PIQUA — The Upper Valley Career Center is teaching its students important skills they’ll need to know as they go out into the world — from auto services to veterinary sciences, and everything in between.
The UVCC also is teaching its students some valuable life lessons in caring, compassion and understanding.
“We care about our kids up here and we want them to know that,” said Sondra Schneider, UVCC’s Student Assistance coordinator. Along with Donna Monnier, Schneider helps run the UVCC’s Student Assistance Center, which helps a large number of students in a variety of ways. “We have a very caring staff up here, and we want to help out students.”
One of the primary ways the Student Assistance Center helps is with a supply room that provides uniforms, work boots, shoes, clothing and personal hygiene products — free of charge — for students who may need them. The room is stocked with UVCC uniforms needed by students in career technical programs. New and gently used work boots are available as well, most of which are donated by Career Center business partner Perrigo, LLC, of Covington.
There’s also dress clothing available for students who are going on job interviews or competing in Career Technical Student competitions, many of which require contestants to dress professionally. There are winter coats and sweatshirts for students working in outdoor labs. There also are personal hygiene items, such as toothpaste and deodorant, available for students who might not have those items readily available at home.
Schneider said the SAC supply room is used primarily by students in financial need, but is available to anyone.
“Sometimes students who are (in) auto repair can get oil all over them,” she said. “If a student is studying early childhood development, you never know what they could get all over them. We’ve got clothing here for them to change into. This stops a parent from having to come all the way in to bring their child a change of clothes.
“But most of the students who do use the Student Assistance Center are students who do have a financial need. We’ve got every size and students can come in at any time. They are allowed to keep what they take. A lot of times a student won’t have the money to afford a pair of steel-toed boots, which is something they may need in their career field.”
Schneider said the amount of generosity she’s seen both from the community and UVCC students and staff members has been overwhelming.
“At the end of the year, we have a uniform drive,” she said. “A lot of times, we’ll have students return items they’ve taken from the center to donate to another student. Our staff is so generous. Every year, we also have a Christmas fund that provides students with gift cards.”
Such donations are just one of the many services offered by the Student Assistance Center, however. The SAC also offers academic assistance and tutoring, study groups and guided study, recovery credits or online coursework for credits, connection with outside agencies that may be able to offer further assistance and a Student Assistance Fund to assist students with financial hardship.
The SAC also has a grant that pays for New Creation counseling services to be at the school two times per week, which provides discreet counseling services free of charge to uninsured students.
All of those things, Schneider said, make the Upper Valley Career Center a very special place at which to work.
“We do support our kids,” she said. “It just shows what our students mean to us.”
To donate to the Upper Valley Career Center’s Student Assistance Center, contact Sondra Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (937) 778-1980, ext. 273.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong