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FARMVILLE – If given the opportunity, how would you color Farmville a better place? A Farmville Coloring Book was just one of many suggestions offered at the Leadership Farmville graduation held in the Nance Room of Longwood’s Dorrill Dining Hall on March 2.
Leadership Farmville, sponsored by the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, had a record 27 graduates in this year’s class. They were divided into seven teams, and each team developed an idea beneficial to the community.
“As the result of the nine sessions you carved out time to attend, you have gained valuable insights into governmental operations, the arts, history, communications, education, health care and economic development,” Hampden-Sydney College Director of Career Education and Chamber Board Member Ellen Masters said.
Sharing from her experience, Longwood University Provost Dr. Joan Neff said, “I hope your experience as part of this leadership project has been rewarding. We need effective leaders at all levels of government and all aspects of society.”
Abigail O’Connor, Will Stewart and Jennifer Cox led off the program with their coloring book concept. Pictures in the proposed book feature local attractions and landmarks, and proceeds from the project will benefit school art programs. “The idea is to highlight the resources of the area,” O’Connor said.
Nikki Kain, Gwen Akers-Booker, Frasher Bolton and Ashley Crute addressed the lack of accessible transportation in the next project presentation. The Farmville Area Bus (FAB) and several private taxi services are available, but transportation over a larger area is needed. The team proposed expanding FAB and establishing Uber in Farmville. “There are a lot of good things that can come from the increase in viable inexpensive transportation,” Bolton said.
Four women in the field of education, Sarah Loth, Dara Tucker, Mary Quinn Ferguson and Barbara Rice, presented the Friendship Garden project. “We wanted something to benefit all the children of Prince Edward in a non-competitive arena,” Rice said. “When my students get their hands dirty, they blossom.”
Lyndsie Blakely, Anne-Latane Saunders Schwabe, Brian Vincent and Brandon Clark proposed the Unity Project. This interactive public art project was created in 2016 as a response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics. The project consists of 32 posts, each with identifiers such as “I speak English as a second language.” Participants tie colorful yarn to posts that reflect their identities. The yarn intertwines to create a web of interconnectedness. “This helps us see that we are really all alike,” Clark said.
Erin Lawson, Kristen Queen, Patrick Crute and Jesse Broadwater chose Speak up Southside to address relationship abuse awareness. “Our inspiration came from a meeting with Sheriff Reed that addressed the number of children and adults abused emotionally, physically and sexually,” Lawson said. “We know we can’t fix the problem, but we can be part of the solution.”
Closing out the evening was Piedmont Families, the project of Ruth Stubbs, Christine Ross, Sarah Maddox and Jennifer Tobias. Maddox detailed the team’s plan for marketing tourism in seven area counties. “Our web site is up and running,” Maddox said. “We’re getting hits already. The ability to develop wonderful vacation packages to highlight our seven-county area is a great feature.”
“Leadership Farmville helps to build and develop leaders for our community,” Farmville Chamber Executive Director Joy Stump concluded. “These projects address areas of needs in our community and offer creative solutions to help move things in a positive direction.”