Vera Jackson

Vera Jackson's story continues with local students

The Georgia Community Foundation held their annual Vera Jackson Scholarship Winter Meeting and Breakfast at Brasstown Valley Resort on January 6, 2007. Over fifty people attended the gathering including Young Harris College students, YHC alumni, administrators, and guests. Jim Kelly, Executive Director, Terry Hartman, Director of the Mentor Program, and B.J. Hallock, Director of the Alumni Program, were on-hand to welcome everyone.

Guest Speaker Amy Meadows, a free-lance writer with over 400 articles under her belt, gave an informative talk about the benefits and pitfalls of free-lancing. She explained, "Free-lance writing is all about networking. That's how you get the jobs."

Students learned that writing and other careers requiring a special talent are good choices in today's market. B.J. Hallock gave a short presentation about "hot jobs of the future." She talked about major trends such as offshore out-sourcing, the aging population, and cocooning (working from home).

The Vera Jackson Scholarship Program, part of Georgia Community Foundation, Inc., was created through the generosity of the late Vera Jackson, a native of North Georgia . The Vera Jackson Scholarship Program provides room and board scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to students from Fannin, Union, Towns, and Lumpkin Counties who are attending college on the HOPE scholarship.

Mentors play a big part in program. Lindsay Gilbert Whitelaw, of the Judy Lane Gilbert Memorial Foundation, mentors three graduates of Union County High School including Ashley Preston at Valdosta State, Dana Johnson at Kennesaw State University, and Rachel Conley at Young Harris College. Whitelaw says, "Mentors do various things to help. I keep in close contact with the girls through email and greeting cards. Sometimes I send Starbuck's Gift Certificates and little things to let them know I care. The main thing is being available." Mentors are concerned with helping students keep on track so that scholarship eligibility is maintained. Mentors are also instrumental in providing career guidance and contacts.

Thirty-seven people are graduates of the Vera Jackson Scholarship Program. These individuals are proof of the scholarship and mentoring program's success.

Eight alumni were present at the meeting. Amanda Woody from Fannin County, Brandon Mitchell, Stacie Harkins, Brandon Sparks, and Faith Allen from Union County, Kristal Adams and Laura Willis from Towns County, and Avery Parker from Lumpkin County were available to answer questions and offer advice to the undergraduates.

Faith Arnold, a graduate of Towns County High School , is one of the first people to go to college on the scholarship. She currently teaches in Union County and just won the "Teacher of the Year award." Jim Kelly says, "We are very proud of her accomplishments."

Kristal Adams, from Towns County , originally heard about the scholarship program from her high school counselor. She says, "The Vera Jackson Scholarship is more than just money. I made life-long friends and the program offered endless resources." Kristal graduated from Young Harris College and North Georgia College & State University where she earned a dual degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. She recently started teaching 1 st grade at Union County Primary School .

Vera Jackson, born in 1905, was the second oldest of 12 children whose parents were tenant farmers living in Lumpkin County , Georgia . From extremely humble roots, Ms. Jackson achieved unprecedented academic and professional success. Her life is an amazing story of perseverance that led to many accomplishments in her professional life and in the stock market. The Vera Jackson Scholarship Program is a direct result of this amazing woman's generosity.

Exciting new projects are in the planning stages. $6,500 has recently been raised for starting a Vera Jackson Alumni Scholarship Program for former graduates that are pursuing an advance degree. The Georgia Community Foundation, Inc. has a motto that states, "Building a Strong Foundation for Georgia ." These few words say it all.