Mayowa Afolabi’s story as Centura College’s first international student began in the country of Nigeria. She had just finished her National Diploma in Mass Communication at The Polytechnic Ibadan, preparing to continue her education towards a Higher National Diploma. Her father told her he wanted a better future for her and for her to experience life in another country. To Mayowa’s surprise, she was enrolled in Centura College and was facing life on the other side of the globe on her own.
Mayowa’s journey began in April 2016, and she has never looked back. She stated her biggest fear, next to flying to America on an airplane, was speaking in front of a group of people. With the help of her instructors, who coached her through presentations and weekly speeches, she quickly overcame her fear of public speaking. Mayowa credits her instructors for who she is now and states, “No matter the situation in which I find myself, I always stand up to face the challenges.”
As a student, Mayowa was very involved with the Student Government Association and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), serving as secretary for both organizations. On many occasions, she was the “voice” telling others about the organizations and encouraging her fellow students to participate.
Mayowa graduated summa cum laude in June 2017 with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Business with a Concentration in Management and is currently employed with Centura College. Mayowa states, “No matter where you find yourself, if you have the focus, if you work hard and if you put God first, you are going to make it in life.”
The school groups of Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura Colleges and Tidewater Tech have reached out to their community and volunteered their time for a number of organizations. The staff at these institutions have chosen to serve their communities by volunteering their time, talent and support to causes that are meaningful to their communities. Here are just a few examples where are campuses have provided inspiration and hope to their community.
Centura Columbia Lends Helping Hands in Support of Flood Victims
On Friday, April 20, 2018, Centura College Columbia partnered with St. Bernard’s Place to assist a homeowner reclaim his residence after the devastating effects of flooding. St. Bernard’s Place is a national nonprofit organization focused on helping citizens of an affected area restore their lives after a natural disaster. Parts of South Carolina were hit hard in 2015 by Hurricane Joaquin, resulting in catastrophic flooding that left scores of citizens displaced. Many people are still rebuilding some two years later.
A team of ten from the Columbia campus, consisting of staff and students, arrived at the location and got an assessment of the resident’s needs. The cohort was broken into groups and assignments were given. Some helped strip paint from baseboards and door trim, others applied fresh paint to other parts of the home, while the remaining manned table saws and sanders to repair water damaged woodwork. The students represented our Building Maintenance and Repair (BMR), Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Medical Assisting programs.
In all, the team worked on site from 8:30 am-12 noon and assisted in the ongoing progress toward completing the restoration. The campus has pledged its support in future activities and looks forward to serving the Midlands community at large.
AIM Indianapolis Joins Forces with Local Elementary School to Provide Bikes to Children
The Indianapolis campus of Aviation Institute of Maintenance is on a mission. The goal: to provide bikes to the children of a local elementary school. See AIM Indianapolis’s plans in an excerpt from a letter drafted by its Campus Executive Director, Andy Duncan.
“I can still remember my first “big boy” bike. No more training wheels for this guy. This new bike looked like a motorcycle with big orange fenders, long black seat, silver frame (complete with motor cycle decal), and knobby tires. I can remember the initial ride down the street into the ditch and abrupt stop when I hit the concrete wall at the end of ditch. The memory is firmly planted in my head of this event from over forty years ago. If you are like me you remember your first bike or first “big boy or girl” bike and it brings a smile to your face. For lots of kids they will never know that felling. It is simply beyond the reality of the life they live for their family to afford such a luxury.
We at Aviation Institute of Maintenance want to do something about this. The AIM Indianapolis campus is on a mission to help recreate the feeling I and so many others have of getting a new bike. We have partnered with McClelland Elementary school to help this dream become a reality.
McClelland Elementary school has over 1000 students and due to the socioeconomic condition of a large portion of the students all students qualify for free breakfast and lunch. McClelland is home to a fairly significant homeless population of students as well. We, AIM, found our place to help bring some smiles simply by providing bikes. Now that the partnership has been set we have to get the word out as to what we are doing.
We have reached out to our partners in Aviation, friends & family, and other businesses to help with donating gift cards toward this effort. The students and faculty of AIM have graciously volunteered their time to assemble the bikes as they arrive. McClelland is choosing the criteria for the students that will receive the bikes and on May 25th we will head over to the school bikes in hand for delivery day.
As I write this 28 bikes and helmets have been ordered, 18 assembled, and ten more in route to us. We still have a couple weeks to collect a few more and as of right now several others are promised to us. We are looking forward to seeing the children when they receive their bikes. I know what having a bike meant to me as a child and I know that events like this show the community what Aviation Institute of Maintenance is all about. We train mechanics. We help people have a better future in their new career and we give bikes to kids who need them. That is who we are and that is what we do. I like the sound of that.”
Tidewater Tech Staff and Students Volunteer at Local Church to Serve Lunch to Community
Tidewater Tech staff and students volunteered locally with Norfolk’s Christian Fellowship Church on Tuesday, April 17th from 12-2pm during their lunchtime fellowship. Tidewater Tech volunteers worked together in providing lunch to serve the church, veterans, civilians, and homeless members of our local Norfolk community. Additionally, resources were also provided for those seeking help with housing or financial hardships. Christian Fellowship’s purpose is to provide an intimate environment of learning, fellowship, support, accountability and community outreach. Christian Fellowship educates and gives back to the community through seeking volunteers for, in addition to offering, education advancement, IT, kid’s kingdom, finance team and literacy, regular food service, building and grounds, marketing, office, and administrative support, music and singing, Christian education, transportation resources, nursing, and other special events. This being said, Tidewater tech was delighted to be able to offer lunch and resources, and to overall play role in aiding such a great organization. The experience of serving others, knowing the increasing amount of people facing hunger, left a truly powerful and uplifting impact for participants in seeing the appreciation of those served.
These are just a few shining examples of students and staff at AIM, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech personify the mission of our brands to truly connect communities and careers.
Other instances of our campuses doing their part to help out their communities include:
- AIM Atlanta teaming up with Greater Gwinnett Wetlands and the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources to clean up Bromolow Creek and surrounding wetlands.
- AIM Irving collecting food for the North Texas Food Bank.
- AIM Houston lending a helping hand and meeting with residents and business owners at annual Hobby Fest.
- AIM Las Vegas partnering with Ronald McDonald Charity House and baking cookies for a family staying there.
- AIM Mannasass welcoming the Manasass City Boys and Girls Club to their campus for a fun-filled day.
- AIM Oakland holding a food drive for those in need in the community.
- Centura Chesapeake holding a community yard and craft sale, with proceeding benefiting the Samaritan House.
- Centura Norfolk medical assisting students providing wellness checks for members at the KROC center.
Be sure to check our blogs and follow us on Facebook for updates on these and more stories of community outreach.
Written by Drew Schnaath, Jul DeGeus and Esperanza Poquiz
Faculty and staff from The Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech met with colleagues and industry specialists to enrich themselves, their campuses, and become better community leaders and more effective educators. On March 14th, leadership and instructors converged in Falls Church, VA to attend the annual Education Conference.
Left to right: Vice President Joel English, Damon Cook, Vice President Mike Busjahn and Nate Wade.
“This year’s theme centered around the intersection of education and community, how our schools work together with their respective communities,” said Dr. Mary Urbanski. “We believe in cultivating our school families, the greater communities surrounding our schools, and our faculty.” These relationships foster collaboration, integrity, and innovation, which benefits students, employers and the communities involved:
Centura Columbia hosted a three part Rock that Interview series of events, leading up to their Career Fair. The sessions educated those who attended on the following subjects: Writing your cover letter, creating your resume, collecting references and building your portfolio.
AIM Atlanta, AIM Chesapeake and AIM Manassas ‘drifted’ from aviation maintenance to automotive, as each campus hosted a Car Show & Open House. Automotive enthusiast learned a thing or two touring the hangars, while Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) admired the maintenance and upgrades of the vehicles that cruised onto the campus.
In September, members of the Hampton Roads campus branches partook in the organization and volunteering of the Safe House Half Marathon and 5k. 100% of the proceeds of this race went towards building a “safe house”- a haven for orphans that are at risk of being sold into sex slavery.
Centura Norfolk partnered with the City of Norfolk’s Fire-Rescue Department to develop an academic preparation training program for new recruits of the Fire-Rescue Academy. This free of charge program aims to help refresh the basic knowledge a participant will need to be successful in the Fire-Rescue Academy, as well as provides additional tutoring to ensure each recruit has the tools they need to succeed.
Tidewater Tech connected with the community’s strong military presence by holding a car wash and yard sale to benefit the crew members of the USS Eisenhower. Chief Petty Officer selectees from the vessel worked alongside Tidewater Teach staff members to make sure that every car that came for a wash was in ship shape!
For Christmas, AIM Indianapolis decked the halls with charity organizations, Bearded Villains and Bad Apple Offroad, to collect gifts for Toys for Tots. The holiday event gave families the chance to come to the campus and enjoy food, music and fun, while raising donations for a great cause!
Conference attendees heard from several well-known speakers, including Dr. Michael E. Wooten from the Department of Education, Cindy Bridges Milford, Enterprise Digital Specialist at Cengage and Dale Dworak, a 25-year industry veteran in business technology solutions. Campus educators were also able to learn from text book publishers such as Cengage, McGraw Hill Education, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Pearson and F.A. Davis Company. Each speaker offered valuable insight into their experiences in education, business, leadership, management, and even the technology that powers these institutions and ideas.
In addition to the veritable wealth of information, our faculty had the chance to meet and network with colleagues from our other brands and campuses. Jon Cason explained “Our goal is to foster community, both inside and outside our organization. Collaboration is important for our schools as they continue to grow.”