Remembering Patsy Ashe

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March
8

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Patsy Ashe (r) with Brenda Wass

Patsy Ashe, the Presbyterian Community Center’s longtime and much-loved case worker for the Emergency Services program, passed away on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 after a valiant struggle with lung cancer.

Beginning her years with the PCC as a member of the cleaning service for our building, Patsy, a resident of southeast Roanoke, soon joined the Emergency Services staff, interviewing clients and assisting them with financial aid and food orders. She and Brenda Wass were a dynamic PCC team for many years. After her diagnosis in late summer 2010, Patsy’s remaining days were very precious for all of the staff, volunteers and clients of the PCC. She lived with hope and a “can do” attitude about her battle with cancer. She rarely missed work, taking her chemotherapy or radiation treatments early in the day and arriving at the PCC by mid-morning. When asked about her treatments, she always answered with a smile and both thumbs up.

By April of this year, it became apparent that the cancer would soon take Patsy from us. But, whenever possible, she got a ride to the Center so we could visit with her in the parking lot while she sat in the car, unable to walk down the sidewalk on her own. Even during her last days in the hospital, she was delighted to see PCC visitors.

The PCC will dedicate “Patsy’s Pantry” on Thursday, November 15. We invite volunteers and clients who worked with her to join us at noon that day. I believe Patsy would like this remembrance celebrating her dedication and commitment to the mission of the Presbyterian Community Center.

by Karen McNally, Executive Director

Pathways Graduates Three in 2012

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March
8

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Danielle and Cheyenne Drewery with PCC High School Coordinator Susan Frank and Family Service counselors.

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Blake Hartwell

These hopeful young people are Danielle and Cheyenne Drewery, who graduated from Hidden Valley High School and Blake Hartwell, who graduated from Patrick Henry High School. Danielle and Cheyenne have been a part of the PCC Pathways program for 10 years and are set to enroll in Virginia Western Community College. Blake has been a Pathways participant for six years and is planning on working a year before going to college to pursue graphic arts and/or fashion design. Congratulations Blake, Cheyenne and Danielle, we are so proud of you!

by Tom MacMichael, Director of Family Programs

A Struggle to Maintain Family

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March
8

Thomas is a single father with 3 children aged 10 and under. He has multiple sclerosis and is waiting for his disability application to be approved.

He is trying very hard to hold his family together and battle his illness. Currently, the only income coming into the household is SNAP (food) assistance. The family lives in Section 8 housing with rent at $50 per month. Thanks to assistance from our Thurman Foundation funding for families with children, the PCC could help him with $165 in past due rent.

Christmas is Just Around the Corner

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March
8

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Volunteers from Huntington Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke spent the day at PCC wrapping donated Christmas gifts for children of Emergency Services clients.

Ed Lunsford of Colonial Presbyterian Church, pictured above, moved the mountain of gifts to a “secret” hiding place at the PCC until Christmas!

Back on Track

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March
8

Jerold is 48 years old and recently completed a three-year jail sentence. He came to the PCC seeking help with a rent payment.

He was trying very diligently to find work and get started on the right track. We were able to help him with the rent. The next day, he stopped by the Center to let us know he had a job interview. About two weeks later we received a card thanking us and letting us know that he found a job.

A Long Walk for Food

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March
8

For clients in Vinton without transportation, the PCC is quite a long walk. A 35-year-old single mom recently broke her ankle in several places.

She had been out of the hospital less than a week, but was in great need of food. Her three children took turns pushing her wheelchair to the PCC from Vinton to receive groceries from our pantry.

Welcome Joyce Barker

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March
8

The Presbyterian Community Center happily welcomes Joyce Barker, a long-time PCC volunteer and member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, as our newest employee. Joyce works with Brenda Wass in PCC Emergency Services as a caseworker. She interviews clients, determines needs and coordinates efforts to provide support for their needs.

Shortly after beginning her job, Joyce received a card from one of her clients with the following note:

“Dear Ms. Joyce Barker, I want to personally thank you so very much for all you do for our community. Several weeks ago I too experienced the love and support of someone who really cares about people (you.) Please know that you will never be forgotten by me or God! It is so important for you to know how grateful I am for all you’ve done to assist me in my time of difficulty and my promise to you is I will give back as I have been given to. When I left your place of service I felt like I had blessings of God all over my life as well, so please know how grateful I am to have met such a person and a staff of people who really care. Even the receptionist who gave me bread was so kind to me.”

“This,” says Joyce, “is what it’s all about.”

Dragon Boat Race to Raise Funds for PCC

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March
8

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Have you noticed an increasing presence of dragons around Roanoke? The Presbyterian Community Center is holding the first annual Smith Mountain Lake Dragon Boat Race and Festival on Saturday, September 15. The proceeds of this fun fundraising event will support PCC Emergency Services and Pathways for Youth programs.

Dragon Boat racing is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States and we are happy to introduce it to the Roanoke Valley. The PCC is recruiting teams to race. Teams consist of 21 people and like most walks or runs for a good cause, team members raise money to sponsor their place on the boat crew. All boats, equipment and professional steerers will be provided by the Pan American Dragon Boat Association out of Tampa, Florida.

We are very grateful to all of our sponsors and for the skillful and enthusiastic help of Helen Nunley who created the event website, smldragonboatrace. com. If you get the chance, take a look at this site and learn more about the event.

Agape Youth Choir Visits Center

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March
8

Agape Youth Choir Visits Center

Volunteer super chef Angie Pittendrigh prepares lunch for Agape Youth Choir.

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In late June, sixteen youth and seven adults from the Agape Youth Choir of Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill, SC. spent the day at the Presbyterian Community Center bagging 1,000 pounds of donated sweet potatoes for our pantry, cleaning and organizing the Pathways after-school program area and helping to mend carpet throughout the Center. Lunch was prepared by our Pathways volunteer, Angie Pittendrigh. Prior to lunch, all at our Center were treated to a very lovely prayer of thanks sung by the choir.

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