthropists who have generously offered funding to scholarships inspired me long ago to give something of myself to Valencia College. The act of giving is philanthropy, in which I am able to give my assistance to anyone who needs it.
Scholarships have made a significant impact on me financially, which I have now transformed into service to my college. I will continue to offer my late nights for student services until I am financially able to increase the well-being of humankind, specifically the student scholarships at Valencia College. Without having received scholarships through Valencia Foundation, I may not have had as many opportunities to give myself in service to others, who sometimes, need a little assistance.
Here is mine: I remember my first day of college at UCF. I remember the tape that was in the tape deck of my very well-worn Pontiac Sunbird and I remember I was wearing a brand new pair of sandals. My classes were spread across campus and I remember I got the worst blisters from those sandals!
Here is a favorite first memory from our coordinator of foundation accounts, Vanessa de la Paz-Ramos: I remember the first time I laid my eyes on my nephew after he was born. He was so tiny, with legs that looked like that of a frog, but a cutie-patootie all at the same time. It was right at that moment that I realized how his presence as our very own little prince made our little family complete.
And from our scholarship coordinator, Jennifer Bhagirath: I’ll never forget winning my first award, the “Writing Wizard” ribbon for our school’s fifth-grade creative writing competition. Writing about what I believed happened when our community recycled, my composition included everything from talking recycling bins to singing whales so overjoyed by our efforts to keep our environment clean. It was this experience that set motion to my love of writing and I have been captivated by it ever since.
Our donor stewardship manager, Donna Marino, CFRE, also had a well-worn first car, a Datsun 310 hatchback, nicknamed “Skip” because he stalled and skipped until she got the handle of driving stick: I remember the first time I popped a clutch going backwards (forwards was pretty much all the time as the key didn’t work properly). It was on Valencia’s East Campus. Back then, there were slopes in the parking area around the trees. Students could park on the hills to keep a car under the shade. I was parked there on a day when my car wouldn’t start. There was no one around to push it forward. I figured popping the clutch should be the same backwards and forwards. I turned the ignition on, let out the clutch, allowed the car to roll back and I started the car, with a “Skip”!
Barbara Shell, alumni relations director, sends along this memory: My first summer alumni relations conference was at Vanderbilt University. My workmates sent me off with a “care package” that included purple flip-flops with polka dots for the community shower room. They were great conversation starters for sure! I am still excited to remember my first private dorm room and my first bunk bed experience during that time.
And Daphne Cooper, alumni relations assistant brings us full circle with a special student scholarship memory: My first Valencia scholarship came from The University Club of Orlando. I was very surprised and honored to be an award recipient. It definitely inspired me to continue my studies here at Valencia and gives me insight today as I currently work with scholarship applicants.
Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orlando had a successful golf outing on May 10. Net event proceeds from the event were $16,186.91. Funds raised at this event go to support the Commercial Real Estate Women Scholarship, designed for students studying in the fields of accounting, architecture, building construction, engineering, drafting and design, pre-law/paralegal studies, real estate and marketing. In all, CREW Orlando golf outings have raised $113,000 for student scholarships.
We send CREW a job well done, thank you for being our partner and helping students realize their dreams!
At the center of it all is Elizabeth. So let’s start with a little bit about her and then see where the story takes us.
Elizabeth Fulcher is currently a sophomore working to get her associate in science in paralegal studies. She plans to continue on at UCF and get a bachelor’s in legal studies, taking the transactional path of litigation to be a paralegal.
Elizabeth actually started her post-secondary education at Winter Park Tech studying court reporting. The program was downsized and at the same time, she had an accident and required back surgery. The surgeon told her to pick a sedentary job. She decided to completely start over at Valencia. “I remember I was lying in bed after surgery and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to Valencia.’ So I got up the next day and I took my time and I went to the registration office. They told me what they needed and I got it all taken care of. I just started slowly and I had to do remedial courses but so what? It will pay off in the long run.”
She acknowledges it was difficult to completely start over but says that it made her stronger and made her have more self-discipline. “Things happen, but I can pick myself back up.”
Soon she was approached by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and she was inducted as a member of the Alpha Gamma Omega chapter. She became involved with the “Honors Study Topic.” Every two years there is an “Honors Study Topic” and it is a theme for which essays for awards and projects are done to develop and create activities, experiences and service. The theme during Elizabeth’s involvement was called “The Culture of Competition.” Her and her fellow PTK contributors called it the anti-bullying project. They felt that bullying has a direct effect on competition and is particularly relevant to the college student population, who might be bullied for being smart or acting different.
Their investigation and research led to two things. First, they proposed a buddy system for children transitioning from middle school to high school. Each middle school student would be linked to a high school student who would be their resource and offer guidance. Additionally, they found an anti-bullying application for tablets and smart phones that would make reporting bullying much easier. To raise funds for their project, they held a prom for those who never got to go to their traditional prom. While a largely social event, it still supported their anti-bullying campaign by offering a prom for those who may have felt too scared or out of place to attend their high school prom.
The group worked with a few schools, but in the end the schools did not want to use the app due to increased liability issues. But Elizabeth didn’t stop, she spoke with Sheriff Demings and he gave her some insight on who to contact. She also wrote to the National School Board Association and the Florida Department of Education, as well as Representative Joe Saunders and Representative Darren Soto. Representative Soto did respond favorably to her idea, and during our chat she reminded herself to follow up with his office.
Elizabeth worked so hard for this effort because for her, this was a personal battle. She suffered at the hands of a group of “mean girls” and found that reporting it did little to stop the problem. Things escalated from verbal abuse to physical harm and she dropped out of school in 12th grade and got her GED. The project “had a big impact on me because I would recount the days that I was affected…it just brought back a lot of memories and I was so adamant, I just wanted to do something about it.”
Although Elizabeth is reluctant to admit she is a role model, which she most certainly is, one doesn’t have to look far at all to find people who will praise just how awesome she is. Professor Keith Malmos is the advisor for Elizabeth’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. Right off the bat he shares, “She’s very appreciative and very modest but she is an amazing student and deserves what she gets.”
And as a testament to her modesty, it was Professor Malmos who filled me in on all the accolades Elizabeth has achieved through Phi Theta Kappa. She won an Elaine Turner Service Award through her Alpha Gamma Omega chapter. The anti-bullying essay was submitted to the Florida region for awards and helped her chapter receive a Distinguished Chapter of the State, recognizing the top 10 in the state. The chapter also submitted a Distinguished Member Award application on Elizabeth’s behalf and she won regionally and also won national recognition as a distinguished member.
Elizabeth credits her dad and her sister for helping to instill the drive to succeed. Her father told her, “Get a good education, you can take it anywhere you want.”
But for Elizabeth, it was her setbacks that really got her mindset focused on herself, not just because someone else says that education is important. “I truly feel in my heart if you don’t learn you are not doing anything. Success has no age limit and learning does not end at college. Learning is infinite in my opinion. Life is an education.”
In talking with Elizabeth, it is clear that the camaraderie and fellowship of PTK means a lot to her. “It’s just amazing how nice they are. I never knew people were that kind and caring and I’m so glad they graced my path.”
It was through Phi Theta Kappa that she learned about the Justin Harvey Alpha Gamma Omega Scholarship. She submitted an essay for consideration and was ecstatic when she found out she received the scholarship. She was moved by Justin’s story and incorporated how he inspired her in her winning essay.
I too was very moved when Elizabeth and I met and I decided to find out more about this wonderful young man and the legacy he left.
Justin’s mother, Sharon Skoloski, is a professor at Valencia in the social science department. She recounted stories of a young man who was successful but very humble, extremely talented and generous but quiet about his good deeds. Professor Skoloski remembers Thanksgiving, when dinner would have to wait until Justin returned home from feeding the homeless. “He would load up his car and just hit the road for different areas of Orlando and hand out dinner to the people on the railroad tracks or wherever they might be on the street so that they could have Thanksgiving dinner. That was my son.” And it wasn’t until after he passed that she found out the true extent of his gifts to others: There was the time he saved a friend during a river excursion and the many times he would take a homeless person to dinner while in downtown Orlando.
Justin graduated from Valencia in 2005 and continued on at UCF to study sports medicine. But his involvement with Valencia was not over; he served on the board of directors for Valencia’s alumni association.
He spearheaded efforts to start Valencia’s 5K event. Unfortunately, he passed away before the first event, but the event is still held each year and his memory is a part of each one. Also due to his good work and in the spirit of partnership, it is because of Justin that UCF’s sports medicine students are involved with the 5K event.
Justin was a classic violinist. He played since kindergarten and won many state awards in both Florida and West Virginia. While he had no problem performing in front of large audiences, he sometimes became shy when his mother would ask him to play for family or friends. “Truly, really humble,” Sharon remembers.
Justin was in Phi Theta Kappa and so was his best friend, Abeer Abdalla. Abeer wrote an article about Justin that shares even more of his community involvement and good deeds. He was committed to living the ideals of servant leadership and served as senator of membership for the Alpha Gamma Omega chapter of PTK, the same chapter Elizabeth is involved in now. He was recognized as a Fall 2004 Distinguished Officer, a Spring 2005 Distinguished Officer and the Fall 2004 Officer of the Semester.
While at Valencia, Justin was named a 2004 Coca-Cola Scholar and was most proud of winning the 2004 Florida Region’s Original Music Composition Award. And the support he gave to the local community was above and beyond, serving as a longtime volunteer for the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, Habitat for Humanity, Harbor House, Project Graduation and the National Kidney Foundation.
It was through the efforts of Phi Theta Kappa and the alumni association that the Justin Harvey Alpha Gamma Omega Scholarship was named and endowed. Sharon says, “It is an honor every semester to give out that scholarship.”
Sharon loves being an educator and interacting with Valencia students and as a professor she knows the importance the foundation and scholarships can make. She is grateful that the college remembers Justin’s legacy and considers it “an honor for me that Valencia carries it on as they do, so I’m always very grateful for Valencia.”
In putting this all together, I am struck by the humble nature of both Justin and Elizabeth. They both do good without needing accolades or recognition, and it is these quiet leaders that can change the world. Justin certainly did in the time he was here and Elizabeth is a wonderful representative of his spirit and legacy. I am honored to have been able to share their stories.
In light of the recent tornado and devastation in Oklahoma, I want to take a detour from our usual “Philanthropy, different definitions, same message” discussion. The foundation had the wonderful opportunity to host fundraising expert Kay Sprinkel Grace for a day of networking and workshops on May 1. In her morning session, she shared a model that showed philanthropy as a large circle and it is based in values. Development is within that circle and it uncovers shared values, and fundraising is within that, giving people opportunities to act on their values.
When a natural disaster hits, I think people many miles away, even across continents, are affected because here is a community of people who have had some pretty basic values taken from them – shelter, food, even the loss of family and friends. In Oklahoma parents are without children, families are missing loved ones, homes and schools have been decimated, beloved pets are displaced from their loving homes and families. We rally at times like these perhaps because we can’t fathom what it would be like to have what we value destroyed, or if we’ve been through a similar experience, we heartbreakingly empathize, but for whatever reason we look for ways to help. Fundraising and opportunities for support are a natural extension of this global grieving process because it allows us to act, to actively take part in helping to rebuild community.
The foundation received an email from community friend Mark Brewer, president and CEO of Community Foundation of Central Florida. He shared that those wishing to support recovery work in the Oklahoma City area can contribute to a fund at their fellow community foundation, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
Contributions to the Oklahoma City Tornado Recovery Fund can be made online at OCCF.ORG. Oklahoma City Community Foundation will use contributions to its Tornado Recovery Fund for the greatest needs of those impacted by the storms as well as schools and charities that are damaged. Their foundation has also encouraged contributions to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army in its region for immediate shelter and emergency needs.
And a quick internet search brought up the Central Oklahoma Humane Society who is working with Oklahoma City and Moore to assist in efforts to receive, assess and shelter displaced and injured animals.
What started out as a fundraising group for the American Heart Association has grown into a wonderful group that raises important nursing scholarship funds for local areas colleges and universities.
The group started as Coeur de Coeur in 1980 and raised more than $2.5 million for the American Heart Association. They reorganized in 1998 as Femmes de Coeur (Women of Heart) and have raised another million dollars for local charities. The group is made up of 50 members who are women volunteering time and sharing a common goal to serve the needs of the community. Part of their uniqueness is that they partner with existing organizations to accomplish their mission. The sharing of resources allows Femmes de Coeur to provide help to a larger community audience.
Each year, Femmes de Coeur hosts an event, Let Us Entertain You!, a dance challenge full of dancing and music. Funds raised at the event go to support Adventist University of Health Sciences, Seminole State College, UCF College of Nursing and Valencia College. The event features a professional dance show including a dancing challenge by local celebrities. Additionally, faculty from each participating school are paired with a dance professional for the challenge.
People vote with their dollars and competitors do quite a good job fundraising and collecting donations. These donations, as well as the judges’ score, produce the winners of the celebrity and faculty dance challenges.
The current president of Femmes de Coeur, Judy Conrad, shares how the event was created. Six years ago she was the event chairwoman and wanted to include all of the four teaching colleges in their fundraising efforts. Judy and her co-chairs, Doris Holiday and Betty Wilson, were ballroom dancers and after the popularity of televised dance competition shows, they decided to approach some of the professionals in the dance community and the event was launched. The faculty challenge was added in the second year.
Not to brag, but Valencia seems to produce some great talent. For the past four years, our dancing divas and dudes have been the ones to beat! Past winning competitors include Dr. Paula Pritchard, dean of nursing, Manny Ramos, professor of nursing, Dr. Mike Bosley, executive dean at Lake Nona Campus and dear foundation friend and donor Dean Maguire.
This year’s event was held on June 2 and our competitor was interim dean of science on West Campus, Dr. Bob Gessner. He was chosen as a result of his friendship with Valencia’s nursing division and their dean. “Paula asked if I could dance and I said of course.”
But he didn’t know it was ballroom dance, which he had never done before. He credits his dance pro, Jennifer Caminas, with helping him get competition ready. “It has been a lot of work, but the time has been well spent doing this for our nursing division and for the scholarships this will fund for our nursing students.”
Last year, Valencia’s nursing students were so touched by Femmes de Coeur generous $12,500 donation that they did the photo below, “You have our heart.” Those funds are earmarked to support Valencia College nursing students through the Femmes de Coeur Nursing Endowed Scholarship. We add our thanks to that, Femmes de Coeur is an organization made up of women who bring great help and hope to our community and we are so happy for our long-time partnership.
And in breaking news…Valencia continues the winning streak! Last night, Dr. Gessner was crowned as this year’s winner. Congratulations and keep dancing!