Dalton State Heroes

Improving Our Community in the New Year

When the college re-opened Jan. 2 after winter break, my email contained a donation request for our Career Closet. It made me think about the new year. As we are all reflecting on ways to improve our community and bring meaning to our lives in 2019, I thought this is the perfect time to share some opportunities to help our students.

Our Career Closet is designed to serve the needs of our students who are interviewing for internships and jobs but do not have appropriate professional clothing or the budget to purchase any. We rely on donations of gently worn or new clothing. I am bringing in a couple of items from my son’s closet after noticing that he does not make use of these articles. Donations can make all the difference to a student seeking important professional work experience or that first job after graduation. Please contact Mallory Safley at 706-272-2997 if you have dresses, blazers, slacks/trousers, shirts/blouses, suits, ties or dress shoes to contribute. Also, make sure to save the date for our upcoming Career Fair on March 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Dalton Convention Center.

Additionally, Dalton State students benefit from hearing from professionals across a wide spectrum of career fields. We believe it is helpful for our students to learn more about opportunities and how to prepare for employment. Students in the Wright School of Business participate in mock interviews and business etiquette luncheons/dinners as well as mock networking sessions prior to graduation. Therefore, we are always looking for experienced professionals who will interact with our students in these safe environments before they have a job interview or sit down with a CEO over lunch. To participate please contact Dean Marilyn Helms at 706-272-2600.

Other departments host panel discussions in focused career fields such as health professions or sciences. Furthermore, internships (also discussed in a previous column) are a tremendous opportunity for our students to obtain real-world hands-on experience in their career field prior to graduation. Please email [email protected] or call 706-272-4428 if you wish to volunteer your services as a seasoned employee or if your organization wishes to host a Dalton State intern.

Another simple and rewarding way to support the students of Dalton State is to contribute either food or a monetary donation to our award-winning Birdfeeder. The Birdfeeder (aptly named to tie in with our Roadrunner mascot) is a food pantry for students who need to supplement their groceries due to financial hardship. It is increasingly common across the country for college students to run short of funds to pay for basic necessities. Our students are no exception to this national issue. Through the generous support of our employees and community donors, we are able to ensure that our students are not going hungry and that lack of money for food does not cause a student to drop out of college. Please email us at [email protected] or call Heather Williams at 706-712-8234 if you wish to donate to our food pantry.

Our volunteer service coordination system, RoadrunnerServe, was discussed in a recent column, but it is worth mentioning again. Under the guidance of Williams, we post service opportunities online. Our students can use this volunteer management platform to identify opportunities to volunteer in our community. Students sign up through the software, and it tracks their service hours. This system provides organizations within our community with access to student volunteers in a streamlined manner. Meanwhile, our students are able to further develop their leadership skills. Please contact Williams at [email protected] if you wish to register your volunteer opportunities.

Something each and every one of us can do to support the college and community in general is to engage in vocal support for our region and education. It takes all of us working at all stages of youth development to ensure that the young people of this region develop into productive members of society. You can help by letting our elected officials know you deem education (including higher education) a priority for Dalton and Northwest Georgia. Tell your friends, neighbors and guests about the wonderful opportunities to receive a quality education right here.

Finally, we welcome your financial support for the students of Dalton State College. Even a modest gift can have a significant impact on the life of a student struggling to afford tuition, fees and textbooks while paying rent, buying gas, groceries and clothing, as well as medical care. Although Dalton State is one of the most affordable four-year colleges in the nation, it is all too common that a few hundred dollars prevents a student from continuing. Even with federal financial aid and foundation scholarships, some students can’t afford an education without additional support. A gift of as little as $100 could be enough to keep a student enrolled another semester. This community must produce more high school and college graduates to strengthen Northwest Georgia. Your gifts to Dalton State help make that possible. Please contact David Elrod at 706-272-4473 if you wish to make a financial contribution to Dalton State.

We are grateful for the ongoing support for Dalton State. May 2019 be our best year yet!