Thumbs up to Empower Me for paying in cash for the land at the new Empower Me Center. Empower Me raised more than $2 million through cash contributions and in-kind gifts toward phase 1 of its campaign. What started in 1999 as a summer day camp for children with disabilities at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center has grown into a vision of Empower Me’s to have its own home. “Daring to Dream” is its campaign focus. As the needs of the Empower Me’s families have changed, the nonprofit organization has adapted and changed its services. Once funds are raised and the new facilities are built, the organization will operate five different programs, which include day camp, recreational, educational, adult and multi-living. Empower Me plans to use 20-plus acres of land on South Hartmann Drive to build a community recreational building, a recreational sports complex and independent and supervised living cottages all geared to meet the unique needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities.
Thumbs up to the Wilson County Black History Committee for inviting Vanderbilt’s Wisdom of the Elders program to Wilson County. The program has worked for many years in Murfreesboro, where members created various types of materials like paintings, quilts, poetry, woodwork and more to portray history. Wisdom of the Elders won the 2013 Tennessee Parks and Recreation award for best program in the state in the intergenerational, senior or youth category. A group in New Orleans recently welcomed the program to help them make a cookbook. The WCBHC hopes the Wisdom of the Elders program can help them publish a second history book.
Thumbs up to the Lebanon Special School District for earning a final determination of “exemplary” from the state education department. The final determination also included an “exemplary” achievement status and subgroup status. Accountability determination status reflects the academic performance and growth of students who attend Lebanon schools. In addition to the “exemplary” determination, the state recently released a “Level 5” TVAAS growth score for LSSD, which is the highest growth score possible. The Lebanon Special School District was one of only six school districts in the state to earn a Level 5 growth score five years in a row.