Like the military community that serves this county out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Wayne Community College (WCC) is a quiet, formidable treasure at the pulse of Goldsboro’s heart. My experiences at WCC since coming to Goldsboro from Virginia four years ago have expanded my knowledge base, given me access to invaluable resources and mentors, and instilled in me a passion and commitment to contribute to this vibrant town.
If I could sing the praises of what Goldsboro and WCC have done for me, it would be a combination of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” This is not hyperbole, although when people ask me what credentials I have, I say, “I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a poetic license, the latter of which I use liberally and often.”
The classes I took at WCC were funded by the Foundation of Wayne Community College, run by Jack Kannan and his remarkable staff. The Counseling Center has guided me into my re-entry into academia fifteen years out of my undergraduate degree from Temple University and continues to be a source of support and coaching as I transition into the services of the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
The Academic Skills Center, directed by Chris Denise and powered by a stalwart, genuine , and infectiously friendly team of staff and student tutors, has given me a place to volunteer my time and engage with students and faculty at all ages and stages of their careers. The Budo Club of Goldsboro, founded by sensei Coe Smith, found a home at WCC and has been integral in grounding me emotionally and training me physically after a very stressful divorce.
The friendships I have forged with the Goldsboro Writers Group have enabled me to continue to pursue a passion for writing poetry, a passion that I have nurtured since the age of seven.
At this point in my life, the Small Business Center of WCC is the crown jewel that is teaching me and mentoring me forward towards an independent, self-sustaining career and out of the Disability System in which I became entrenched at the age of seventeen. Charles Gaylor IV runs the Small Business Center with a combination of professionalism and encouragement. He fosters a friendly learning environment based in the realities of starting a small business. He does his homework and insists that all potential small business owners do theirs as well. His information is cogent, timely, and peppered with pithy bon mots.
In the past three months I have taken two classes on leadership across the generations, writing a business plan, and common mistakes that small business owners need to avoid in order to succeed. Other classes include fundraising and grant writing and the use of social media to market one’s business.
My goal, with the help of the NC Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, is to open a dog training business. I have a passion for animals and see an opportunity to work with local shelters to assess dogs for aptitude to do therapy, medical assistance, and protection work. I would love to partner with the police and assist with K9 and rescue dog training.
My heart has a special interest in training dogs to assist veterans and other folks with PTSD. I am honored that Perry Champion, who runs the nonprofit Rescues 4 Rescues, has offered me an internship to benefit from his decades of experience with assistance dogs. Perry and I share the vision that shelter dogs can be trained to help people in various ways; if the dog does not show an interest in being a working dog, the obedience training we can provide will increase the likelihood of placing it in a forever home.
Finding homes for shelter dogs, training them to do meaningful work, and encouraging them to share their loyalty with a loving family is just my first step in giving back to the community that has given me a place to call home.