Miranda Derveloy's Letter to the Editor on the Social Services Session
Soon our Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2017 will be coming to an end. With our last tour throughout Tangipahoa this month we spent a full day focusing on Social Services. We had the opportunity to meet with extraordinary people who commit their lives to serving others in our area. Our class was amazed at the dedication and commitment of the non-profits we visited during the day.
We started at the Tangipahoa Voluntary Council on Aging's Hammond facility where we met Ms. Beverly Brazil, Hammond Senior Center's Area Supervisor, and were told how they provide a number of services for our Senior Citizens. I highly recommend any seniors over the age of 60 to go enjoy lunch with fellow citizens at one of the five locations found in our parish. In addition to meals, seniors may also take part in activities such as exercise classes, art, or computer classes that are provided at most of the centers.
Next, we had the privilege of visiting Options, who pride themselves as providing premier services for people with disabilities. We received a wonderful presentation from Ms. Jaclyn Rice, Development Director, and then experienced an eye opening tour around their campus. Our favorite places include the Options Garden Center, where we heard from participants about what their most popular flowers were and how they loved to care for their plants daily. Our class was also very impressed by the Options Weaving Studio where participants have the opportunity to get hands on using the weaving machines to create their own master pieces out of yarn and other materials which even include men tie's.
Our third stop was where we learned of the operations of Our Daily Bread Food Bank of Tangipahoa Parish. Ms. Myrna Jordan has passionately been a volunteer for this organization since 2001. Her eyes light up when she speaks about the organization. United Way and Our Daily Bread served us a refreshing lunch while Cammie Proctor, Director, spoke about the role of the United Way in our community and Jamene Dahmer, Senior Vice President of Recovery, gave an update to the flood recovery in the area. We feel unique because we were the first group to enjoy a delicious meal in Our Daily Bread's new kitchen & serving area.
After lunch we visited Child Advocacy Services (CAS) and heard of the incredible work Mr. Rob Carlise, CEO, and his team does with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and CAS. Celebrating over 24 years of service, we applaud them for a job well done for being a statewide leader in providing advocacy, clinical services, and prevention resources to give voice, healing, and security to children. CAS Children's Advocacy Center Program is introducing Hayward, a trained service dog, through Canine Companions for Independence to work with children visiting the center who have disclosed abuse.
We concluded the day with a drive around Hammond with Mr. Lemar Marshall and seen an up-close look at poverty in the area. As the Councilmen for District 4, he has taken a personal position on improving the lives of his constituents by working to improve parks, roads, and drainage for the district.
On behalf of our class, I would like to thank Tangipahoa Voluntary Council on Aging, Options, Our Daily Bread Food Bank of Tangipahoa Parish, United Way, Child Advocacy Services, and Mr. Lemar Marshall for their gracious hospitality during our visit. With much gratitude, I am thankful for my class sponsor First Guaranty Bank.
Lastly, I would like to say a special thank you to program facilitator Nick Gagliano for working very hard with leaders in our parish to give our class the best educational experience possible.