Valencia Alumni Volunteer Spotlight

Harry Halstead

Become a mentor and give back!

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Support the September 11th Walk/Run for Heroes

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Online Registration or Mail In Registration

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It’s Class Notes Time!

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 We are currently accepting Valencia Alumni Class Notes for the upcoming edition of Vitae magazineGet yours in no later than Friday, August 21st.
Submit your Class Note here!

TEDxOrlando 2015

September LIVE Ted Talk

We’re very pleased to announce that TEDxOrlando will return Saturday September 12 to the beautiful, historic Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.

At TEDxOrlando, an exceptional group of thinkers and doers from across Central Florida come together to experience an exciting, interdisciplinary program of short talks given in the celebrated TED format.

Tickets will go on sale to you beginning June 1 — because you are among our most valued supporters. Tickets will be announced to the general public on June 12.

We’re especially excited about this year’s event and hope very much that you’ll join us.

In the meantime, we welcome you to let friends and family know about TEDxOrlando, share your “idea worth spreading,” check out our volunteer opportunities, or participate in a TEDxOrlandoSalon event.

oh what a night!

Thank you for joining us at the Valencia Alumni Association’s first inaugural
“A Night of Celebration” event to network and celebrate our

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014 recipients:

(pictured L to R): R. McGill, K. Adams, W. Colwell, J. Kimberly, K. Walker, F. Beltrán
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Post Eblast

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Check out the photos from this year’s amazing event!

a night of celebration!

You are invited to the Valencia Alumni Association’s
inaugural “A Night of Celebration” event.

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Please join us as we celebrate this first year’s
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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New York Times Applauds Valencia’s Efforts to Cut Student Loan Default

While addressing the nation’s growing student loan debt — and the troubling default rate at some colleges — The New York Times editorial board recently applauded Valencia’s efforts to reduce the number of students who default on their loans.

 

Valencia students who received both Pell Grants and loans defaulted at a rate of 19 percent — compared with 26 percent across all of the colleges in the study and at only a slightly higher rate than their more affluent classmates. The same was true for students who took remedial course work versus those who did not. The overall default rate for the colleges in the study was 22 percent.

 

See below for the full article or visit online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/opinion/how-to-control-student-loan-defaults.html?_r=0

New federal rules that penalize colleges for excessive student loan defaults offer a powerful incentive for schools to educate students on the complexities of the federal student loan program, including the crucial fact that they can delay or make partial payments if they get into financial trouble. Keeping loan default rates low, a new study of nine community colleges shows, is not rocket science: Schools can do it.

Colleges with default rates of 30 percent or higher in any given year are now required to develop a plan for keeping more students on track to repay their loans. Beginning in September, institutions that reach or exceed the 30 percent for three consecutive years will lose eligibility for both the federal loan program and the Pell Grant program, subject to appeal. This places schools with runaway default rates at risk of having to shut down.

The new rules provide important protection for students for whom default can mean a shredded credit history that makes it difficult for them to buy cars or homes and even shuts them out of jobs. The rules also protect taxpayers, who are on the hook when a loan goes bad.

Some colleges argue that the regulations unfairly target and penalize schools that serve “high risk” populations like the poor and young people who need remedial help. A study of nine community colleges carried out by the Association of Community College Trustees and the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit research group, rebuts that argument.

The study suggests instead that default levels for students of all descriptions depend importantly on the quality of the academic support and counseling they get from the schools. Valencia College in Florida is held up as an example of a school that does this well. Valencia students who received both Pell Grants and loans defaulted at a rate of 19 percent — compared with 26 percent across all of the colleges in the study and at only a slightly higher rate than their more affluent classmates. The same was true for students who took remedial course work versus those who did not. The overall default rate for the colleges in the study was 22 percent.

Valencia’s mandatory orientation process shows students from the beginning what it takes to succeed and what services are available to help them. The school also keeps in touch with delinquent borrowers, explaining important options like income-based repayment.

The most important predictor of default is whether a student completes the academic program. Across all campuses in this study, students who graduated defaulted at a rate of just 9 percent, as opposed to 27 percent for those who left college before receiving their degree. This means schools need to keep an eye on and intervene with struggling students before they get overwhelmed and drop out.

Identifying and reaching out to students with academic problems, counseling all students on their rights and obligations under the various loan programs — these are important tools for preventing defaults. But what is likely to persuade colleges to deploy these tools in the first place is the threat of losing federal aid if they do not.

Faculty and staff giving at Valencia

why-i-give-banner-270x60The Faculty and Staff Giving Committee is excited to announce three students were awarded the Student Opportunity Scholarship for 2014/2015. This is only scholarship to be solely funded by faculty and staff contributions in support of the students they serve.  Christina Funk received the primary scholarship with Valencia students Michaela Decker and Gerald Jones also receiving modest scholarships.

Thanks to “Why I Give Where I Work”  new pledges, renewal gifts and annual donations, our Valencia faculty and staff are part of nearly $100,000 in annual contributions to the Valencia Foundation.

Valencia Employees are asked to consider donating in support of Valencia and the students we serve through payroll deduction or to make a one-time gift, you may use the secure online “Why I Give Where I Work” donation location at https://donate.valencia.org/faculty-staff-giving.

The Valencia Foundation would like to send special recognition to co-chairs Josh Murdock and Diana Ciesko for their leadership during the campaign and to the 2014 ambassadors (pictured below): Andrew Becker, Chris Borglum, Ken Carpenter, Wendi Dew, Isabel Hagan, Jonathan Hernandez, Erich Heintzelman, Pat Lee, Donna Marino, James May, Rob McCaffrey, Mia Pierre, April Raneri, and past chair Katie Shephard.

2014 Faculty and Staff Giving Committee Members

Volunteer ambassadors of the faculty and staff giving committee encourage colleagues to consider committing support of Valencia College and the students they serve by making a contribution to the Valencia Foundation.

Scholars, music and scholarships…

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called The Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called The Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

Scholar, poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, once said “Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

On July 25, a collection of musically talented faculty, staff, and friends–-fondly called the Rogue Scholars–-have found a way to utilize what they have, talent and time, to raise funds for student scholarships at Valencia.

Please consider supporting these talented scholars and their musical efforts by attending the live rock ‘n roll sing along show.

When:  Friday July 25, 2014 at 7 pm

Where:  Valencia College Osceola Campus Building 1 Auditorium

Donation:  Give what you can. Perhaps a $5 contribution at the door of event?

What to expect:  Live rock ‘n roll sing along family friendly interactive show with the Rogue Scholars.  We will be playing your favorite songs through the decades.  There will be opportunities for you to bid and sing with the band!

Proceeds:  All proceeds benefit Valencia Foundation http://www.valencia.org through the Jane Dewey/Monty Bilyue Emergency Healthcare Services Scholarship.

This scholarship was established to honor the memories of two individuals who spent their professional lives helping others in critical healthcare situations. It will provide tuition assistance to Valencia students seeking Nursing or EMT/Paramedic degrees.

To our Rogue Scholar friends I say thank you for what you have – both your time and your talents are appreciated!

For more information, please check the Rogue Scholars on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roguescholarsband

taste recap

1M3A0037How do you take 100 and turn it in to 249,000? Take a look at what the 100 signifies and you will find the answer. That 100 represents the 25 sponsors that signed on as Taste for Learning benefactors and the 16 master chef and beverage donors who provided gourmet tastings and treats the night of the event. It includes the vintners and spirit producers that were on-site to pour their finest libations and the volunteers who gave tirelessly of their afternoon and evening. It was the more than 750 people who gathered in the Gatlin Ballroom on May 17 for Taste for Learning to make a difference in the lives of others. 100 percent of all funds raised at Taste will go directly to scholarships at Valencia and medical education at Orlando Health. Here’s how it looks:

Orlando Health Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia Foundation proceeds: $83,000
Valencia amount eligible for match: $83,000

These numbers may still change slightly as they are finalized but we feel confident in saying that Taste 2014 will have an impact of $249,000 on education in Central Florida. Thank you once again to our sponsors below and to all who helped build that 100 percent to almost a quarter million dollars for local students.

You can find more event photos on our Facebook page – A Taste for Learning.
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Sommelier sponsors: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press sponsors: Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner sponsors: Jess and Betsey Bailes, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Coca-Cola, Jack Holloway Foundation, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Signature Systems of Florida, Valencia College

Cabernet sponsors: BIOTRONIK Inc., Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Co., Emergency Physicians of Central Florida LLP, HuntonBrady Architects, Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, PSAV Presentation Services, SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

a closer look: 2+2+2 architecture program model

Student project
guest author: John P. Ehrig, FAIA, LEED AP, vice president, CASE project manager, HHCP/Architects Inc.

As a New Jersey transplant to the Sunshine State, I began my career in architecture at the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelor of architecture degree. I have been involved with American Institute of Architects for over four decades, first as a student and later serving in various positions throughout the Institute. In 1993, I became the youngest Florida architect to be elected to the AIA College of Fellows. After I moved to Orlando in 2000, I served as president of AIA Orlando in 2001 and that’s where the story about the 2+2+2 architecture program begins.

As background to AIA Orlando’s relationship with Valencia, in 2002, one of our members, CT Hsu, FAIA who was also a member of the Valencia Foundation board of directors, approached the chapter with the idea of joining forces in fundraising efforts to benefit both the chapter and Valencia Foundation’s scholarship program. As discussions unfolded, Valencia’s Geraldine Gallagher made a presentation to the AIA Orlando board of directors about joining forces and as they say, “The rest is history.” Over the past 12 years, AIA Orlando has been a part of generating over $240,000 for the foundation creating a strong connection between the chapter and the college.

Central Florida architects had been talking about having an architecture school in Orlando for decades and the last big push was way back in the 1970s. At that time, creating a new school or program required legislative approval as well as approval of the Florida Board of Regents.

In the fall of 2007, the AIA Orlando chapter, created an Educational Task Force (ETF) to spearhead this effort. During this time frame we discovered that Dr. Shugart was an “architect at heart.” I heard him say once “had he not gotten into education he would’ve wanted to be an architect.” CT Hsu and Alan Helman, FAIA, told Sandy about the work of the ETF in trying to get a professional degree program here in Orlando and he said he would try to assemble the right people to discuss the possibilities.

Around that time Valencia had worked out an “articulation agreement” with the University of Florida – School of Architecture where students would graduate with an associate of arts in architecture and would go right into upper division as juniors without skipping a beat. This was important to me because when I transferred to UF, I transferred in as a junior but I had to start over in all my design coursework. Ultimately it took me six years to get a five-year degree because of that “transfer gap,” something I did not want to see happen to students today.

The articulation agreement was working and students that were graduating from Valencia were heading off to Gainesville and elsewhere. Everything was going along fine except the openings in the upper division for transfer students were dwindling year after year. Competition was exceptionally tough because of the program’s notoriety. So, the task force believed it was time for a creative solution. We knew the university wanted to increase their focus on urban design in their undergrad and graduate programs. The ETF also knew that UCF had indicated an interest in creating an architectural program in the past.

So as things were starting to evolve the ETF developed a list of things that we wanted in a program and generated a formal White Paper. This paper included what the profession would do to help move this effort forward; like providing adjunct professors, employing students as interns in local offices and securing additional funding to support the program.

We called Dr. Shugart and said, “Here’s what we’d like to do.” And he said, “I’ll set up a meeting in a couple weeks to see where this may go.” Then one day I got a phone call inviting me to a meeting consisting of people from UCF, UF and Valencia. On meeting day, Dr. Shugart made some opening remarks and immediately looked at me and said, “Okay John, you asked for this meeting, what do you want to discuss?” This was the opportunity and audience I needed to present the white paper and openly discuss the need for an architectural program in Orlando.
Student project2

The current scenario was a student would go to Valencia and get a two-year degree then they’d apply to UF or other colleges. They were accepted at major universities across the country and once they received their degree, they would very seldom return to Orlando. So our goal was very selfish – keep the talent here in Orlando. We wanted the ability for students to get an education here, complete their internship here and stay here to design their professional life in Orlando where they started.

We knew that there was a really good working relationship between Valencia and UCF in several programs involving the DirectConnect to UCF program, so that was our roadmap. And if something could be worked out with UF to obtain a two-year graduate program that was all we needed for the professional degree. UCF became the critical link to what would be a unique architectural program with three separate institutions, hence the 2+2+2.

There are always up and downs in anything new but, the bottom line for the most part is we have the consistently strong Valencia portion with the first two years, we now have the third class of graduates from UCF, and this year we graduated our first class of UF students. Sixteen walked the stage in Gainesville on May 3 and of the 16 graduates, nine went through the 2+2+2 right here in Orlando.

Read the Valencia News article on the first 2+2+2 architecture grads

I know Sandy is a Christian leader and I appreciate his direction and passion in this entire effort. There are some things that we humans try to manage and manipulate to get what we want but, there are so many things that have occurred that I know are not “coincidences”. Too many things “fell into place” at just the right time for us mortals to take the credit for it. For instance the funding for the studio space in Building 9, the building of the UCF Joint Use Facility, UF’s support of the Orlando program, and the talented students that had the faith in signing up for a program with no previous track record, just to name a few.

The Orlando architectural program is now a proven, new educational model.

This year you have the special opportunity to support the 2+2+2 program through AIA Orlando’s 25th annual golf tournament June 20, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Non-members can play for $175 and sponsorships start at $250. Here is a link to more information.

hispanic business council scholarship opportunity

The Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando (HHSFMO) is the largest non-profit organization in Central Florida dedicated to providing scholarships to Hispanic students pursuing a college or university degree.

DEADLINE:   Completed scholarship applications and supplementary documents must be received in a single envelope by 5:00 pm on May 30, 2014.

Since its inception in 2000, the HHSFMO has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to 209 students in Central Florida.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be of Hispanic heritage
  • Be a U.S. citizen OR legal permanent resident OR have DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
  • Must have applied for Federal Financial Aid using the FAFSA
  • Be enrolled full or part-time in a degree-seeking program at an accredited institution
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.00 scale
  • Must attend the scholarship award gala in October, 2014

 Application Instructions

  • Complete Hispanic Heritage scholarship application 
  • Official college transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation from college instructor/counselor or employer (max. of 2)
  • Copy of financial aid award letter and/or SAR (Student Aid Report)
     

MAILING INSTRUCTIONS:

You may mail your official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and copy of financial aid awards information (single envelope please) to:
Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando
3201 E. Colonial Dr., Suite A-20
Orlando, FL 32803

HAND DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS

You may also personally deliver your official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and copy of financial aid awards information (single envelope please) at:

Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando
c/o Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
3201 E. Colonial Dr., Suite A-20
Orlando, FL 32803
Orlando Fashion Square Mall (inside the National Entrepreneur Center)

DEADLINE:   Completed scholarship applications and supplementary documents must be received in a single envelope by 5:00 pm on May 30, 2014.


Oenophiles, wine aficionados and spirit connoisseurs : Taste for Learning May 17th is for you!

An evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.
An evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

An evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

Save the date! Taste for Learning is scheduled for May 17, 2014. All oenophiles, wine aficionados and spirit connoisseurs welcome.

For those who are new to Taste for Learning, this is an evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education. The event marks the continuation of joint philanthropy efforts with Orlando Health and Valencia College foundations.

Vintners from around the world will donate and pour their finest wines, thanks to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. With hundreds of wines available why would you miss this event hosted at the luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek?

Please join us by inviting friends and colleagues, sponsoring a table and contributing auction items.

100 percent of each dollar given for tickets, auction items and sponsorships goes to its intended purpose . Every item is donated – from the gourmet food to the international wines poured by their own vintners, and from the advertising to the decor.

An evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Donna Marino at 407-582-3128.

valencia, orlando health foundations to host ‘taste for learning’ fundraiser

untitledWhile the economy is on the mend, recovery has been difficult for nonprofits. The landscape has changed and those that survived, and thrived, have had to find unique ways to partner and bring support to those who need it most and during an extended period of time.

It is in this spirit of partnership that Valencia College Foundation and Orlando Health Foundation join together to host Taste for Learning on Saturday, May 17, at Rosen Shingle Creek. Taste for Learning is an evening of food, wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

Making this event unique, 100 percent of all sponsorships, tickets and auction receipts directly benefit student allied health scholarships and medical education. Every Valencia health scholarship is doubled, expanding the reach of each gift into our community.

Tickets for Taste for Learning are $125 per person and may be purchased online at www.ATasteForLearning.com

When Taste was first proposed in 2005 by Valencia Foundation board member Jess Bailes, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits executive vice president, the idea was to create an event that could be sustained by the support of community partners. The generosity of contributors who donate all necessary items has resulted in $2.27 million to support learning. In-kind contributions include the venue, food, wine, auction items, publicity, printing and décor.

For this year’s tasting and auction, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits has invited vintners from around the world who donate hundreds of their finest wines, as well as provide exceptional auction items. Taste will feature over 100 wines coming to Orlando from throughout this country, as well as Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

This year’s event will feature a selection of worldwide spirits, craft beers and a personalized Maker’s Mark dipping station.

Guests will enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres and sample entrée selections donated by A Land Remembered, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que, Cabin Creek Catering, Cala Bella, Hard Rock Cafe, Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, Rainforest Cafe, Shutters at Old Port Royale (Walt Disney World – Epcot Resort Area – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort), Taverna Yamas, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, T-REX, and Yak & Yeti.

This year’s generous sponsors include: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits; Rosen Shingle Creek; Rosen Hotels and Resorts; Freeman Co.; McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc.; SunTrust Robinson Humphrey; Walt Disney World Resort; CliftonLarsenAllen LLP; Coca-Cola; Martinez Manglardi PA; Orlando Health; Orlando Magic; Signature Systems of Florida; Valencia College; Charles Perry Partners Inc.; Clancy and Theys Construction Co.; HuntonBrady Architects; Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery – Dr. Mark Sand, Dr. Jeffrey Bott, Dr. Stephen Hoff; Universal Orlando Resort; and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a study released by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research group, found that most students drop out of college when faced with the hardship of juggling their dream of education with having to financially support themselves. Far too often, work must come first. We see this struggle in Valencia students, working a full-time or several part-time jobs, as well as balancing family, community, volunteer and personal commitments. Scholarships make a tremendous difference in their ability to attend college.

In the past 13 years, the foundation has disbursed $30 million, making education possible for thousands of students. But there is still crucial work to be done. Valencia Foundation board and leaders strive for a day when anyone who wants to go to Valencia can, regardless of financial circumstance.

Valencia won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence based on student performance and graduation data. Valencia was lauded for focus on college completion and job preparation. The Aspen Prize was a selection factor for President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Valencia to discuss the economy and leveling the playing field for women.

For more information or to make a donation, please call (407)582-3150 or visit WWW.VALENCIA.ORG

have you submitted your 2014-15 valencia foundation scholarship application?

Valencia Foundation

The 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application NOW AVAILABLE. 

Don’t let another minute pass by! Complete your 2014-15 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application for a chance to receive scholarship funding and a brand new iPad!

Helpful hints for completing your application:

  • Students must only use their Atlas email address on the application
  • Don’t let the fact that you may not qualify for financial aid stop you. We use the FAFSA to verify financial need and not all scholarship decisions are based on the FAFSA.
  • Recommendations and a high GPA are very helpful, but not all scholarships require them.

For questions on completing your scholarship application, please contact Susan Ambridge (407-582-1168, sambridge@valenciacollege.edu) or Jen Bhagirath (407-582-3154,jbhagirath@valenciacollege.edu).

taste for learning update

taste-logo-rgbTaste invitations are on their way, but you don’t have to wait. Visit http://www.ATasteForLearning.com to get your tickets today. While there, you can book a room at Rosen Shingle Creek at a reduced event price. May 17 is just about six weeks away; let’s take a look at how things are coming together.

There has been unprecedented response to our call for gourmet tastings. Every craving will be satisfied with food from Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ, Cabin Creek Food Services Inc., Rainforest Cafe, Yak and Yeti, T-REX, Taverna Yamas and Shutters at Old Port Royale.

Rosen Shingle Creek’s eateries, A Land Remembered, Cala Bella and Mi Casa Tequila Taqueria, will also provide delicious offerings.

Our other presenting sponsor, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, recently confirmed that a favorite will be back again this year; the Maker’s Mark personalized dipping station.

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The silent auction items are growing by the day and include hotel stays, spa packages, theater tickets and wine tastings.

The wine is the big draw and ABC has graciously agreed to give us a sneak peek at some of the vintners and spirits.

Wagner Family of Wine – Belle Glos Pinot Noir, Conundrum

Treasury Wine Estates – Chateau St. Jean, Beringer

Justin and Landmark Wines – Justin Sauvignon Blanc, Landmark Pinot Noir

Delicato Family Vineyards – Gnarly Head, Noble, Belle Ambiance

The Lergenmüller Wine Group Germany – Dornfelder, Müller Piesporter, Villa Riesling

Vine and Branches – Bogle, Hook and Ladder

Peter Mondavi Family – several selections from the Charles Krug portfolio

Campari America – Skyy Infusions, Appleton, Rusell’s Reserve, American Honey

Fish Hawk Spirits – Absinthia Rubra, Marion Black 106

These are just a few selections with many more to come. Usually there are between 50 and 70 stations offering libations.

The last six Taste events have raised $2.27 million for scholarships and medical education. Remember, 100 percent of all funds raised go directly to students. An investment in Taste is an investment in medical and allied health science education in Central Florida. Every Valencia allied health scholarship contribution is doubled.

In a word, the reason sponsors sign on year after year is “fun.” The event is a great time; it’s a jovial atmosphere with no formal program. We are grateful to all of our benefactors, both past supporters and new friends. Sponsorships are still available, call Donna Marino (407-582-3128) for more information.

Sommelier – ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press – Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner – CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Signature Systems of Florida, Valencia College

Cabernet – Charles Perry Partners Inc., Clancy and Theys Construction Co., HuntonBrady Architects, Orlando Health Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

taste for learning – the rosen connection

taste-logo-rgbTrue to their name, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits provide the wine, beer and spirits, but they need a place to take it. That’s where Rosen Hotels and Resorts and Rosen Shingle Creek come in. Since 2008, Rosen Shingle Creek has been home to Taste for Learning. The same is true this year for the May 17 event.

First, some history: In 1974, during an oil embargo, Harris Rosen decided to try his luck in the lodging and resort business, purchasing a 256-room hotel on International Drive. He personally traveled to places like New England persuading bus and tour companies to bring clients to Orlando. Today, his name is synonymous with the hotel and lodging industry, as well as long-standing philanthropy in our community.

Forward to 2007, when converging forces led Jonni Kimberly, Rosen Hotels and Resorts director of human resources, to Valencia, where she now serves as foundation board chair. At the time, Jonni was working with Rosen’s fledgling employee charity committee to hone its philanthropy and relationships with local nonprofits. Meanwhile, in his role as Valencia Foundation board chair, Alan Helman of HHCP Architects invited the Rosen organization to become more involved with Valencia, which was a primary source of its workforce.

Jonni was the obvious choice.

During her first year on the Valencia Foundation board, Jonni attended Taste. She was inspired by the notion that every single expense is covered, so that every dollar given is directed to scholarships and then matched by a challenge grant.

She proposed to her charity committee the idea of hosting the event at Rosen Shingle Creek, acknowledging that completely underwriting an event was unprecedented – not to mention inviting other hotels, restaurants and theme parks to join the collaboration on site. But Jonni was convinced that Rosen should lead the partnership with Valencia and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits. “I was impressed with the amount of money Taste brought in, and the fact that it all goes 100 percent to the purpose. The promise that every penny that would come from Taste would go to scholarships for students was a big seller,” she recalls.

Committed to providing more than just a venue, Rosen employees leverage their vendor contacts to get additional services donated to the event. Additionally, the chefs and culinary experts at Rosen Shingle Creek donate food to the event, hosting a food station and providing a beautiful display of desserts.
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In 2012, Orlando Health Foundation joined the event and the purpose grew to include medical education, as well as allied health science scholarships. 100 percent of auction proceeds, tickets and sponsorships will directly benefit students. Every Valencia allied health scholarship contribution is doubled.

Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased at http://www.atasteforlearning.com. And Rosen’s hospitality doesn’t end when the event is over; rooms are available on the event website at a special reduced group rate for Taste attendees.

Thank you to Rosen and here is a look at all of our generous sponsors:

Sommelier: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Hotels and Resorts and Rosen Shingle Creek

First Press: Freeman Co., McCree General Contractors and Architects, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Walt Disney World Resort

Vintner: CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, Martinez Manglardi PA, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic and Valencia College

Cabernet: Charles Perry Partners Inc., Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services of Orlando Inc., Universal Orlando Resort and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

a closer look – johnson scholarship foundation

Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to assist disadvantaged people obtain an education. They recently issued a challenge grant that brought together a number of local colleges and UCF to fund scholarships.

Valencia, Brevard Community College, Seminole State College and Lake-Sumter State College all signed on for this unique fundraising effort.

At the heart is something that we know works, the DirectConnect to UCF program. One out of every four UCF graduates started at Valencia. Valencia graduates are UCF’s number one source of transfer students.

The DirectConnect to UCF partnership is designed to help students transition from partner colleges to UCF. The program guarantees admission to students who have earned their associate degrees from a partner college and meet academic requirements.

The chance to strengthen this partnership with 2+2 scholarships that will travel with the student as they journey from Valencia to UCF was a very worthwhile endeavor to Valencia.

Simply put, each partner college has to raise a certain amount. These funds will be used for scholarships. Johnson Scholarship Foundation will match these funds, and that money will be used to create an endowment. This partnership is projected to raise $4 million in scholarships.

Students were identified; Osceola campus students who plan to receive a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from UCF. Students must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in biology and chemistry courses.

Another unique aspect of this scholarship is that it will increase in amount over time. The amount of each award will increase each term as a student demonstrates academic success, growing from $500 to $1,500 in the fifth term.

Dr. Melissa Pedone, dean of math and science, offers her perspective on this unique partnership and its benefit to Valencia students. “The Johnson Scholarship is a very special opportunity to support students on the Osceola campus pursuing a STEM degree focused on biomedical sciences. It is unique in that it provides growing support as students make progress through the degree. STEM majors include many rigorous math and science classes that go beyond the standard math and science general education requirements. Sometimes STEM students run into problems when traditional forms of financial aid cannot accommodate the extra classes or time it takes to complete all of the requirements. The Johnson Scholarship takes this into consideration and provides the critical additional support necessary to help students reach their full STEM potential.”

The first of Valencia’s Johnson Scholars have been awarded, future doctors and researchers who will shape the landscape of tomorrow. In support of Dr. Pedone’s comments, each of these students is well on the way to their highest potential.

Duneishka Roman’s first patient was Mr. Cuddles, the teddy bear. She soon moved beyond the plastic stethoscope and is now in her first year at Valencia studying biology.

Valencia Johnson Scholar, Duneishka Roman

Valencia Johnson Scholar, Duneishka Roman


She started down an uncertain path in high school, influenced by the wrong people, but she soon got herself back on track, pushing her GPA up and taking part in scholastic clubs and doing volunteer work. Today, she maintains a 4.0 average by studying, handing in assignments on time and is sure to speak up if she doesn’t understand a concept in class.

She found out she was a Johnson Scholar mid-bite at a family meal. She pushed the food aside and thanked God for blessing her with this opportunity.

She hopes to one day be a pediatrician and says she wants to “give hope to those who find themselves weak and without hope, to be able to lift at least one person’s spirit.”

She hopes to take advantage of the education she has been given and use it wisely, “because I know for sure that all the building blocks I’m putting together now are to build my future tomorrow.”

She feels as long as she keeps her goals in mind, her dream will be realized and all of her passion and effort will pay off.

Mention of this scholarship kept finding its way into Ekaterina Karelova’s life so she thought she better take advantage of the opportunity. She heard about the scholarship in her chemistry class and then again, right after, in her biology class. On top of that, she received an email about the scholarship, and she decided to check it out.

Ekaterina grew up with her grandparents and they stressed the importance of learning English. “At the age of six they got me an English tutor and no matter what the financial situation was, we would always have money set aside for my English tutor.”

Ekaterina is from the Republic of Georgia and first came to the United States to study business. It was part of a foundation implemented by the then-president of her country, and she traveled with a group of seven kids for what was supposed to be one year, but ended up being much longer.

Curiosity brought her to biomedical science. She was doing research on what could be the underlying cause of an illness and “one day it just hit me. In order to see the big picture, first I have to understand the basics. That is when I enrolled at Valencia College.”

Today she juggles a full-time course load with a full-time job and admits sometimes she is not sure how everything gets done.

She said she felt a great feeling of accomplishment and relief when she found out she was a Johnson Scholar. She sums it up so well: “Education is not cheap. A lot of people with great potential might never attend a college or university because they cannot afford it. Scholarships give this amazing opportunity to everyone.”

Ekaterina brings an international perspective to what many of us may take for granted, access to education. “Schools in the United States have so many resources and opportunities to give students, to teach students and help them be who they choose to be, whether it is great lawyers, great teachers, great businessmen, great doctors.”

Daniel Salas doesn’t care about statistics; he firmly believes his mindset will carry him through any obstacle.

When Daniel’s grandfather passed away during an effort to find the right surgeon, he made a choice. “I chose to dedicate my life to make sure another member of my community would not have to go through that experience.”

He came to Valencia knowing his path, having shadowed medical professionals at both Osceola Regional Hospital and Good Samaritan Village and continuing his community service at Celebration Health.

Daniel chose Valencia because staff member Nelson Sepulveda made him feel “like an individual versus a number.” He was also swayed by the small class size. Unlike large, auditorium-seating classrooms, Valencia’s average class size is 23.6.

His roster of activity seems endless with active involvement in the Student Government Association and he is an active member of the Seneff Honors College, the Valencia Ambassadors Program and the American Medical Student Association at Valencia. He keeps his drive and determination by always asking himself a question when faced with a distraction, “Will attending that bring me any closer to my goals?”

A conversation with Dr. Kathleen Plinske, Osceola Campus president, made him aware of the Johnson Scholar opportunity. Daniel followed up with Dr. Pedone, who encouraged him to apply for the scholarship.

On the importance of scholarships, he says, “Personally, I believe that scholarships are much more than giving away money. They impact the lives of students by allowing us to focus more on our studies so that we can one day give back to those who believed in us.”

orlando magic youth fund gives valencia’s take stock in children $35,000

Take StockTake 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

a special date – feb.14

Feb-14-Valentines-Day-690x431According to NPR, it has rather barbaric origins with the ancient Romans. Chaucer and Shakespeare sweetened it with their prose, with popularity eventually bringing it to America. In 1913, Hallmark Cards produced the first cards for the holiday.

Wait just a minute! We are not discussing Valentine’s Day, but instead another special occurrence that happens on Feb. 14. For this is the last day of our special couple pricing – two tickets/$200 – for Taste for Learning.

Taste will be Saturday, May 17 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Purchase tickets at www.ATasteForLearning.com. And on the site, you can also book a room at Rosen Shingle Creek at a special-event price.

After Feb. 14, each ticket will be $125, which is still a bargain for all the event has to offer.

This year will feature spirits and you can even expect some craft beers, but the emphasis is wine with vintners from all over the world pouring the finest they have to offer.

Wine and the celebrated Valentine’s Day do have something in common, both can trace their roots to ancient times. The New York Times tell us that wine “is as old as civilization itself.” 6000 B.C. dates the first evidence of fermenting grapes for juices. Wine permeated society and gained popularity in the Roman era. It was during that era that something wonderful was born – the wine bar.

wine corks

As time moved on, giving us new empires and ages, the method and consumption of wine changed. By the 18th century, the wine market boomed and came to the New World and Australia in the 19th century.

It was many years later, in 1936, that ABC Fine Wine and Spirits was born. Jack Holloway, a cigar store manager, thought the end of Prohibition brought an opportunity to expand from cigars into spirits.

No doubt some of you drive or walk by that first store on a daily basis, Jack’s Friendly Neighborhood Bar, at the corner of Orange Avenue and Wall Street in downtown Orlando. Growing to a half-dozen stores during the next decade, it was the year 1950 that the name ABC Liquors was chosen. Company legend has it that Jack wanted a name that folks would remember, and one that would show up first in the phone book!

The 70s brought the addition of lounges to retail stores and the 80s brought an expansion to the northern part of Florida.

The updated name, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, came in 1993 and today the company is celebrating 75-plus years in business with stores all over Florida.

ABC_3D_LOGO_HI RES2

It was when Jess Bailes, executive vice president at ABC, crossed paths with Valencia that Taste was born. The year was 2005 and board members agreed to the event only if all event proceeds went directly to scholarships. That is still in place today – 100 percent of all sponsorships, ticket sales and auction proceeds go directly to the intended purpose.

But time does bring some change for Taste. The event was blessed with another special presenting sponsor, Rosen Shingle Creek. Next month we will take a look at Rosen’s impact on Taste and Valencia.

2012 saw a new partner for the event, Orlando Health Foundation. They are again our partner for the 2014 event and plan to use their portion of the funds for medical education.

What will Taste bring next? The best way to find out is to purchase your tickets today. Hope to see you there!

taste – where does the money go?

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Have you bought your tickets to Taste for Learning at www.ATasteForLearning.com? Well, you can be proud of the fact that 100 percent will go to scholarships and medical education.

From the ticket holder to the presenting sponsor and all the auction items in between, all of the money goes to the cause. And it has always been that way. The last six Taste events have raised a total of $2.27 million for educational support.

Money for the event comes from ticket sales, the silent auction and, of course, sponsors. With the addition of McCree General Contractors and Architects Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort, here is a look at our generous benefactors.

Sommelier level: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek
First press level: McCree General Contractors and Architects
Vintner level: Orlando Magic
Cabernet level: Charles Perry Partners Inc., Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services, Universal Orlando Resort, Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants

In order to maximize recognition, we ask sponsors to sign on as soon as possible. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please contact Donna Marino at 407-582-3128 or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

While our partner, Orlando Health Foundation, will fund medical education efforts, Valencia Foundation will put the money toward scholarships for first-generation college students.

Just last year, the foundation completed a successful First One campaign and raised $200,000 for first-generation scholarships. During that time, we got to know students, faculty and staff who are first-generation scholars.

Dr. Joyce Romano, Valencia’s vice president of student affairs, put it best when she said, “When you are a first-generation college student, your ideas of what is possible are so limited because you just don’t know what you don’t know.”

Unfortunately, first-generation students are not always set up for success. Not knowing about the college experience, families may be unprepared to offer support when it comes to education after high school. Maybe college was so out of their realm of thinking that they neglected to take core college-prep classes in high school. If the going gets tough, do they have a support network or role model who can offer real-life inspiration that college is attainable?

Being a part of that support network, that is what these scholarships hope to do. Scholarships offer not only financial support, but the belief that someone cares and wants them to do well.

Here are the thoughts and thanks of some of our first-generation students.

Qunesha is the oldest of three and no doubt a big inspiration to her siblings. She said, “Not only will your scholarship help me in obtaining my degree here at Valencia, it will continue to encourage me as I enter the workforce, knowing that I have supporters that believe in my success by investing in my future.”

Bobi shared that education was stressed at her house, but only through high school. She is a mom, working and going to school full time. From her: “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and for helping students who have a vision of bettering themselves through education.”

Jazmine’s career goal is to be a nurse. She plans to continue her education at UCF after Valencia. She acknowledged, “Being the oldest of eight kids puts me in a role model position and I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to prove myself and set an example for my younger siblings.”

And Jerome shows us that any time is a perfect time to start at Valencia. He loves computers and looks forward to having a career working with them. He shared, “Because of your generous donation, this third-generation, native resident of Orlando will be able to achieve his dreams and become the first in my family to obtain a college degree.”

Again, tickets can be purchased at www.ATasteForLearning.com. You can truly make a difference in someone’s life.

a closer look: 1st united bank scholarship

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.  From left to right: Michelle Matis, COO, Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP, 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.
From left to right: Michelle Matis, COO, Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP, 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

It used to be thought that people provided charitable donations for some pretty broad, single-focused reasons – they gave because of a religious calling or for the tax deduction. However, now we know that there are a myriad of reasons why people give. Just as each of our students has a story, so too do our donors. The tapestry of each life has been woven and we are grateful to be a part of it.

Relationships are a big part of our work, and it is the same for 1st United Bank, who builds successful relationships with customers, investors and business leaders.

To further promote financial literacy, 1st United Bank established a scholarship program in all the bank’s assessment areas, which includes Orange County. In support of this program, the foundation was gifted $5,000 for scholarships. Senior vice-president, Sam Miles, and Jennifer Hinkle, business development officer at 1st United Bank, delivered the check personally to the foundation. (See photo.)

The scholarship is for low-and-moderate income students who meet the requirement for federal financial aid. They must have a 3.0 or above GPA and be studying banking and finance, nursing or teaching.

These funds will provide 50 credit hours of support and is roughly equivalent to 16 classes at Valencia.

The first of these scholarships have already been awarded and are helping students in need. From Marie, a recent recipient: “It is because of your generosity that I am able to go to class with academic worries instead of financial worries. The 1st United Bank Scholarship has made a huge difference in my life. I appreciate everything that the scholarship has done for me this semester. I will do my best to make this another successful semester.”

And from Ashley: “I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous gift. The scholarship for spring 2013 came to me at a time when I needed it most. With your kindness, I was able to afford my tuition. This scholarship allowed me to focus on my studies without financial concerns.

I currently have an additional two years of school ahead of me. Once I have completed my education I will become a registered nurse. My ultimate goal is to work on a cardiac unit and take an active role in saving lives. From a very young age, I have always wanted to help others. Your generosity has brought me one step closer to reaching my goal.”

And let me add the thanks of Valencia Foundation as well. We count on generous partners to fund scholarships and make education a reality for students who might not otherwise be able to afford an education.

Special kudos: 1st United Bank

1st United Bank recently contributed $5,000 towards student scholarships at Valencia College. These funds will provide for 50 credit hours of support and is roughly equivalent to 16 classes at Valencia.  Now, that’s an ROI worth supporting!

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College.  From left to right: Michelle Matis, VP Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

1st United Bank presents a check for $5,000 to Valencia Foundation for student scholarships at Valencia College. From left to right: Michelle Matis, VP Valencia Foundation; Sam Miles, Sr. VP 1st United Bank; Jennifer Hinkle, Business Development Officer, 1st United Bank; Donna Marino, CFRE Valencia Foundation Manager

SGA campus leaders send appreciation for student scholarship support

Student Government Association (SGA) presidents gathered across multiple Valencia campus locations to express appreciation for student scholarship support. The result? A heartwarming note of gratitude!

Your support is key to our success

Your support is key to our success.

On behalf of Valencia College and the students we serve, please accept our appreciation for your contributions which provide deserving individuals access to education in our community.

As Valencia College student government leaders, we represent driven and motivated students. Unlike the college generation of years ago, most of our peers are often balancing family, work and community commitments.

The combined efforts of our donors help students through funding for essential and key needs like scholarships, books, tuition and supplies. All Valencia students greatly benefit from the support they receive, no matter how large or modest the award.

We appreciate your support of students like us!

Valencia Student Government Association Presidents

a closer look – grainger tools for tomorrow scholarship

(l to r) Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger's branch in Orlando, and Gabriella Johnson

(l to r) Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger’s branch in Orlando, and Gabriella Johnson

Scholarships are a step among the path. They help students to enroll, or stay enrolled, at Valencia. Another step along the path is completion. Through Valencia’s A.S. degree programs, learners are able to immediately join the workforce.

When we measure the college’s impact on our local community it is vital to remember that we provide training and tools that lead to a better workforce, which benefits all of us who work and live in Orange and Osceola counties, and even beyond.

It is this path, from scholarship to completion to workforce, which leads us to companies like W.W. Grainger Inc. (Grainger), North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations.

We work closely with businesses like Grainger to make sure that we are graduating students with the highest level of ability, and from these partnerships we know there is a need in the workforce. Many businesses that rely on skilled workers report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. In fact, skilled trades have been the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff for the last three years, according to ManpowerGroup.

It seems that part of the challenge in finding trained workers comes from misperceptions of the skilled trade industry. To promote the innovation of careers in the industrial skilled trades, Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges, launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship for 129 students at 70 community colleges in the U.S., with one-half of the scholarships targeted to U.S. Armed Forces veterans. In addition to a $2,000 scholarship, each student receives a Westward tool-kit upon graduation to help jump start their career.

“Grainger is investing in the future industry and communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship program,” said Rhonda Fensterer, market manager at Grainger’s branch in Orlando. “We are proud to partner with Valencia College and believe business and college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.”

For consideration, Valencia students must be in their last year of study and in good standing to graduate from their technical education program in 2014. And we found a perfect fit with Gabriella Johnson, who is studying toward her A.S. in drafting and design technology.

She heard about the opportunity through a professor and was so surprised and grateful when she received the scholarship, as she had tried for other scholarships but never heard back.

She shares that the scholarship will help her take her last classes and keep her motivated to maintain good grades. She thinks scholarships are important because applying for scholarships helps one reflect on their goals and the level of motivation they have to pursue an education. And she says they help financially of course, alleviating the responsibility and worry of paying for classes. “Instead, said responsibility is focused on education outcomes and accomplishments.”

Gabriella was drawn to industrial trades because she is interested in the function of things. She enjoys learning how to create, work and improve machinery and design.

Her career aspirations are “to demonstrate creativity, commitment and quality in drafting.” She hopes to work in a career where designing skills are used to develop and innovate.

What a perfect addition to the trade, and it was all made possible through Grainger’s Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship. The foundation is ever thankful for these relationships, as they help so many students forge ahead on their own paths with an ultimate destination that makes the community stronger.

a closer look: national philanthropy day

Earlier this month, the Council for Resource Development (CRD), a national association of community college fundraising professionals, 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. They were honored in Washington, D.C., as the top philanthropists for an urban, public college.

The Mears family and Mears Transportation Group have been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has been a valued board member 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, which is administered at the college. Take Stock 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.

On the morning of Nov. 22, it was a pleasure to join colleagues and friends at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The event acknowledges the entire spectrum of services that the nonprofit and civic service sectors provide, as well as the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society.

Our dear friends from The Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy (RAFMAN) Club received an award for outstanding civic and service group. RAFMAN Club was started in 1974 to unite retired military personnel as a brotherhood and become more actively involved in the community.

Member Arthur Jarvis observed a troubling trend in his church and in his neighborhood: Young African-Americans wanted to go to college but simply couldn’t afford it. Mr. Jarvis brought this to the attention of his fellow members, and, in 1996, RAFMAN Club partnered with Valencia Foundation to begin offering the RAFMAN Club Scholarship. To date, 26 students have received financial support through RAFMAN’s scholarship.

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day


Improving access to a higher education through scholarships is a solution that RAFMAN believes in from the top down. Shares club president, George Jordan, “Education is such a simple word with a powerful impact. Education not only opens doors but it breaks barriers and evens the playing field, it increases personal confidence, it boosts morale, improves effectiveness and allows for endless possibilities. Education begins with us, we are the ones who instill the importance of this simple word, we are the ones who tell the young why education is important, we are the ones who encourage and motivate the young to seek education and to utilize it. We set the example for this generation as they will set the example for the next. Our legacy should include our commitment to such a simple yet powerful word, education.”

Mr. Jordan was on-hand to receive the award and told the crowd, “We love giving back to the community.”

Sue Foreman received honor as the outstanding volunteer fundraiser. Sue’s passion for giving back and making a difference has benefited this community through 40 years of service to at least a dozen non-profits. As she demonstrates the power of volunteerism in making a difference to solve community challenges, Sue inspires others to donate their time to local nonprofits.

Sue got involved with Valencia in 1976, as part of a Junior Woman’s Club group working in partnership with the college to create the Parent Resource Center, a family education and support center. She also has volunteered her time and talent to Valencia Foundation as a board director since the late 1980s. And after nearly 30 years on the Valencia board, Sue continues to raise her hand to support every project with her time, talent and resources.

Her continued and innovative commitment to Valencia demonstrates a stellar example of individuals who have made a remarkable difference in the life of this college. But she doesn’t think of herself as a fundraiser. In reality, she is an expert at building authentic relationships.

It was this model of friendraising not fundraising that Sue spoke of while accepting her award. She talked about the joy of a being a donor in this situation, where she is tasked to have fun and talk about these great successes.

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day


Sue accepted her award with her trademark verve and soon had the entire audience laughing and smiling with her. She commented that each recipient is doing what they love, and today they are getting an award for it!

The morning was, as always, so moving and inspirational. It is timed perfectly, ushering in our traditional season of thanks and giving. From all of us at the foundation, we appreciate you and wish for you a happy and healthy December.

mears family named among top donors by national community college fundraising group

Mears PictureThe 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

valencia homecoming 2013

ImageValencia board of trustees chairperson, Maria Grulich, and daughters at
Valencia Orlando Magic Night.

Homecoming 2013 wrapped up with the Magic’s opening night game on Friday night!  Valencia alumni and friends were busy during October with Osceola notable alumni and paralegal networking receptions, a Retiree Connection luncheon and the 35th Dental Hygiene Program Anniversary reunion.

Check out the photos for each event in the Alumni Association website photo gallery or Facebook page.

 

a closer look: taste for learning makeover

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Senior public relations manager Carol Traynor, senior art director Marty Csercsevits and their talented team at the college’s marketing and strategic communications department brought a new look and new life to our Taste for Learning event.

The next Taste event is scheduled for May 17, 2014 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

The event started in 2005 when foundation board member Jess Bailes and his team at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits partnered with Valencia Foundation. Our board of directors agreed to host the fundraiser only if we could ensure that every single dollar donated went directly to support education.

Today, we are still so blessed to have ABC’s involvement, as well as the support of Rosen Shingle Creek. Throughout the years, the logo stayed the same, with a graduation hat symbolizing the funds that went to support scholarships and grapes representing the wine that was served.

But now, as the event evolves, it was time for something new. First, the liquor landscape is always changing and ABC recognizes not just wines, but worldwide wine and spirits. Craft beers are currently very popular and that will be reflected at the event. As the event progressed, we came to realize that we had outgrown the grapes.

previous Taste logo

previous Taste logo

Additionally, we began partnering with other organizations for the event. First we partnered with UCF Foundation and now for the second year with Orlando Health Foundation. While we don’t share an identical mission with Orlando Health, we both place a priority on education. Funds raised at the event support student scholarships for us and medical education for Orlando Health Foundation.

Everyone is competing for fundraising dollars and these unique partnerships offer an opportunity to support more than one effort in our local community. What also sets us apart is the fact that still, eight years later, 100 percent of all funds raised goes directly to the cause.

We could not make that claim without the support of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Rosen Shingle Creek and our other sponsors. Our supporters work diligently to make sure that everything is donated, even down to the electrical drops for the event. The college generously underwrites the printing and creative costs.

Which brings us to the new logo – here it is!

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Our new tagline is: An evening of food,wine and spirits paired with an auction to benefit scholarships and medical education.

The new logo gives a well-rounded representation of the spirits that will be at the event and the bright colors bring a sense of fun and liveliness, which is what Taste is all about.

Again, this year’s event will be on Saturday, May 17. In addition to ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek, we are thrilled to have two early sponsors, Charles Perry Partners Inc. and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

Stay tuned to the event website for updates WWW.ATASTEFORLEARNING.COM and if there is someone you would like us to send a sponsor packet to, please reach out to Donna Marino at 407-582-3128 or dmarino@valenciacollege.edu.

Mark your calendars – we will see you there!

note from the “Tina’s Heart” scholarship committee

The endowed scholarship created in memory of Valencia student Christine “Tina” Collyer will begin distributing to Valencia College students in 2014.  Family and friends of Tina celebrated her memory in the following letter that thanked community members and contributors of this learning legacy.

Thank you so much for your donation to Tina's Heart Scholarship. Your generosity made this scholarship possible. Most donations came through the 2011 and 2012 Tina's Turn Out events at Lake Eola, the support of Valencia's Alumni Association, and through the 2013 graduating class at Valencia College. We are so very grateful to all of you.We are happy to announce that the Tina’s Heart Scholarship in memory of Tina Collyer is now endowed!

Starting in 2014, Valencia will award one scholarship every year to a freshman student who will attend Valencia. EVERY YEAR!!! Although the specific criteria for eligibility to receive the scholarship has not been finalized, it will be awarded to a student who has participated in the Fire Department Explorer program and wants to pursue a career as a firefighter/EMT.

The Orlando Fire Department Explorer program was at the center of Tina’s heart, and she inspired the Explorers that she guided through the program. Tina’s legacy will live on in our memories and this scholarship will extend that legacy to future Explorers!

Thank you so much for your donation to Tina’s Heart Scholarship, as your generosity made this scholarship possible. Most donations came through our 2011 and 2012 Tina’s Turn Out events at Lake Eola, through the Valencia Alumni Association, and through the 2013 graduating class at Valencia College. We are so very grateful to all of you.

Please celebrate Tina whenever you think of her – when you take a walk around Lake Eola, or when you hear a fire truck, or just whenever you think of her crazy antics.

With heartfelt thanks,

The Tina’s Heart Scholarship Committee
Janice Collyer, Bill Collyer, Shannon Omark, Suzanne Rhodes, Barbara Shell, Randy & Genie Tuten

P.S. If you would like to provide input on the eligibility and selection criteria prior to the 2014 Scholarship season, please contact Shannon Omark at sbomark@mchsi.com or Suzanne Rhodes at suz403@yahoo.com prior to March 1, 2014.

Christine ”Tina” Collyer’s lifelong dream of becoming a fire fighter was ignited by an AS degree in Fire Officer Technology, an AS in Emergency Medical Service Technology and a certificate in Paramedic Technology from Valencia Community College. In January of 1996 she joined the Orlando Fire Department and also served as Paramedic and instructor for the department and citizens of Orlando.

Tina was the Explorer Advisor for many years and proudly served on the Honor Guard. Her contributions to the Orlando community extended as a volunteer with Burn Camp, Dream Flight, and the Winnie Palmer Secret Santa.

Friends and family are honoring Tina’s commitment to learning and her giving spirit with a scholarship in her honor.  The family wanted to create hope with Tina’s Heart marking one year since Tina’s passing in October 2008.

For more information about the efforts of this committee in memory of Valencia Grad Tina Collyer please read the blogs In memory of Tina Collyer and The results are in: Tina’s Turnout for scholarships.

checking up on the dental hygiene program

DentalHygieneReunion015October is homecoming month for Valencia with a number of events scheduled to bring alumni back to campus, including the 35th anniversary Valencia dental hygiene program reunion on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Valencia College’s dental hygiene program was established in 1977 and graduated its charter class of 23 students in 1978. The graduates of the program are employed as clinicians, educators and public health hygienists. Numerous graduates have continued their education in dental hygiene, dentistry, education and public health.

The reunion celebration offers graduates a chance to stay connected to the program. One alumna takes that connection a step further, by offering generous scholarship funding. Megan Warlow is a 1989 graduate of the program and provides scholarship dollars to those who are following in her footsteps.

Emily Anderson is a 2012-2013 recipient of that funding. She found out about the opportunity through the dental hygiene program director, Pamela Sandy. Without this assistance, she would not have been able to return to college.

Emily plans to continue schooling and obtain a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. She wants to be active in the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and support the work to increase the scope of practice for dental hygienists in Florida.

Beyond the dollars, the greatest gift she received from the scholarship was the confidence to go after what she wanted. “I feel like I have a team of cheerleaders in my corner,” she describes, declaring that she feels obligated to succeed and pay it forward.

And she already is paying it forward, seizing an opportunity that presented itself at a First One campaign event for the foundation. It was there that Emily met a young man who was the eldest of 12 siblings whose life had a rough start with a teenage mother and trouble around every corner. He shared that sometimes he gets lonely and wants to give up on his dream of education.

As Megan Warlow was the cheerleader for Emily, she became the cheerleader for this young man, sending him the link to apply for scholarships and offering to be that friend in need when the going gets tough.

She credits the scholarship with helping to shape this outlook. “It has created a momentum that carries me and affects all those around me.”

She realizes that scholarships are a blessing that can help dreams become a reality and have a positive effect on the community. “I feel that the more skilled and educated people become, the more they contribute to making our society better as a whole. Often without the support, many talented individuals will not reach their full potential because they cannot afford to go to college.”

Jessica Alexander is another 2012-2013 recipient. She is finishing up her core classes, currently with a 4.0 GPA, and she hopes to find “a job that I love” after graduation.

She was referred to the online scholarship application through the Answer Center at the college. “When I saw the foundation scholarship, I figured I would give it a shot.”

And quite a shot it was. “Amazing!” she recounts. The scholarship surpassed anything she could imagine and provided almost a year’s worth of schooling for her.

Like Emily, Jessica comments that the financial burden is what keeps so many people from getting a degree. Thanks to her benefactor, she has peace of mind and can focus on her studies.

She thinks that scholarships are important because they reassure students that they are headed in the right direction. “All students have a time when they wonder if they are on the right path and when you receive a scholarship, it makes you feel like you are in the right place.”

And after graduation, expect to see both of them at reunions and alumni functions. Jessica says, “I will definitely keep in touch with the dental hygiene program. I have had such a great experience so far at Valencia. This year has changed me so much and I know over the next few years I will grow even more. I will always have the relationships and experiences to take with me.”

From Emily, “I definitely plan to keep in touch with the dental hygiene program after I leave. My entire experience with Valencia has been about making connections and feeling like part of a family committed to helping everyone succeed. At each event I have attended, I have seen the dedication that alumni have shown to their alma mater and I know that I will want to do the same!”

For all interested in the October reunion, the event will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Special Events Center on the college’s West Campus. Please RSVP by Oct. 7 to 407-582-3426 or alumni@valenciacollege.edu.

a closer look: valencia’s paralegal program

paralegalAs Valencia’s alumni relations efforts continue to grow, certain disciplines develop their own alumni followings and host receptions that provide professional networking opportunities, as well as a great chance to catch up with former classmates.

This is the case for the paralegal program, which is hosting an alumni reception on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute.

As the legal system becomes more and more complex, lawyers are increasingly turning to qualified paralegals to provide essential support services. The paralegal is one of the lawyer’s most valuable resources, performing substantive legal work delegated and supervised by the lawyer, including assisting with trial preparation and real estate closings, drafting legal documents and performing research.

Students in Valencia’s AS degree program in paralegal studies develop a strong background in many areas, including civil litigation, real property, business organizations, legal research and legal technology. Students also gain an understanding of the ethical framework within which they work and can effectively analyze and communicate in these areas.

Students may choose to specialize in two areas, litigation or transactional, and can work for lawyers in myriad of institutions, including firms, banks, corporations and government agencies.

Approximately 35 percent of program graduates transfer to an institution offering a baccalaureate degree. For students who choose this route, the program at Valencia has an articulation agreement with UCF and Valencia graduates may transfer to UCF’s BA or BS in legal studies program. There is also an articulation agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University, offering students a chance to complete an online bachelor’s degree in legal studies.

The program provides many ways to prepare students for the job market, beginning in PLA 1003, Introduction to Paralegal Practices and Ethics. In this class, the students are required to prepare a resume, cover letter and references. A guest speaker is also invited to provide information regarding the current job market and hiring tips. Students are encouraged to attend a free seminar sponsored by the Central Florida Paralegal Association that addresses the topic of resumes.

Program director, Wendy Toscano, is an important resource for the students. Upon request, she will meet with a student individually, review their resume and assist them in job searches. Students are also supported by the college’s Career Center, which provides resume writing assistance, mock interviews, career counseling and reference materials related to the paralegal profession and law school.

In their final year of studies, students will take PLA 2192, Legal Research and Theory III: Capstone. In this class students will create a portfolio of their assignments completed through the program. This portfolio can be used to showcase work during a job interview. Students are also required to prepare an updated resume, cover letter and reference list, as well as participate in a mock interview with a career counselor. This course also affords the opportunity to job shadow with local attorneys and paralegals to experience law firm culture.

For many, internships are a key experience when deciding a future career and life path. The paralegal program does provide an intern course as an elective. A member of the paralegal program faculty is responsible for placing, monitoring and evaluating the internship. Valencia paralegal students have interned with the state attorney’s office, working closely with the assistant state attorneys. Students have also interned with local law firms, small and large, as well as solo practitioners.

The program is supported by a strong advisory committee. The committee provides meaningful guidance, job shadowing, internships and jobs, funds for book scholarships and other program needs. They also help with the most important factor in getting a job – networking. Wendy Toscano states that bringing the alumni together with current students and the advisory committee is a great way to learn about job opportunities and recent developments in the paralegal arena.

Wendy expands on the importance of alumni in the equation: “Program alumni are one of our primary sources regarding paralegal job opportunities in the Central Florida legal community as well as current trends affecting the paralegal career. They are also living, breathing examples of the quality of Valencia’s paralegal studies program.”

There is something else that provides assistance to our paralegal students, and Valencia students in all disciplines – scholarships. Scholarships lead to more graduates, which strengthens our alumni base and leads to all of these great networking and reunion events.

One day soon, Melixa and Katie will be proud alumni sharing their stories and serving as the embodiment of how education can change the trajectory of a life.

Melixa is currently unemployed and has a child with severe learning disabilities, but she says she will continue to fight for their future. It is a future that will involve more education as she would like to transfer to UCF to complete a bachelor’s degree. Her dream is to go to law school and one day have the initials JD behind her name.

Flattered and blessed, that is how Melixa feels about her scholarship support. Her first reaction to the scholarship news was to laugh out loud and say, “Thank you all!” She feels the faculty at Valencia is doing a superb job and she is proud to say that she is a Valencia student.

To the generous donors, she says, “God has provided angels disguised as scholarship benefactors. Again, my children and I say thank you for investing in our future. I will do the same for others when the time comes.”

A very special benefactor offered assistance to Katie, Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, Esq. Helen is a past president of the Valencia Foundation board and one of our most treasured friends. Her generosity knows no bounds and students like Katie reap the rewards of that philanthropy.

Katie is a single mom with four children and this is her first time in college. There was a problem accessing her financial aid and she found herself struggling to pay for two semesters. She hopes getting a degree will improve her life and her children’s. “I want to show them I can, and will, succeed.”

Come share your success and mix and mingle with fellow paralegal graduates on the 24th. RSVP to 407-582-3426 or alumni@valenciacollege.edu by Oct. 21.

Note: Paralegals cannot give legal advice, represent a client, or provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

putting a human face on genocide

Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute brought Carl Wilkens to Valencia campus through a $2,000 grant from the United States Institute of Peace, which was matched by a $2,000 donation from Orlando-based ShuffieldLowman Attorneys & Advisors.

One Person Can Make a Difference: Recalling Lessons from Rwanda

  • By Linda Shrieves Beaty

When the genocide in Rwanda began in 1994, Carl Wilkens found himself facing a terrible dilemma.

A Seventh-Day Adventist aid worker, Wilkens had lived in Rwanda for four years, building schools and starting his young family there. But as the violence between the majority Hutus and the minority Tutsis erupted, and the killing began to engulf the country, the U.S. embassy urged all Americans to get out of the country.

There was just one problem, Carl Wilkens told audiences at Valencia this week. The Wilkens family — Carl, his wife Teresa and their three small children –  employed two Rwandans: a housekeeper and a young man who was their night watchman. Both were members of the Tutsi tribe, whose members were being hunted down and killed by members of the majority Hutu tribe and its government.

Wilkens figured he had two choices: Leave the country and try to sneak out his two employees, which the U.S. embassy had forbidden, and which he felt might risk his family’s lives if  they were caught at the border. Or, he and his wife could leave their home in Kigali, and let their employees hide out in their home. Unfortunately, Wilkens knew that the Hutus would quickly find their employees and kill them.

In the face of such dreadful choices, Wilkens came up with a different solution.

He sent his wife and children to neighboring Burundi, and he chose to stay in Rwanda — where he could shelter his employees and other Tutsi friends.

“When Plan A is unacceptable and Plan B is equally unacceptable, I’d encourage you to stop and look for a Plan C,” Wilkens told the Valencia students and staffers at his speeches.

Wilkens, the only American who stayed during the bloody genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives, managed to save the lives of his employees — and he’s credited with saving the lives of hundreds of others, including children in nearby orphanages.

During the 100 days of nonstop killing, Wilkens went out into the bloody streets of Kigali, faced down soldiers and civilians armed with AK-47s and machetes, and bargained with Hutu government officials to let him help the children.  Before long, he found himself dealing with men who were ordering the slaughter of thousands of people.  He was uncomfortable with the idea, but a Tutsi friend and pastor suggested it. “He said, ‘Carl, if you really want to make a difference, you have to form a relationship with the people in power,’ ” Wilkens recalled.

So Wilkens  met with Col. Tharcisse Renzaho, the governor of Kigali. Renzaho gave Wilkens a travel permit that would allow him through roadblocks to provide food and water to children in orphanages. When Wilkens asked for a truck to deliver the materials, the colonel provided one. Later, after the violence ended and the Rwandan people drove out the extremist government, that colonel was arrested and tried for his crimes.

Yet the incident taught Wilkens a lesson. “I want to focus on the power of relationships to make a difference,” said Wilkens.

Peace, he said, depends on it. “How are we going to build world peace? Through friendships.”

Wilkens stayed in Rwanda for another 18 months after the genocide, as the country began to heal. In 2011, Wilkens released his first book, “I’m Not Leaving,” which is based on tapes he made to his wife and children during the genocide. Today, he is the director of World Outside My Shoes, a nonprofit based in Spokane, Wash. Wilkens now spends much of his time traveling around the country,  telling how his experiences puts a human “face” on genocide,  showing students that  perpetrators, victims, and resistors will not soon be forgotten, and teaching participants how one person really can make a difference.

Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute brought Carl Wilkens to campus through a $2,000 grant from the United States Institute of Peace, which was matched by a $2,000 donation from Orlando-based ShuffieldLowman Attorneys & Advisors.

first one campaign success

First One GroupThanks 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.

spotlight story: valencia board member takes a life-changing journey

Brad with planeSometimes the journey is not just about the destination. Valencia Foundation board member Brad Pierce found that out when he took a recent trip to Haiti. Describing some parts as “hell on earth,” he was nevertheless impacted by his journey.

Brad Pierce, Valencia alum, has been interested in flying from a young age. He saw a helicopter take off as a part of a tour near International Drive and was hooked. He worked for that tour company at the age of 16, doing sales and learning to fly. At 18 he decided to get his pilot’s license and he has been soaring the skies ever since.

Even early on, he used his talents for good, volunteering for Angel Flight. Angel Flight is a nonprofit organization of pilots, volunteers and friends that arranges free transportation to medical treatments. He still volunteers his time with Angel Flight and recently transported a baby to Miami for eye surgery.

It was this philanthropic sense of using his gifts and talent to make the world a better place that took him to Haiti. He came across a post from Dr. Richard McGlaughlin (Doc McG) on the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association website. Doc McG and fellow pilot, Luke Lyson, were looking to raise some money, buy medical supplies, and enlist a group of volunteers to fly a relief mission to Haiti. His post ended with the profound sentiment: “We will make sure you get down and back safely. You may not come back quite the same.”

Soon 32 volunteers and 15 aircrafts took to the skies with $100,000 in medical supplies, plus school supplies, clothing, musical instruments and toys. The group convened at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport and then headed for Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
haiti-relief-flight-cite-soleil-house-small

Arriving safely, the group boarded buses and traveled to the heart of Cité Soleil, one of the poorest and dangerous slums in the Western Hemisphere, and made the first stop at St. Mary’s Hospital. It was here that he was introduced to the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, led by Father Rick Frechette, who lives by the mantra: “Do the next right thing and something good will come of it. Next day, do it again.”

The foundation (http://stlukehaiti.org/) is a Haitian run organization started by Father Frechette and an inspired group of young Haitian leaders. Programs focus on providing medical care, humanitarian aid and employment opportunities to the least served Haitian communities.

The group battled rainy weather and moved on to St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, a facility that also included an orphanage. “Upon driving through the front gates, I knew this was a very special place,” shares Brad. “A place where children could feel safe, secure and comfortable while getting much needed care.”

From there they headed to St. Luc Family Hospital, the site of the gastroenterology lab that Doc McG built. Brad was impressed. “Here we are in the middle of a third world country and there’s a fully functioning hospital complete with an intensive care unit and operating rooms. It’s incredible to think of all the effort that went in to building such capable facilities where they’re able to treat conditions that previously would have been death sentences.”

The trip ended on a very somber note, the group attended a funeral for several that had passed away the day before. It was an emotionally wrenching experience, but Brad was moved by the respect and honor given to the dead.

Throughout the trip, it seemed as though this father of two young boys was most moved by the children he witnessed and encountered. There was the boy in the slums, playing alone with rocks in the rain. The two small children who interacted with the group and the larger group of children who posed for pictures and followed behind the bus when they left, waving goodbye. And there was the young boy at the orphanage. Brad engaged him by playing an improvised game of catch with a shoe.
haiti-relief-flight-st-mary-group-walking-small

The story is emotional and would be depressing were it not for something else that Brad found on his trip – hope and kindness. “I was overwhelmed with emotion, saddened by the things I’d seen, yet inspired by the acts of kindness and good work that’s been done to change the country for the better.” And he was a part of that good work. In the end, he was able to smile, “knowing there was hope for the future of these resilient people.”

When he is not flying around the world doing good, Brad serves as president of Restaurant Equipment World, a leader in the restaurant equipment sales and installation business for over 35 years. The company is known on an international scale. In fact, it was Brad’s international work that gave rise to another company, Critical Supply World, a general procurement supply company that specializes in quick and reliable delivery to the “most troubled” regions of the world.

To keep up with Brad and his travels, visit his personal blog, Brad in Motion (http://www.bradim.com/).
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discussion on philanthropy

This month we are going full spectrum, featuring both a donor and scholarship recipient perspective.

Patti Riva is a true friend of Valencia Foundation. She has been an active donor for 15 years. She is a planned giving donor and member of the Legacy Society as well as a member of the Jeffersonian Society (formerly the President’s Circle).

Born in Orlando, this Florida native attended University of Hawaii for her master’s degree and also worked there for six years. She then moved on to Los Angeles and worked at the University of California for ten years.

She came back to Florida in 1996 and became a Valencia employee in 1998, working in the marketing department coordinating the production of the continuing education course booklet. She then secured a position overseeing a grant funded program for single parents, followed by her role as evening/weekend manager for the Winter Park campus. In July 2011, she began a new adventure as operations manager, energy education with a focus on energy savings college-wide.

Her definition of philanthropy is simple: “As part of my job and how I hope each day of my life allows, I would define philanthropy simply as helping make a positive difference for someone or some group.”

She feels it is important to support Valencia scholarships as it is all about giving back. “I always say we are in ‘this’ together. ‘This’ represents so many aspects – the Valencia family, my own friends and family; and yet however one defines ‘this,’ we do it together. It’s exciting to see what a difference a scholarship can make for someone,” she says. It shows that someone believed in them and cared enough to invest in their future. “What do we know about their circumstances? How big of a difference did this make for them? What message does it send to their family and friends about how you are valued and we gladly support you? I can’t say enough about the value of giving.”

Valencia student Fleck Cadeau has been on the receiving end of this giving as a foundation scholarship recipient. Fleck has always been fascinated with the unknown and drawn to science. With the goal in mind of becoming a doctor, he chose to major in biomedical science, which combines his passion for science with his interest in medicine. His short term goal is to earn an undergraduate degree from UCF and then gain entrance to medical school, hopefully at UCF’s College of Medicine. His long term goal is to become a licensed surgeon working at one of Orlando’s hospitals.

Fleck Cadeau

Fleck Cadeau

He takes a global view of philanthropy. “My definition of philanthropy is showing compassion for your fellow human being; whether it is through donation, volunteering or just making steps towards improving life for others who are less fortunate. I believe that through philanthropy, we are able to care for and help improve parts of the world that have less than we do. For example, when we donate money and nourishment to poverty-stricken countries we are helping improve these countries with philanthropic acts.”

He believes it is important to support scholarships as they provide aid to students who are in need and serve as accolades for students who have persevered and excelled throughout their educational journey. He uses himself as an example, not being from an affluent background made it difficult to afford school. He found himself working a lot, “which complicated my education because now I had to balance work and school. However, with the help from the scholarship I received, I am able to work less and place greater focus on school.”

Fleck feels that supporting education will benefit Valencia as a whole. “When Valencia awards scholarships to deserving students it indicates to that individual that his/her hard work actually does pay off. This trend will filter to the rest of the school’s population, increasing performance in education.”

This month gives us interesting perspective from two active audiences at the foundation – the student who has big plans for the future and the benefactor who makes it all possible.

a closer look – valencia’s first one campaign

Our First One campaign ended on Aug. 31 with $200,495 raised for student scholarships. This amount includes the dollar-for-dollar match that is the result of a challenge grant. 100 percent of the amount will go directly to scholarships for those that are the first in their families to attend college.
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We’ve had a lot of fun during the campaign, reaching out via social media and tracking progress on WWW.VALENCIA.ORG/FirstOne.

Keith Houck, Valencia’s vice president of operations and finance, was the top fundraiser with $2,254 raised. And coming in second with $1,289 was donor Sarah Kelly.

There was some competition between Osceola campus president, and first-generation scholar, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, and West campus president Dr. Falecia Williams and both made the top fundraiser honor roll. And kudos to our very own Donna Marino!

Valencia alumna Michele Nichols and foundation board member Sue Foreman also made the list. And there was a strong showing among Valencia faculty and staff: Dr. Paula Pritchard, Annmarie Wise, Katie Shephard and Carol Millenson all made the list of top 15 fundraisers.

Foundation board member Rebecca York joined forces with Sue Foreman and their One Valencia team was at the top!

There were top teams throughout Valencia, including ones from the leadership team, West campus, graphic design, nursing, purchasing and OIT. Student government rallied and raised $1,105, surpassing their $500 goal.

You were introduced to Patti Riva in the above story and now you know she and Carol Millenson were behind the top producing AAWCC Prima team. Valencia retirees had a strong showing with $655 raised.

Professors Diana Ciesko and April Raneri joined top fundraiser Katie Shephard for the Speak Up team and Valencia’s very own house band, Rogue Scholars, raised $479.

Valencia alumni teams filled out the rest of the top 15 teams with Julie Bennett and the Gladiators in Wingtips team and Team Zia led by alumnus Zia-ur-Rehman Ansari.

Another great thing about the campaign was hearing all the “first” stories and meeting some of our first-generation students. This campaign afforded all of us at the foundation a chance to learn more about those we work with and the students we serve, truly a valuable outcome of the First One campaign.

Last month we learned that Dr. Kathleen Plinkse, Osceola campus president, and Dr. Joyce Romano, vice president of student affairs, were both first-generation students. This month we hear from Belen Caba, assistant director of admissions and records at Osceola campus, and Debra Hodges, associate professor of speech and instructional assistant for the Writing Center on West campus.

Belen was the first in her family to obtain a degree beyond high school. She completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration, while at the same time managing a business and raising three children with her husband. She recently obtained her MBA with a specialization in information technology. Both of these accomplishments are very proud moments in her life.

Belen grew up in an urban community, where it was a struggle to make ends meet and the dangers of violence and drugs were always present. She credits her mother with making her the person she is today and instilling in her the belief that “education will take you farther than you can see.”

She feels she is living proof of that sentiment and through her work today, she hopes to spread that same passion for learning. She feels this passion and zest regarding education is especially important when students are facing what seem to be insurmountable obstacles. “I always tell them that working toward this goal is hard, but the rewards of completing a degree are worth it in the end.”

And it is not just in the workplace, on the home front too she promotes education, and it has worked. One of her children will be completing a degree in civil engineering this fall and another has a goal of being a computer engineer.

She credits education with getting her where she is today. “If it were not for my pursuit of higher education, I could not have made it to the position I currently have. I could not be in a better place to help the next generation attain the goal of being first in their family as I was. I hope to serve as a role model to others that education is attainable no matter your circumstances.”

Debra Hodges grew up in a family of five children, four girls and a boy. Her earliest memories were of the joy she experienced at school. Her favorite doll was “Suzy Schoolteacher,” with a little student desk, chalkboard and chalk. Though her sister was five years her senior, it was Debra who was always the teacher when they played school.

Her parents were proponents of higher education and Debra heard their message. While her sisters and brother dropped out of high school, Debra was determined to continue her education and become an educator.

It was at church when she was just 9 years old that she chose her school. The famed concert choir from Trevecca Nazarene University performed and she whispered to her father, “Daddy, I want to sing in that choir when I go to Trevecca!”

And she did. She graduated from high school a year early and auditioned for the concert choir at Trevecca Nazarene University, a small, liberal arts college in Tennessee. She traveled and performed with the choir in eight countries in Europe and throughout the southeast United States.

She completed college with honors after just three years and immediately began to pursue her master’s degree in preparation to teach college. She received the coveted master’s degree and remains the first in her family to gain a higher education.

She happily shares that her daughter is a Valencia alumna who went on to receive her degree from UCF. Debra is hopeful that her daughter will continue on with her education. “Who knows, maybe she will achieve a doctorate!”

Belen and Debra certainly paved the way for their children. Valencia students Taisha and Bianca had to navigate their journey on their own. They agreed to share their stories so that we can better understand the true impact of investing in first-generation students at Valencia.

Taisha Imani is expected to graduate in May 2014 with a degree in medical office administration. She wants to start her career immediately and is open to the possibility of continuing her education to advance in her profession.

As to why she chose Valencia, she says, “Valencia is an amazing school that gives many people, young and old, the opportunity to seek a degree and better their lives.” She is also grateful that tuition rates have stayed constant, unlike other institutions that have raised costs over the last few years. “I don’t know of any other school that cares about their students that way.”

She is the first in her family to go to college and acknowledges that is important. She sees herself “breaking the cycle of poor education in my family and hopefully beginning a new one that my children will follow.” She hopes to make life better for her family and wants to be a role model for her children so that they too will pursue a higher education. Her actions reinforce the belief that education is important and valuable in life.

She feels that scholarships are important because, simply put, college costs money. Not everyone can afford it and there are so many that may not qualify for financial aid. She echoes the sentiments of both Patti and Fleck from the story above, it is not just the gift of funds, but the fact that someone cares. “Scholarships, in my opinion, not only help out students financially, but it tells the student that someone believes in them and wants to invest in their education without any expectation of having to pay it back.”

Bianca Maldonado is also a first-generation student. She chose Valencia “because of all the great things I heard about it.” Even though they did not attend college, her parents raised her with the belief that she would have a higher education. “Even when I was younger, going to college was always something that was planned for me.”

Bianca Maldonado

Bianca Maldonado

Her father is very successful now, but she admits it was hard for him to get to that point without a college degree. Now she serves as an inspiration to the younger generation of her family. They can look up to her and say, “I can go to college too!”

Bianca will graduate in the summer of 2014 with an AS degree in nursing. She plans to go on to UCF and attain her bachelor’s degree.

She has met many other Valencia students who struggle with paying for education, working more than one job and juggling family responsibilities. She feels that scholarships offer a sense of relief and it is a great achievement to be chosen. “It makes you feel that all of the hard work that you have been doing is for a reason and someone out there thinks you are doing a great job.”

I asked both Bianca and Taisha what they would say if they could meet their scholarship benefactors. For all of you who donated to the First One campaign, these words are for you.

“I would tell them how grateful I am for the opportunity. This scholarship has offered me a way of focusing on my studies and not on how I am going to pay for it, so thank you!” – Bianca

“I would tell the kind people who donated the scholarship money how thankful and appreciative I am that they chose to donate this money for my future. I would let them know that they have not only invested in helping my life, but also the lives of my three small children. Their generous support will help me to be the role model I so desperately want to be, to show them that no matter where they come from or what people say, you can always make something of yourself if you put in the work and dedication.” – Taisha

fall fee payment deadline: august 16, 2013!

Valencia Foundation

The 2013-14 fall fee payment deadline is vastly approaching!

Term charges and payments are due by August 16, 2013 in order remain enrolled in your fall classes.

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to apply for 2013-14 Valencia Foundation scholarships! 

The Valencia Foundation offers a number of privately funded scholarships that are donated by organizations and individuals interested in supporting Valencia’s students.

By completing one scholarship application, our foundation will then try to match you to any of our scholarships to which you qualify for. Per review & donor confirmation, should you receive a scholarship, thank you note submissions are required as a the final steps in awarding students Valencia Foundation scholarships.

Our application is available yearlong for the 2013-14 academic year. Scholarship funding is awarded as they come in to the first set of applicants that qualify for them.

Apply today for your chance to earn a Foundation scholarship!

Most scholarships offered through the Valencia Foundation require a student to demonstrate need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Valencia encourages all students to complete the FAFSA early each year and has a priority deadline of November 15th for the upcoming academic year. To complete your FAFSA application, visit: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

 *In order to complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation scholarship application, visit: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfm

*For more information on Valencia College’s important dates and deadlines, visit the Business Office’s website at: http://valenciacollege.edu/businessoffice/important-deadlines.cfm

first one – campaign extension

first-one-avatars-23The 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! (foundation@valenciacollege.edu)

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.

First One Kickoff

fall fee payment deadline: august 16, 2013!

Valencia Foundation

The 2013-14 fall fee payment deadline is vastly approaching!

Term charges and payments are due by August 16, 2013 in order remain enrolled in your fall classes.

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to apply for 2013-14 Valencia Foundation scholarships! 

The Valencia Foundation offers a number of privately funded scholarships that are donated by organizations and individuals interested in supporting Valencia’s students.

By completing one scholarship application, our foundation will then try to match you to any of our scholarships to which you qualify for. Per review & donor confirmation, should you receive a scholarship, thank you note submissions are required as a the final steps in awarding students Valencia Foundation scholarships.

Our application is available yearlong for the 2013-14 academic year. Scholarship funding is awarded as they come in to the first set of applicants that qualify for them.

Apply today for your chance to earn a Foundation scholarship!

Most scholarships offered through the Valencia Foundation require a student to demonstrate need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Valencia encourages all students to complete the FAFSA early each year and has a priority deadline of November 15th for the upcoming academic year. To complete your FAFSA application, visit: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

 *In order to complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation scholarship application, visit: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfm

*For more information on Valencia College’s important dates and deadlines, visit the Business Office’s website at: http://valenciacollege.edu/businessoffice/important-deadlines.cfm

discussion on philanthropy – dr. kathleen plinske

This issue is dedicated to our First One campaign, and a celebration of first-generation students. For this month’s discussion on philanthropy, I am checking in with another first-generation college student, Dr. Kathleen Plinske, campus president at Osceola.
Dr. Plinske

Dr. Plinske had a distinctive high school experience, essentially moving out of home at 14 to attend a public, residential high school in Illinois, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). Growing up, there was always an expectation that she would go to college, and attending that high school was a game changer for her because such a large percentage of the graduating class went on to college. It also instilled in her early the concept of philanthropy and giving back. “When you are a student at the high school, they instill in you that the education you are given is a gift from the people of Illinois and the expectation is that you are going to make a difference in the world and give back for that gift you were given.”

The blessings continued for her as she went on to Indiana University and received a merit-based full scholarship which covered not only tuition, room and board but also undergraduate experiences like study abroad opportunities. She graduated with bachelor degrees in physics and Spanish and got a job at her hometown community college. She immediately started working on her master’s degree in Spanish, and they allowed her teach in the evenings while also working full time. She remembers that being a very neat experience – teaching, being a student and working as college support staff all at one time.

She got her master’s from Roosevelt University in Chicago and started a doctoral program at Pepperdine University in Malibu. It was a hybrid program that required attendance for a week at a time and the rest of the coursework was online. She would save and use her vacation time from work in order to attend classes.

She then progressed through a number of positions at McHenry County College and ultimately ended up serving as interim president, and from there she came to Valencia. But it wasn’t a full stop at Valencia, she continued her educational journey and received her MBA from the University of Florida in December 2012.

Doing all of this as a first-generation student offered a unique set of circumstances. She remembers her first semester, she was convinced she was failing all her courses. She remembers having conversations with her mom, should she drop out? Am I college material? And her mother wanted to help but didn’t know how to advise her, having not been in that position. But her mother gave her some wonderful advice: Just stick it out for this first semester and then we’ll see how you do and go from there. It turns out Dr. Plinske had straight A’s, and continued having straight A’s, she just didn’t have a thermometer to gauge how she was doing.

She brings these experiences to her job at Valencia and it is especially helpful at Osceola, where she cites having a very high percentage of students that are first generation. “I can empathize with what they are going through and I understand the importance of really uplifting them. I understand what they are feeling and what their fears might be and what type of support they might need, and just being understanding of what they are going through and how big a deal it is for them and for their families to be the first ones to go to college.”

Dr. Plinske is a firm believer in the power of scholarships, they open a door to a future that might not be possible. For her, she knows that her life and career path would have been much different had she not been afforded additional opportunities and one opportunity impacts the next, which impacts the next and so on.

And on the subject of first-generation students, she is just as passionate, “A contribution to this campaign that supports scholarships for first-generation students will have long-lasting impact on our world that we might not even be able to imagine.” Supporting the First One campaign helps support a student who one day may cure cancer or be president of the United States, the possibilities are endless. “We don’t know our impact ultimately in the end and I think that is what is so exciting about supporting student scholarships.” Without the catalyzing effect of higher education, these talents could remain untapped and unrealized.

Dr. Plinske made a very generous donation to the campaign, a $1,000 gift in memory of her father. Osceola’s student government president approached her and asked if she would support their First One fundraising team. They were shocked when she said yes. She knew she wanted to make a gift to honor her father and his support. She tells a wonderful story about when she was in high school. Every Friday, after work, he would drive to her high school to pick her up and then drive her back on Sunday. She was so homesick, without those weekends home she may not have made it through school.

On the subject of philanthropy, she believes “that unto whom much is given, much is expected.” It was a philosophy she developed in high school and every day a quote from astronomer Carl Sagan, his words on the wall at school, served as a reminder: IMSA was a gift from the people of Illinois to the human future. So from a very early age, the expectation to give something back to make a real difference in the world was introduced to her. “Each of us has unique gifts that we can share – time, treasure and talent – and it is our responsibility to make the best use of our gifts to make the world a better place.”

Would you like to join Dr. Plinske and support education in our community? You can, through our First One campaign. With this campaign, we are trying to raise $100,000 for first-generation scholarships. 100 percent of every dollar raised will go directly to scholarships and gifts received by Aug. 10 are eligible for a match through a challenge grant, bringing our impact to students to $200,000!

It’s not too late to start your own fundraising team, or you can support another team or make a general donation. Join us today at www.valencia.org/FirstOne

support first generation in college students

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

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faculty and staff giving committee award 5 student scholarships

Valencia’s Student Opportunity Circle Scholarship — the first scholarship created solely with donations from faculty and staff —  awards 5 student scholarships for academic year 2013-2014.

Special thanks to Valencia’s faculty and staff committee ambassadors for their work diligently screening and reviewing scholarship applications from deserving students.

This scholarship is the direct result of Valencia’s annual Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign, designed by a team of Valencia faculty and staff.

Valencia Faculty and Staff campaign ambassadors offer their support of First One.  Valencia established the First One campaign to help first generation college students, those that are first in their families to attend college.

Valencia Faculty and Staff campaign ambassadors offer their support of First One. Valencia Foundation established the First One campaign to help first generation students, those that are first in their families to attend college, with scholarship support.

At the quarterly meeting on July 19th, the faculty and staff committee ambassadors also committed their individual time and resources in support of Valencia’s First One campaign.

Valencia Foundation launched First One as a fund-raising effort to help first-generation, low-income students pursue a college education.

The First One campaign provides the opportunity to give another first by helping a student go to college. For more information on First One please visit: http://www.VALENCIA.org/FirstONE

For more information on Valencia’s faculty and staff committee please visit: http://www.valencia.org/fsg/committee.cfm

The First One campaign takes advantage of Florida’s First Generation Matching Grant Program that maximizes state dollars for students through a dollar-for-dollar match of private contributions. During the 2011-12 school year, more than 29,000 Valencia students were the first in their families to go to college.

first one efforts support first generation college students

New Campaign Seeks to Raise Scholarships for First-Generation College Students – by Carol Traynor

Valencia Foundation has launched a fund-raising effort to help first-generation, low-income students pursue a college education. The “First One” campaign takes advantage of Florida’s First Generation Matching Grant Program that maximizes state dollars for students through a dollar-for-dollar match of private contributions.

First One Kickoff

To share your “first” or show your support through a donation, go to http://www.VALENCIA.org/FirstONE or http://facebook.com/myvalenciafoundation

“For first-generation students, a college degree not only transforms their lives, but alters the trajectory of their families for generations to come,” said Geraldine Gallagher, Foundation president and CEO.

During the 2011-12 school year, more than 29,000 Valencia students were the first in their families to go to college.

The campaign, which lasts from July 1 to August 9, seeks to raise $100,000 in private donations with a $100,000 state match. Students who qualify will be eligible for a scholarship of up to $2,000 to help offset the costs associated with college, including tuition, books and supplies, that cannot always be met with state or federal aid alone.

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First-generation student and Valencia graduate Donald Gibson shared that he was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, not just college.

At a kick-off event held yesterday, first-generation student Donald Gibson, 31, told the crowd assembled that he was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, not just college. After graduating from Poinciana High in 2000, he spent five years in the military and later enrolled in college.

“I got my first-generation scholarship right as my GI Bill was running out. If it weren’t for that, I probably would have had to drop out my last semester,” Gibson said.

Finances are just one of the obstacles many first-generation students face. Joyce Romano, Valencia’s vice president of Student Affairs, shared the story of a student she met who drove to Valencia’s Osceola Campus six times before she could muster the courage to get out of her car, go inside the building and apply.

Romano herself was the first in her family to go to college. “I didn’t think of law school. I didn’t think of being a doctor. I didn’t think of owning a business. I didn’t think people like me did such a thing,” she said. “That’s another restraint for people who are first-

generation: they don’t know what things are possible.”

The First One campaign makes use of social media and peer-to-peer outreach and invites others to share how they were the first one to do “something.”

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Available state funds are contingent upon matching contributions from private sources on a one to one dollar basis.

The First Generation Matching Grant Program (FGMG) is a need-based grant program available to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate substantial financial need, are enrolled at Valencia College, and whose parents have not earned baccalaureate or higher degrees.

Available state funds are contingent upon matching contributions from private sources on a one to one dollar basis.

To share your “first” or show your support of first-generation students through a donation, go to http://valencia.org/firstone/first-one.cfm or http://facebook.com/myvalenciafoundation

the 2013-14 retired air force, marine, army, navy (rafman) club scholarship now available!

The RAFMAN (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy) Club Scholarship is currently seeking a High School Graduate and resident of Orange and Seminole Counties

Applicants must also meet these additional requirements:

  • Submit a complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Must be enrolled Full-Time or Part-Time
  • Active in African American Student Association and Community Service
  • Completed High School with 2.5 or higher GPA
  • Demonstrate Financial Need
  • Graduates of Jones, Evans or Edgewater high school.

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466 and complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!

share your first …. help someone become a first

Your first day of college, your first road trip or your first born -- show your story with a First ONE profile picture and help spread the word on Facebook, or use one as an avatar wherever you share. http://valencia.org/firstone/first-one.cfm

One’s life is full of firsts — first steps, first day of school, first car, first kiss. They only happen once, yet they stay with you forever. Now, you have the opportunity to help someone else have a first that will last a lifetime — becoming the first person in their family to go to college. And, with dollar-to-dollar matching on donations, you can make twice the impact.

 tell-your-story

Show your support with a First ONE profile picture.

Your first day of college, your first road trip or your first born — show your story with a First ONE profile picture and help spread the word on Facebook, or use one as an avatar on Twitter, WordPress or wherever you share.

Download an avatar — right click and select “save image as” on a picture below.

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first-one-avatars-13first-one-avatars-7first-one-avatars-8first-one-avatars-20first-one-avatars-17foundation-first-one-wordmark-4c-stacked-print

way to go crew!

crewlogoCommercial 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!

every drop counts: the courtyard fountain

Tucked away in a courtyard on Valencia’s Osceola Campus, this fountain is surrounded by embedded bricks engraved with warm wishes by community members. These bricks have been placed around this special water feature with proceeds from each sale supporting Osceola student scholarships.

Your small change makes a big difference! Donations to this fountain benefit student scholarships at Osceola Campus through the Valencia Foundation.

This fountain is located in the courtyard of Valencia’s largest building,
the state-of-the-art building 4, which opened at Osceola Campus in 2013.

Recently, Valencia’s facilities team noticed this water feature had begun to collect change, much like a wishing well. Perhaps students and employees reliving nostalgia of childhood by tossing in spare change?

No matter who made the first toss–or how the loose change appeared–Valencia’s Osceola administration wanted to make sure the contributions really did help someone’s wish come true.

Thanks to the coins of those first optimistic tossers, a purpose has been identified for those contributions: they will be included into the “etch your name in someone’s future” Osceola Campus scholarship fund.

This May, a plaque was installed on the Osceola Campus foundation that reads:

Your small change makes a big difference!
Donations to this fountain benefit student scholarships at
Osceola Campus through the Valencia Foundation.

If you are interested in helping to lay the foundation for a student’s future, please consider purchasing a brick to be embedded in the courtyard around the Osceola Campus fountain.

The cost of a personalized memory brick is $100.  The proceeds from these courtyard-bound bricks will be used to support scholarships for Osceola Campus students of Valencia College.

For more details or to place your order, please visit  valenciacollege.edu/Osceola/bricks

https://valenciafoundation.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/etch-your-name-in-someones-future-2/

Click here to purchase your engraved brick and etch your name in Valencia's legacy.

Click here for more information on the Osceola Campus engraved bricks.

a closer look – valencia students

Any day spent with our students is a great one, and April 16 and 17 were great ones indeed. For the first time, the foundation hosted a scholarship recipient photo shoot on East and West campuses. We reached out to our recent scholarship recipients via email and social media, working with a professional photographer to get shots of interested students. We booked appointments ahead of time, and also filled some time slots with candids of students on campus.

While there is no “typical” Valencia student, they all seem to share a common bond. First, they are amazingly photogenic! But more than that, each student we photographed had a wonderful spark, a brightness about them that was easy to capture on film. And each was gracious, so glad to be able to help the foundation that provides opportunity for so many.

Our day on East started with Kevin, a Universal Orlando Foundation scholar who plans to continue his education at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. We met Yashira, who hopes to teach English in Korea one day, and her friend Victoria who is studying music. We also met two single mothers, Nancy and Angela. Nancy is a single mother of three who is enrolled in two associate degree programs, accounting technology and business administration. Angela is a single parent of two. She is the first in her family to attend college and it brings her great joy to be a positive role model for her children.

The day at West kicked off with Samantha, a nursing student who brought a special thank-you letter to her donors. Then we met Juan, who is studying biomedical engineering and one day hopes to make artificial organs. There was Gerald, who we mistook for a college administrator – he had a great smile hiding under that professional look!

Sophie and Chelsey showed up, only Sophie had an appointment but we quickly talked Chelsey into taking part too. Both are a part of the diagnostic medical sonography program at Valencia. Chelsey credits her continued support from University Club of Orlando with allowing her to focus on studies and maintain an “A” average. Sophie was born and raised in Guyana and came to the United States five years ago, a first generation scholar.

Frances-Ann came and wow-ed us all with her great Wonder Woman sneakers! She sees Valencia as being only the beginning of her educational career and plans to get her doctorate and become a nurse practitioner.

We ended the day on West with Angel. For those of you who were at our recent scholarship donor breakfast, you know Angel’s story. He has fought against incarceration and homelessness to secure his education. Still living in a shelter, he is a student at Valencia’s Seneff Honors College, pursuing an AA in leadership and an AS in paralegal studies. (Here is more on Angel’s story and here is a video documenting his story.)

Angel and Dr. Shugart at the scholarship donor breakfast

Angel and Dr. Shugart at the scholarship donor breakfast

So these are our students. Each come to Valencia with their own background, their own story, their own future to write. They will go on to do wonderful things and realistically, will change the world as we know it. While they are here, we have a chance to lift their burdens by awarding scholarships. So remember these names when you make a donation and know that you make a difference in the lives of Valencia students.

PS – The pictures from these photo shoots will be unveiled in our 2012-2013 annual report, which will go out this summer.

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

Professor Ed Frame

Professor Ed Frame

This month, we get a Valencia faculty perspective on philanthropy and scholarships. Professor Ed Frame has been a professor at Valencia for 16 years. Prior to that, he taught at the University of Wisconsin and at a university in Malaysia.

He is a professor of humanities on the West Campus and also teaches Asian humanities. And he even teaches in avatar form, conducting honors mythology for Valencia’s virtual campus, Second Life. He also leads an honors trip overseas during spring break. Recently, 18 students traveled to Paris with him and Professor Gustavo Morales and next year’s international trip will be to London.

Professor Frame's classroom in Second Life

Professor Frame’s classroom in Second Life

Professor Frame is a member of the honor’s council, the SAGE committee and he serves on several ILP review groups. SAGE stands for Study Abroad and Global Experiences. Valencia offers international study abroad opportunities for students, as well as a number of international professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. Photos from these trips and experiences can be found on Flickr. An ILP is an Individualized Learning Plan, a tenure candidate’s professional development plan.

He has served his local community through the Rotary Club of Pine Hills and the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs of Clermont, and his good works have even been felt across continents. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Professor Frame served as a member of the United States Peace Corps involved in community development on the island of Borneo. The experience helped shape his ideas concerning the need to provide equal opportunities to all members of society. It is an idea that has lived on in his family – his daughter taught in Tanzania as a member of the Peace Corps.

“Philanthropy to me is anything we give – time, money, etc. – to help individuals improve their own self-esteem. Most important of all is the giving to help further education.”

In addition to his generous support of Valencia Foundation, he also works with African students, something he started doing with his wife when his daughter taught in Tanzania. When visiting, he was able to set up a continuing education program, similar to our DirectConnect program. He enlisted the support of local churches in Clermont and Hope College in Michigan, where his sister is a professor, and the program continues today. Seven students have been sponsored, with the entire cost of their education or technical training subsidized, and one student is now working on a doctorate degree. They also have purchased books for classes and provided funds to build a physics lab, including equipment, in the village where his daughter taught.

“These are students from villages that would never have had the opportunity to continue their education. I believe that often an individual can do more than an organization in terms of making a difference in the world.”

When asked about the importance of supporting scholarships, Professor Frame again refers to the opportunity an individual has to make a difference. “Valencia scholarships are extremely important in our community because a relatively small amount of money can make a major impact on the educational opportunities available. We are not a $55,000 per year school where major scholarships are needed. It is an opportunity for an individual donor to give funds that go directly to the community and make a difference. It is important to me that 100 percent of the monies donated go for scholarships.”

Thank you Professor Frame for reminding us that each individual and each gift counts so very much.

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

For this month’s conversation, we will check in with Betty Palmer and Michael McLaughlin and get their thoughts on philanthropy and giving.

Betty Palmer is a Valencia retiree, alumni and scholarship donor. In words, her definition of philanthropy is a combination of financial contributions and time. Her actions support that and more, so let’s take a look at some of her good work.
Her first encounter with Valencia was attending lectures and workshops at the Center for Continuing Education for Women at the downtown Orlando location. She began working for the college and retired in 2002 after “26 wonderful years.”

A graduate in 1980, she has been active on the board of the alumni association. While she was a student, she served as president of the Winter Park chapter of Professional Secretaries International. Her chapter, with the help of Dr. Michael Hooks, then a dean at the college, presented a proposal to the college trustees that would allow the college to grant college credits in certain curriculum areas for a student pursuing an AA or AS degree after successfully passing the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) Examination. Betty herself was the first student at Valencia to utilize the CPS rating toward her AS and AA degrees.

Betty strongly believes in the community college system providing education to a diverse population of students. In that spirit, she endowed two scholarships: the Betty House Palmer Scholarship and the Gera Lee Wilson Scholarship for a Valencia student attending Rollins College. Of her scholarships, she shares, “I feel staying connected is an important part of life because I can continue interacting with students who can use some financial help.”

Betty is pictured with the Rev. Eric Turner and Bishop Gregory O. Brewer.

Betty is pictured with the Rev. Eric Turner and Bishop Gregory O. Brewer.

Her commitment to help those around her extends beyond Valencia. She serves as parliamentarian for the Palm Bay Garden Club and Friends of the Library Association. She currently serves as the Episcopal Church Women Southeast deanery director and also participates in the Family Promises Group, pastoral care, Missions Resource Team and is a facilitator for Stephen Ministry. She served two terms as vice president on the Episcopal Church Women Board, Central Florida Diocese and was selected to be their Distinguished Woman of the Year, honored at the triennial convention in Indianapolis last year.

Thank you Betty for continuing to give back to Valencia and our community!

For Michael McLaughlin, his first connection to Valencia was as a student. “The Valencia experience for me was extraordinary and gave me the opportunity to really learn. I appreciated the intimate class size with professors who knew who I was and cared that I was grasping the content.”

Today, Michael serves as president of the leadership board for Valencia’s alumni association, as well as serving on the foundation’s board of directors.

Michael McLaughlin

Michael McLaughlin

Philanthropy and service are a part of his daily life, serving as the senior manager of corporate relations at Heart of Florida United Way. He works with United Way’s partners to provide support to address Central Florida’s pressing issues such as poverty, homelessness, low graduation rates and other serious problems.

When asked about his definition of philanthropy, Michael reflects on a quote that embodies what he hopes to achieve in his giving, work and volunteerism: I shall pass through this way but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. For Michael, “It is about doing what you can, when you can, to make a difference.”

Michael offers more wonderful insight on why it is important to support Valencia scholarships: “The most rewarding parts of my current connections to Valencia are hearing stories of students who are looking to learn more and do more. It is inspiring to see how motivated many of our students are to tackle the challenges that life throws their way. They come to Valencia committed to getting a great education. I’m continually impressed with the goals they are setting for themselves and the achievements that they are making. Providing students with better opportunities through Valencia scholarships is an honor and a true investment in the future.”

Well said, Michael! We will check in with a few more of our friends in the next issue.

2013 rafman scholarship banquet

This past Saturday was the 18th annual RAFMAN Club Foundation and Valencia College Foundation’s Scholarship Banquet. (RAFMAN stands for Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy.) The theme was “Continuing our Commitment to Education” and the guest speaker was Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools. Leslie “Ms. B” Brockington once again dazzled the crowd as mistress of ceremonies – it was a great event!

scholarship recipient Marcellus Hagler

scholarship recipient Marcellus Hagler

Congratulations to our student scholars: 2013 RAFMAN Club Scholarship recipients Alton Mercer and Marcellus Hagler. And kudos to the incentive award recipients, Chavion Collins and Rose Pierre.

scholarship recipient Alton Mercer

scholarship recipient Alton Mercer

We are proud to offer the RAFMAN Club Scholarship to Valencia students. Through this scholarship, we are positively impacting the lives of the future leaders of our community. We are honored to have RAFMAN Club as a partner in philanthropy.

valencia foundation scholarship donor breakfast

Are you a 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship recipient? There’s still time to RSVP!

Our donors would love to meet you!

The Valencia Foundation is hosting a scholarship donor event on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. We would be delighted for you to attend!

This event grants our scholarship donors and scholarship recipients the chance to meet, greet and share their personal stories of why their scholarship funds were developed and how it has affected a Valencia College recipients life.

The first 100 students that RSVP by emailing your name and Valencia ID number to sambridge@valenciacollege.edu  will have one seat reserved just for you. This event includes breakfast and the opportunity to meet several of our dedicated scholarship donors. Once you RSVP, you will receive a confirmation email with additional event locations and details.

Please RSVP no later than 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by emailing: sambridge@valenciacollege.edu

philanthropy – different definitions, same message

At the Aspen Institute dinner in early November, billionaire David Rubenstein pointed out that “Philanthropy means loving other people, not rich people giving away their money.”

In truth, it is a word with a highly personal connotation for many. We decided it would be interesting to see what members of our Valencia community think. What is your definition of philanthropy? Why is it important to support Valencia scholarships?

First, we immediately discovered that people usually don’t fit in just one group: they are faculty and retirees who are donors, donors and partners who are alumni and so on. Second, we found that people welcomed the opportunity to share on this topic and we received so many great responses. Instead of compiling them all into one story, we will feature them in a series of articles and bring you a few perspectives in each newsletter.

The foundation has enjoyed a relationship with the Women’s Executive Council (WEC) for many years. The current president of WEC, Deanna Snyder, an alumna from 1985, felt Valencia’s impact at an early age. She shares how Valencia fit so well into her life-plan and core principles. “To serve others, that has been my guiding beacon for the past several decades.  It started while I was in high school. The field of science and medicine intrigued me. As a young girl, I wanted to be nurse.  Not just any nurse, but a caring nurse that could change the lives of those who crossed my path. As I did my research, I discovered that Valencia had an outstanding nursing program, both clinically and academically. It is one thing to be ‘book smart,’ but it is another thing to have compassion. One of my favorite quotes is from John Maxwell, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ My instructors at Valencia infused both into my training and my soul.  I am grateful and thankful to be a Valencia nursing graduate.  Over the years, my career has led me down different paths, but I always stay true to my mission of serving others.”

Deanna Snyder

Deanna Snyder

Her work with WEC helps to define philanthropy in her life and giving back through their scholarship program greatly enhances the lives of recipients in our local community. “To me, philanthropy comes in many forms, but it all has a common thread of unselfish giving. It is the desire of WEC to empower and embrace and serve women in Central Florida.” And she acknowledges the wonderful circle of giving that result from scholarships. “These scholarships are key turning points in the lives of these remarkable women. Their stories of triumph and success lead them to be philanthropic members of society and thus the giving circle never ends.”

Hannah Wickham

Hannah Wickham

The foundation also shares a wonderful partnership with Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orlando. In addition to a scholarship endowment, CREW also donates proceeds from their annual golf tournament to support their scholarship, which is targeted for female students who wish to pursue a career in commercial real estate with a degree in accounting, architecture, business administration, construction, engineering, law or real estate.

Hannah Wickham has been involved with the CREW board for the past two years as the director of the annual golf tournament She works at Brasfield and Gorrie and is also involved with NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; Frederick Leadership Initiative; United Way and Habitat for Humanity.

So what is Hannah’s definition of philanthropy? “Philanthropy is being connected to your community and feeling the need to give back – volunteering time, donating funds and offering knowledge and perspective – and doing what you say you are going to do.”

She believes it is important to support scholarships because it helps bring females into the commercial real estate industry, here in Central Florida and even outside the state. “There is a great opportunity to develop long careers in this industry and the scholarship gives these young ladies a chance to understand the importance of education, as well as their future opportunities within our community. Valencia is an outstanding educational facility that provides so much to their students and so much back to our surrounding communities.”

The foundation relies on our board members a great deal. They are our advocates, donors and advisors. It is an honor for us to work with this league of extraordinary men and women, and while we are privy to enjoy the fruits of their labor, it is interesting to find out the motivation behind the movement.

Lori Sims has been a Valencia Foundation board member for approximately 11 years and the chair of the finance committee for 6 of those years. She attended a community college in her local town and that experience made her understand the value that a community college can provide.

She became involved with Valencia because she has a deep passion for education. She is a steadfast supporter of our college and foundation and a member of our president’s giving circle. Lori and her company, CliftonLarsenAllen LLP, can always be counted on to offer backing when we have our signature A Taste for Learning fundraiser. And Lori recently answered a call for funds for special 2+2 scholarships for Valencia and UCF students through the Johnson Foundation Scholarship, donating a sizeable personal gift.

Lori Sims

Lori Sims

Her definition of philanthropy is “a desire to improve the material, social and spiritual welfare of humanity, especially through charitable activities. For me personally, philanthropy goes far beyond providing monetary contributions to charities. I strive to provide not just financial support, but also my time and talents to those organizations which need my help and for which I have a passion.”

The importance of scholarships really hit home with Lori when she had the “privilege” of reviewing scholarship applications. “Every single applicant has a compelling story and an intense desire to complete their education. For those less fortunate that can use some additional financial support, it is critical that our community do what we can to make it possible for those desiring a higher education to fulfill their dreams.”

Thank you Deanna, Hannah and Lori. We look forward to next month’s discussion!

spotlight story

To know Gloria Hines and her daughter Trina Gregory is to feel like family. You can immediately tell that Gloria is fantastic at her job, as a counselor on West Campus. And with her chef coat on and poised attitude, Trina is ready to take the culinary world by storm. Indeed, she has already made quite a mark on the local food scene.

Gloria Hines and Trina Gergory

Gloria Hines and Trina Gergory

They have many things in common – they were both returning later-in-life students and juggled the demands of school as a single mom. Both have a special place in their heart for Valencia and for both, giving back is a way of life.

Gloria started her Valencia experience as a student, beginning in 1981 as a returning student. She finished her degree in 1985 and then moved on to Rollins, where she received her bachelor’s degree in organizational communications and a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She was hired at Valencia in 1991, when she was in her master’s program, starting her career as an advisor.

Her days are anything but typical, but each day is full of interaction with our students.

She hopes to retire in December or January and the first thing she wants to do is take a drawing/painting class at East Campus from Nancy Jay. She also wants to keep her counselor roots and go into private practice part time.

Gloria also plans to once again be involved with Valencia’s alumni association. She was a former president of the association and an active board member for years. In addition to our alumni chapter, she plans to be active in the Hamilton Holt School alumni chapter for Rollins.

It wasn’t just Gloria’s relationship with Valencia that drew her daughter Trina here, although that was certainly part of the equation. Right out of high school, Trina went to Rollins to study music.

She ended up in the spa business for 17 years. From there, she went into the real estate business, but it wasn’t her passion. She tossed around many ideas and thought, “Oh, you know, someone might pay me to cook for them.” And so began her culinary career.

She investigated other culinary programs but was soon sold on Valencia. She was impressed by the amazing lineage of expertise that Chef Pierre had, as well as Chef Ken, calling them the “best mentors for this program” anyone could ask for. She jumped in as a student and soon began competing. She got very involved with the Culinary Arts Student Association, serving as the community service officer in 2010-11 and president in 2011-12.

She competed for two years, earning three silver medals and one gold. Her team was the state champions for 2012 and represented Florida at the regionals for the American Culinary Federation.

Her love of competing and the close bonds she formed with her team members were part of the reason she continued her culinary education at Valencia and in May she will walk at graduation and be awarded three degrees – culinary management, baking and pastry management and restaurant management.

Trina has unique perspective on being a later-in-life student. She saw herself among students that were where she wished she would have been, “because now they’ve got 20 years to be where I have to be right now.”

Her ‘all in or nothing’ attitude worked and she is already making a name for herself in the local culinary scene. She is the exclusive provider of pies for PomPom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in downtown Orlando and does private and community events, offering drinks to dessert for groups of 25 or less. She also does private, in-home instruction, offering an education on things to keep in your pantry, spices and seven basic things that you can prepare just about any meal with.

In conversation, Gloria will proudly ask Trina to share the meaning behind her business name, Se7en Bites. Five years ago, Trina had gastric bypass surgery. She lost 187 pounds and has kept it off for five years and so that seven bites, it represents what she eats at an average meal. “It’s significant because those seven bites have to be the most magnificent bites of food that I put in my mouth. One of my philosophies when I’m presenting food isn’t about the quantity, but the quality. If you are fulfilling all of your body’s needs and that taste sensation where you’re getting your salty, your sweet, your sour, your bitter…you are fulfilling all of the desires your body is looking for and you’ll be satisfied and won’t need to eat as much.”

She credits her ‘Grammy’ with teaching her how to cook and instilling that passion and love for cooking, and it is a passion that she has passed down to her six-year-old son. “Oh yes, he tells me all the time he’s going to be a chef too!”

Service and scholarships are also an important current in this family. As a student, Trina received the Michael Jon Dreams and Passions Scholarship and the McCall/Wieckowski Families Scholarship. She remembers crying with happiness and excitement at the news, having been living off of student loans and anxious to have some relief and help make ends meet. Trina also gives back to the community and has been involved with the Orlando Gay Chorus and volunteers with Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign.

And then there is Gloria, who believed so strongly in scholarships and opportunity that she established the Frank and Carlene Hines Legacy Scholarship. “One of the things that was really close to my heart was making sure that other returning students, single parents especially, have the opportunity to have scholarships.” She freely admits that without her parents’ help, she wouldn’t have made it to where she is today and she established the scholarship as a way to remember them and to repay them for all the hard work they did all their lives.

With both Gloria and Trina, there is a truly caring nature and a call to give back and share with the community. Gloria offers this insight: “My dad always said, ‘I don’t care what you do in life as long as you do it with a good name.’ If you dig a ditch, make sure it is the best ditch you can dig and it is the same thing for giving back to the community. I don’t care what you do as long as you do it with a good name. So we’ve always just stuck with that. And it feeds your soul, when you can give back to other people. I think that’s real important. And to see people that need help and maybe they would never get it if you didn’t do something.”

In the near future, Trina hopes to open a place of her own, with the premise of a supper club and incorporating her love of music. She envisions an “eclectic spin on grandma’s cooking, but elevated and a little more formal.” In the meantime, be sure to stay connected with her through social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/se7enbitesChefT
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Se7enbites

valencia foundation scholarship donor breakfast

Are you a 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship recipient?

Our donors would love to meet you! 

The Valencia Foundation is hosting a scholarship donor event on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. We would be delighted for you to attend!

This event grants our scholarship donors and scholarship recipients to meet, greet and share their stories personal stories of why their scholarship funds were developed and how it has affected a Valencia College recipients life. 

The first 100 students that RSVP by emailing your name and Valencia ID number to sambridge@valenciacollege.edu and we will have one seat reserved just for you. This event includes breakfast and the opportunity to me several of our dedicated scholarship donors. Once you RSVP, you will receive a confirmation email with additional event locations and details. 

Please RSVP no later than Friday, February 22, 2013 by emailing: sambridge@valenciacollege.edu

valencia foundation scholarship donor breakfast

Are you a 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship recipient?

Our donors would love to meet you! 

The Valencia Foundation is hosting a scholarship donor event on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. We would be delighted for you to attend!

This event grants our scholarship donors and scholarship recipients to meet, greet and share their stories personal stories of why their scholarship funds were developed and how it has affected a Valencia College recipients life. 

The first 100 students that RSVP by emailing your name and Valencia ID number to sambridge@valenciacollege.edu and we will have one seat reserved just for you. This event includes breakfast and the opportunity to me several of our dedicated scholarship donors. Once you RSVP, you will receive a confirmation email with additional event locations and details. 

Please RSVP no later than Friday, February 22, 2013 by emailing: sambridge@valenciacollege.edu

 

the rafman (retired air frorce, marine, army, navy) club scholarship

RAFMAN Club Scholarship (F547)

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to apply for the RAFMAN scholarship!

The RAFMAN (Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy) Club Scholarship is currently seeking a High School Graduate and resident of Orange and Seminole Counties.  Applicants must also meet these additional requirements:

  • Submit a complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Must be enrolled Full-Time or Part-Time
  • Active in African American Student Association and Community Service
  • Completed High School with 2.5 or higher GPA
  • Demonstrate Financial Need
  • Graduates of Jones, Evans or Edgewater high school.

In order to apply for this scholarship, please visit https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466 and complete the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship application today!

2012-13 valencia foundation scholarship recipient: deborah karim

The Student Opportunity scholarship is provided by the Faculty and Staff at Valencia College. Faculty and Staff members donate generously to provide our students with scholarships dedicated to the costs of their tuition, fees, books and materials. Their generosity, dedication and effort to support our students has gifted 9 students for 2012-13 academic year.

Deborah Karim, presently a sophomore in the Electronics Engineering program at Valencia College, is one of the 2012-13 Student Opportunity scholarship recipients. Currently, Deborah holds a 3.57 GPA and has participated in a variety of volunteer projects, such as: Give Kids the World Village, Valencia Volunteers, Valencia Honors, UCF Camp Connect. Currently, she is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that provides her with the opportunity to volunteer within her field of study. In her free time, Deborah enjoys volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, Greater Chatham Alliance E-Volunteer where she gathers crime statistics to better her community and Chicago Women in Trades where she assists socially and economically disadvantaged women prepare to re-enter the workforce.

In addition to her degree in Electronics Engineering Technology, Deborah will also earn her A.S. in Engineering Technology and Hospitality Management. In 2008, Deborah experienced the hardship of being laid off from her position as a commercial electrician apprentice within the construction field.

“It is a very sobering experience to admit that for the first time since the age of 16, I am not able to support myself and cannot find a job. My solution is education as the method of choice to escape poverty and that is why I went back to school. I chose electronics and computer engineering courses because I want to learn the latest technology, sustain myself through employment and then show others in similar circumstances how to do the same. I am a very active student and volunteer. Furthermore, I strongly believe in giving back to the community. Even though my own resources are limited and dwindling, I know there are many others worse off than me. I am carrying a full-time course load but still take advantage of extracurricular and volunteer opportunities provided by Valencia College.”

Deborah is also the editor and contributing creative non-fiction writer for Valencia’s Phoenix Magazine. Within a team of editors, she is currently assisting with selecting fiction, non-fiction, and poetry submissions for the upcoming years publications.

“My volunteer work gives me more pleasure than any paid job I have ever held because I know I am making a positive difference in someone’s life. I am positive by nature and have become more efficient as I try to overcome my current obstacles to progress. Because of my public service and customer services skills, I can teach or help others, particularly the invisible poor in our society, to survive through education and technology. I will be able to show others how they can reach inside and explore their own creativity in order to sustain themselves in society.” Deborah Karim

The Valencia Foundation partners with many generous donors who are excited to contribute to the education of the leaders of tomorrow, such as Deborah. If you haven’t already, there is still time to apply by visiting: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfmand applying for the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application.