EGI honors leaders, hands out scholarships


The Community Service Award went to, front, from left, Yolanda Hagley, Phillis Filer, Vivian Filer, Theresa White, the Rev. T.A. Wright, and back, from left, Joe Johnson, John Alexander, and Lee Smith, representing Kent Vann. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.

The Santa Fe College Community Outreach & East Gainesville Instruction celebrated 10 years of service to east Gainesville by honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to educational outreach and by providing an overview of new programs during its annual community forum.

More than 125 Gainesville leaders and residents attended the forum held last Thursday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Dr. Jackson Sasser, president of Santa Fe College, said the college has been named one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation because of educational outreach efforts like those provided in partnership with faith-based organizations and community organizations.

Sasser was referring to Santa Fe being selected in the top 10 in a pool of more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide by the prestigious Aspen Institute, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America's community colleges.

"It's a treasure of opportunities when good people come together to do good work," Sasser said.

Karen Cole-Smith, executive director of Community Outreach & East Gainesville Instruction, provided an overview of the programs that have been implemented in east Gainesville to empower and educate the residents. They are:

Preparing for Academic and Student Success, or PASS, a new college preparatory initiative for junior and seniors at Eastside and Hawthorne high schools. The program provides students with the necessary resources to help them graduate from high school, get into college and graduate from college.

A plan by FloridaWorks to install computer software in public housing complexes in east Gainesville to provide residents with access to job training, jobs and completing and updating their resumes.

The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium Scholarship 2012, which will provide $500 scholarships to four middle school students who attended the summer 2011 or summer 2012 Math, Science, Astronomy and Life Skills Camp sponsored each year by EGI and held at Mount Carmel.

The recipients are Charles Jones and Miles Sullivan, both eighth-graders at Lincoln Middle School; Jasmyn Bryant, an eighth-grader at Howard Bishop Middle School, and Joseph Franklin, a seventh-grader at Sweetwater Branch Academy.

The scholarship, which is earmarked for tuition and/or books at Santa Fe, will be awarded when the middle schoolers graduate from high school and are admitted to Santa Fe. * The financial literacy classes for adults held at The Library Partnership at 1130 NE 16th Ave.

The computer classes held at Mount Carmel and the basic computer classes held at Library Partnership.

Bold Overt Leaders of Distinction, or BOLD, a program for males ages 18-24 that provides educational and career opportunities at Santa Fe in partnership with the Reichert House Youth Academy, an after-school program for school-age males who need assistance in making the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

In keeping with the forum's theme, "Community Outreach & East Gainesville Instruction 2002-2012: A Decade of Service," the following 10 residents were honored with the 2012 Community Service Award in recognition of their contributions to educational outreach. They are:

—John Alexander, executive director of the Reichert House Youth Academy.

—Rev. Karl "The Rev" Anderson, senior co-pastor of Upper Room Ministries of Greater Gainesville.

—Pastor George Dix, pastor of PASSAGE Family Church.

—Phillis Filer, public service administrator at the Alachua County Library District.

—Vivian Filer, a health educator and retired nurse and chairwoman of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center.

—Yolanda Hagley, director of HIPPY, or Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, a home-based parenting and early childhood enrichment program for families with young children.

—Joe Johnson, director of business services at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce/FloridaWorks.

—Kent Vann, executive director of the St. Francis House Homeless Shelter.

—Theresa White, regional minority AIDS coordinator of Area 3/13 at the Alachua County Health Department.

—Rev. T.A. Wright, pastor emeritus of Mount Carmel.

"They're always thinking about what they can do to help the community," said Cole-Smith, who also presented a framed certificate of appreciation to the Rev. Dr. N. Lamonte Newsome, pastor of Mount Carmel, in recognition of the church's contributions to the community by enabling community organizations to hold programs on the church campus.

"We have a legacy of collaboration to help facilitate smaller groups," Newsome said.

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