R.E.A.L. town hall one

Sasha Johnson speaks on how people who were locked out of schools have impacted the Farmville community.

On Feb. 18, Longwood University held the Be R.E.A.L town hall meeting on campus in Bedford 111. R.E.A.L stands for Resilient, Empathetic, Accountable and Legitimate.

Different issues in Prince Edward County and Farmville were discussed at the town hall, to see what is going on and what can be done to help the community.

This town hall was organized by Tamaja Terry, who facilitated the conversation between the panelists. The panel consisted of Director of Citizen Leadership and Social Justice Education Jonathan Page, Admissions and Special Programs Counselor Aaron Sims, Assistant Director of Leadership Development Quincy Goodine, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Moton Museum Cainan Townsend, Education and Prevention Coordinator Sasha Johnson and senior Miles Rather.

They were asked to talk about topics including food insecurity, lack of affordable shelter, education and initiatives on how to get students involved. 

Page reported some statistics, including some about healthcare.

He said the patient to primary care professionals ratio in Prince Edward County is 1,530 patients to one professional and for dental care, it's 2,893 patients to one professional.

In addition, the five areas that surround Prince Edward County have been identified as food desperate.

“I don't see these as challenges, I see these as areas of opportunity,” said Jonathan Page.   

The panelist went into a discussion, answering questions like, “How does the five-year gap of not going to school further impact the Farmville community?."

They also answered questions such as, “In what ways can Longwood help the community in the realm of education?”, which created a space for the attendants and panelists to try and come up with some creative ways to help those in need. 

Rather and Goodine both had initiatives in mind to provide help for those who need it. Rather wants to create an organization called Community Connections, “to provide consistent community service.” 

Goodine wants to create a program called L.E.A.D. He said, “This acronym stands for leadership, engagement, active citizenship and diversity.” 

This program is to help educate people on the problems and the root causes of these issues and will help give members hands-on experience to help fix some of these issues. 

For those interested in helping different programs that may soon be established to aid Prince Edward County and its surrounding areas, follow @longwoodrotunda for continued coverage on the initiatives. 

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