SCA Steps Up to Do Even More

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Since 1942 the Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) has improved quality of life on the Plateau through the annual Community Chest fund drive. The SCA also takes on ad hoc and emergency projects. Recent efforts include refurbishing Elliott Park, raising $26,000 for personal protective equipment needs during the pandemic with the 37375 Campaign, and donating $1,300 for air purifier filters at the Sewanee Elementary School. At the Sept. 28 Zoom meeting, the SCA formalized the mechanism for dealing directly with Plateau needs by forming the SCA Service Committee.

Co-president Kiki Beavers cited food insecurity, animal rescue, the housing shortage, and a community-wide art project as challenges the Service Committee might embrace. The first step in the conversation will be a “needs assessment,” Beavers said. To get involved, email <sewaneecommunitychest@gmail.com>.

The 2021-2022 Community Chest set a goal of raising $102,291 to support 20 Plateau initiatives including children’s programs, animal rescue, senior citizens’ needs, health care and more. Long-time community volunteers John and Kathy Solomon and Clay and Paula Yeatman will serve as co-stewards.

Ever youth oriented, the SCA thank-you note design contest currently underway at Sewanee Elementary School and Sewanee Children’s Center will offer prizes of art supplies and book fair gift certificates. SCA Board member at-large David Michaels made an appeal for adult volunteers to step forward to lead local Cub Scout Pack 152. The SCA has long sponsored the pack, but without adult leadership, the pack cannot continue.

Fittingly, the evening’s speaker, Tyler Ford with tnAchieves, highlighted the important role mentors play in the Tennessee Promise free college tuition program open to all Tennessee high school seniors. tnAchieves, the nonprofit partner of Tennessee Promise, operates in 90 counties to make sure students apply, take the steps necessary to access college, and have the resources they need. Ford serves as Director of Mentors. tnAchieves engages 9,000 mentors annually to interact one-on-one with students. Mentors serve as task managers and as a resource to keep students on track in the application process, especially important for the 40 percent who are first-generation college attendees; and, most important, mentors are “encouragers,” a positive voice reassuring students with self-doubt and anxiety about being “college material.”

tnAchieves assigns 5-7 students to each mentor. Mentors have the option of meeting with students virtually or in open-house sessions hosted by tnAchieves. Ford told the story of an anxious first-generation college student on his first day of classes puzzling over his schedule’s notation “MWF,” which he took for the classroom building, a building he could not find and was too afraid to ask anyone about. He phoned his mentor who explained “MWF” meant Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The mentor then directed him to the schedule’s building code and building location. The young man went on to earn a degree in Forestry from UT Knoxville.

Franklin County needs 47 more mentors. To sign on, email Ford at <Tyler@tnAchieves.org>.

The SCA meets next on Oct. 26. September is membership renewal month for the SCA. The $10 dues give members a one-year subscription to Sewanee Classifieds, the email listserv which functions as a community bulletin board. To renew, members can respond to the Sewanee Classifieds email they received or visit <www.sewaneecivic.org>.

To make a donation to the Sewanee Community Chest, send a check to PO Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375, or use PayPal Giving.

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