By Fred Arnold
Help comes in many forms: a friend, a program, a book, a piece of machinery. Humans have evolved to depend on each other in one form or another, from a simple action like a smile, to helping someone move, to creating entire societies in pursuit of human rights. We are a species tied to one another. College life for many students can be difficult. It can be irritating. It can be stressful. In a world where humans work for each other, SPC’s Seminole Student Support Center takes pride in the helping hand they give students.
The Student Support Center works every day to create an atmosphere where students feel wanted, helped, and accepted.
Madera Evelyn, the Student Support Center Retention Outreach Advisor, wants the students at the center to feel at home. “For me, it is a wonderful thing to see a student come in and find out that we have all these resources available,” she said with a smile on her face, “And then to see that same student who was once struggling become confident and successful.”
Located in the portables at SPC Seminole, specifically PB 606, the Center has offered services such as textbook lending, academic, business, financial, and career advising, laptop lending, computer lab access, and tutoring. To the staff at the center, they are a one stop shop for all a student may need.
Valee Nixon, a student at SPC, says that Evelyn Madera’s drive to help students exceeds most people. Her willingness to listen and work through a problem contributes to the wonderful reputation the center has earned.
“In five years, I would like to see us in a bigger center,” said Bridgette Thompson, a Student Assistant. “With a bigger center we can help more people. I would love to see that.”
Bridgette’s statement resonates with the majority of those involved with the day to day functions. Even in their off hours, the staff works overtime to create beneficial events for students and families alike. Carol Hill, a Student Assistant, put together a food drive last November that fed thirty families. The Center has also included seminars, events, and outreach groups involving domestic violence, Ronald McDonald House, and school help programs – namely Women on the Way and Men Achieving Excellence.
“I like what we do here,” Carol said. “I would like to continue having the privilege of helping students.”
Created with the students in mind, Dr. James Oliver (Provost) became interested in the grant funded program at the Clearwater Campus. He envisioned a place for students to find help and thrive, and he succeeded. In the fall of 2014 the Center had 670 documented student visits; that number has grown to 1,622 visits in 2015.
“I do my best to create an environment where the students feel part of a family,” Evelyn said, “because here at the Student Support Center, they are.”
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