As a recent graduate of Randolph College, I know how important experience beyond the classroom can be. Young people need opportunities in professional settings to gain experience and to be competitive in the job market. During my first two months at the Academy Center, I have started to build connections with local high schools and colleges to engage students to offer such experiences through volunteer, internship, and service learning opportunities.
Opportunities come about from need, and there is always work to be done at the Academy Center whether it is mailing thank you letters to our lovely donors, writing grants to fund our Outreach programs, or staffing productions in the Arts & Education Building. With so much work to do and with staff only able to do so much, the Academy Center has looked to the community to assist us in our everyday work.
I have met with a number of people to discuss partnerships with the Academy Center including Mark Spaulding, Executive Director of Impact Living Services, and Lynchburg City Councilwoman Treney Tweedy about a potential volunteer and workforce development opportunities to support local youth. Partnerships like these would help the Academy Center fill some personnel needs while simultaneously giving workforce experience to Lynchburg youth.
The meeting with Treney accomplished this goal and resulted in a partnership between the Academy Center and the Region 2000 Youth Works Program. The Academy Center now has a new receptionist to fill the remaining 3 slots at the front desk which means that we always have someone to answer calls and to greet guests when they walk into the gallery. A victory of this kind may seem small, but its impact can profound. The first week after our new receptionist started, she was featured on the November 16 cover of the News and Advance for her participation with the Youth Works Career Center and her new position at the Academy Center.
We are very thankful for our new partnership with the Region 2000 Workforce Center, and we look forward to forming news ones with more organizations in the greater Lynchburg area. The Academy Center wants to better serve the needs of the community through arts and culture so we hope to hear from you to see how we can do so. If you have any interest in partnering or have any other comments, please feel free to contact me directly at 434-528-3256 x 114 or email me at [email protected]org.
-Evan Smith, Director of Community Outreach and Engagement