JAMES CITY COUNTY — Charles Glazener, a member of the Rotary Club of James City County, is blunt when explaining why the organization donates to the Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC) Educational Foundation.
“Education is the key to the kingdom,” Glazener told nearly 100 donors and recipients in attendance at the college’s annual donor recognition event on Nov. 14, according to VPCC.
Glazener went on to note that knowledge comes from firsthand experience.
“It happened in my own family,” he said. “My father came from people who slept under the house in the summertime because it was cool, and my father went to college and my father became a doctor.”
Nancy Carter, a past president of the club, said the group has gravitated in recent years toward scholarships for community college students, as members thought the money raised would benefit those students more.
“We realized that while we were giving money to some folks who were going off to the traditional four-year college, it wasn’t life-changing for them,” Carter said of the $1,000-$2,000 awards.
However, Carter noted that the same amount of money can put a student through an entire program at a community college, setting them up to find a good job and support a family.
“We redirected ourselves that way,” stated Carter.
Carter related a story Glazener often tells about the organization paying for a student who went to beauty school to be a hairdresser.
“She was so thrilled, and she came out of that and (got) a job,” Carter said.
Other non-traditional scholarships include covering the cost of tools for auto mechanics or plumbers, VPCC said.
“When they come out of the program, they are kind of expected to already have a set of tools so they can go to work. We have funded efforts for them to be able to buy a set of tools so they could start their professional life,” Carter continued, noting those are the most rewarding success stories for the Rotary.
“We are pleased to really contribute to someone and make a change in their life,” Carter said. “They are striving for a goal. We want to support them in a meaningful way. It’s very rewarding. We’re actually very pleased.”
Glazener said the college needs to be recognized for its commitment to student success.
“This institution is interested in you getting an education,” Glazener said, referring to the scholarship winners in attendance. We want to try to make everybody’s life just a little better, and that’s what you and your staff and faculty and students and ex-students, that’s what’s happening here. Keep up the good work. It’s a good thing.”
For more information on scholarship opportunities at the College, visit vpcc.edu.