Dear Friends,

I want to introduce you to an amazing woman, Tiara Lawson, single mother of three, student, R.N., and on her way toward a master’s degree and certification as a Nurse Practitioner. Her story is inspiring and I’d like you to consider being a part of her on-going achievements.

In 2010, Tiara took some big steps toward making a life-long dream come true; she went back to school to begin a career in medicine. Tiara tells it this way: “I am a single mother of three beautiful, smart kids. I grew up in a household where only my oldest brother and I thought about continuing our education.  As my adulthood passed on I knew I needed to give my kids a stronger foundation to call home. I decided to go back to school in 2010 but I needed some assistance to pursue this medical dream of mine.”

After six years of hard work, Tiara is a couple of classes away from earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. CVEM has helped Tiara with a small portion of her education expenses during this time—helping her purchase uniforms, a couple of text books, some tuition, and paying a fee toward state licensure as a Registered Nurse. Throughout the years, Tiara has continued to qualify for financial aid assistance at CVCC, work, and raise her three children—now 12 year-old twins and a15 year-old.  And, so far, she has earned the following: medical assistant licensure, Associate’s degree in nursing, State licensure as an R.N., and full-time employment since 2014 as an R.N. at Jack Hughston Hospital. Tiara says, “I am now loving my career as an R.N. But I know I have more to offer.”

Indeed! Tiara kept going and in 2014 was accepted into the EARN program of Auburn University at Montgomery. Through this program, Tiara is finishing up next month an accelerated course of study to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and continuing for another two years to earn a Master’s degree and licensure as a Nurse Practitioner by 2018. 

And here’s where we are today and what we need your help with. Tiara has two classes next month to finish her bachelor’s work. Tuition and books total more than $3,700 and is due by the end of May.  Although financial aid will once again be available for her master’s level work, that resource is now depleted, two classes shy of finishing.

In true Tiara-style, she already has $600 toward that total and plans to pick up extra shifts at work this month to add another $1,500, leaving a balance of $1,600 to raise. CVEM is unable to provide any client that much assistance but we will help some, and I ask for your assistance as well. I know we don’t usually ask for your support in this way but, frankly, we’re so proud of Tiara and how hard she’s worked that we want to do all we can to get her to that final career goal! So, please let us know of any possible resources for Tiara you may know of or if you would like to contribute yourself to this hard-working mom’s dream.

Tiara tells us she’s been so blessed by CVEM over the years and thankful for the work we do. It’s you—our volunteers, donors, and community partners—who make this work possible and bless so many lives you’ll never even know. I’m glad I can share this story with you, to share the blessing that Tiara is to her family, her community, and to us.

In God’s Peace,
Martha Robert
Interim Director
Every year, Infusion students take a service trip. Pictured, students are serving in Atlanta at the Church of the Common Ground, a parish that holds service in the streets of downtown Atlanta. Teens had several opportunities to work with homeless and impovershed people during their trip. 
As the school year winds down, some of the seniors in the Infusion program- CVEM’s servant-leadership based program aimed at teaching tolerance-share how Infusion has made an impact on their lives:
“Infusion has been a great influence on me considering it’s been a stressful and eventful year as a senior. All of the community service and love that’s come from the other Infusion students and head members, I greatly appreciate and will remember for the rest of my life. I’ve learned many lessons with time management, responsibility and leadership. I’ve gotten to give back to the community in fun ways and gotten to meet and make new memorable connections with others that share the same love for community service as me. I hope any student eligible for Infusion takes the time to apply and join.” -Brenetta Brady, Smiths Station High School, 2nd year Infusion student
“Infusion, to me personally, is a group of motivated teens focused on seeing diversity in our community through service. Although the focus of our group is to be servant leaders to others, we are all learning bounds of information that will serve ourselves in our years to come. Seeing the issues in our community through our own eyes is one thing. However, hearing the opinions and solutions of people from different faiths, races and socioeconomic backgrounds allows us to grow in our own knowledge and better serve our community and eventually maybe the world. As Infusion, we are serving our community by helping others and helping ourselves.” -Jacob Sholtis, Columbus High School, 3rd Year Infusion Student
“Infusion has influenced me by giving me a chance to become a part of my community. I have bonded with wonderful people who I have come to know and love. Being in infusion has taught me so much about servant leadership which, has helped and I’m sure will continue to help me throughout my life.” -Brett Coleman, Hardaway High School, 4th year Infusion student
Are you a teen or do you know one who is a servant-leader? Or maybe someone who wants to serve his or her community all while exploring social justice issues through the lenses of a diverse group of peers? 
Then Infusion is just for them!
Infusion accepts 15 high school students (8th-11th grade) who spend the year studying a social justic topic and doing community service. 
If you are interested in finding out more about the program or would like an application, click HERE or give us a call at 706.327.0400.
Applications are due by June 5. 
Infusion student Dylan Rice has been awarded Columbus State University’s Servant Leadership Scholarship. 
Dylan, a senior at Columbus High School, has been in Infusion for four years. 
The scholarship will provide Dylan $2,500 per year at CSU, where he plans on majoring in business with a minor in art. We are so proud of you Dylan and know you’ll do great things!
A big thanks to all who supported the CHAIRity for CVEM: Artists who created beautiful chairs, those who bought chairs, those who volunteered their time, & all who visited with us. We raised $785!
Reawakening Rebekah Inspires
The February world-premiere of Reawakening Rebekah: The Gift of the Clamor Girls was a rewarding experience for many. 
The play, adapted from a book by Deidre deLaughter (Dede), was truly a collaborative effort on the part of the author, Columbus State University and CVEM.
The vision for turning the book into a play came from Shedding Our Secrets member Agnes Shelton when the group was reading Reawakening Rebekah as part of a book study. The group arranged a meeting with Dede and CSU Theater Director Larry Dooley. 
“I cannot speak highly enough for the people I worked with at both these organizations,” deLaughter said. “It was Agnes’ vision and she is a force to be reckoned with in a very good way. What a bold move on Larry Dooley’s part to get (Reawakening Rebekah) on the schedule with literally nothing. He took a big chance on me and words escape me for being able to express how much I appreciate that.”
deLaughter rewrote her novel as a stage play during this process with the aid of Dooley and CSU Theater students. 
“(Larry) was so patient with me. He invited me several times to do cold reads with his students, and that was helpful to get their perspective; and I’d say 99 percent of the time their suggestions were valid. It was a very rewarding, collaborative and inspiring experience,” she said. 
The reward was not just something experienced on deLaughter’s end. 
“ As a theatre program that attempts to bridge the gap between entertainment and education, working on a show such as “Rebekah” is hugely fulfilling. The students and I benefited from the process of taking a work from page to stage. Dede was a terrific collaborator and taught our students the value of rewriting, and rewriting, and rewriting. We all learned a lot,” Dooley said. 
“Beyond the educational value of the process, though, was the exceptional connection we were able to make with the local community. Knowing that this work was so meaningful for so many people made everyone involved in the production feel as though our work truly mattered, that we had been given a special gift. The CSU students were encouraged--and a bit intimidated at times--to know there would be people in our audience whose own experiences mirrored those portrayed on stage. Having the support and encouragement of CVEM was greatly appreciated.”
CVEM also had the chance to raise money in support of Shedding Our Secrets by selling copies of Reawakening Rebekah, which were generously donated by Dede and Bob and Jan Babcock, owners of Deeds Publishing Co. in Athens, GA. The program raised $810 and still has copies of the book available for $20. 
CVEM Board member Ginia McPhearson had wonderful things to say about her experience watching the show. 
“I actually enjoyed the play very much, and with a topic as sensitive as incest, I found it very warm and comforting,” McPhearson said. “It brought some strong women together, and it was great to see they could overcome what happened to them.” 

The applications for TAP 2016 are here. The Thompson-Pound Art Program (TAP), is a five-day program for children ages six through 11 that teaches tolerance and peace-making. Children are recruited from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
This year, TAP takes place from June 20-24 at the Rankin Arts Center in Uptown Columbus from 8:45 a.m. to Noon. 
The theme for TAP 2016 is ‘Know, Hold, Give, See, Be JOY.’
Here’s how TAP Director Debbie Anderson describes this theme:
“What brings you JOY? What are your gifts? Come connect with others and appreciate all of our different gifts. Through the performing and visual arts, our diversity can teach us to hold hands with those we may not understand. Much JOY comes from knowing that we are all created equally.”
Anyone interested in applying for TAP this year should call us at 706.327.0400 or e-mail with your address and the number of children you want to register and we’ll send you an application in the mail or you can download an application from our Website HERE. 
Teens older than 11 can apply to serve as mentors/interns for the week of TAP.  Teen training is held the week before TAP, Tuesday-Friday, June 14-17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. E-mail Debbie at if you are interested in serving in this way.  We also would love volunteers for the week of the event. Contact Debbie or April Johnson at to see how you can help! 

Would you like to be a part of TAP this year? CVEM's basement flooded earlier this year, taking some of the TAP supplies with it. We would love to have as many people involved in this wonderful program and one way to do that is by donating various supplies to help offset costs with donations, some of which you may already own! Below is a list of the type of items we need this year:

Snack items including-

  • boxes of Capri Sun drinks
  • granola bars
  • Goldfish crackers
  • pretzels
  • honey, preferably local
  • No products containing nuts please

 Art Supplies

for this year’s Unity Piece--

  • fine-tipped permanent markers
  • silicone caulking
  • a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors of smooth rocks

Replacing Destroyed Supplies:

  • washable markers
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • Monetary donations to purchase unique, specific items for the Unity Piece and other art projects including gift cards to Home Depot or Lowe’s, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Target
The Rev. Harry Carlsen, retired Lutheran pastor, served as Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church for more than 8 years. He and his wife, Dorothy, recently retired and moved to Maine to be with family. The Carlsens have served CVEM in many ways through the years. 
By: Vicky Partin
Father Harry Carlsen and his dear wife Dorothy are two of the kindest and most devoted Christians I have known, and the only Lutherans I have closely known.  From being St. Thomas members and leaders, Foyer hosts in their home, to teaching various Christian education series, they have inspired us all with openness and vitality.
Harry served faithfully on the CVEM Board representing St. Mary Magdalene. He supported our work and contributed many gifts.  One of their largest gifts was offering Dorothy’s weaving looms to TAP for many years.  As a master weaver, she taught each child weaving techniques, and the result was always a delightful and theme-based hanging for the walls at CVEM, or a part of the Unity Piece, which may hang around Columbus.  The children have not forgotten the excitement of taking a turn at the loom.
Our community and the Episcopal Church have been richly blessed through the ministries of the Carlsens.  I pray that they will enjoy wonderful retirement years ahead with their children and grandchildren.
By: Norma Wolff
The Direct Service client who most impacted me recently is a young, prenant woman who came to us with all of her belongings in her car, as she was fleeing an abusive boyfriend. The man had threatened her and yet her landlord told her that she could not vacate the house until all rent was paid.
Thankfully we have a refuge for women fleeing abusive relationships, and when I called Hope Harbour they were willing to give her shelter. This young woman has a job and the wonderful volunteer at Hope Harbour arranged to meet her after her shift at work. After a stay there, she has now been helped to find an apartment of her own. 
This all happened around Easter and luckily an Easter Basket was offered by another organization. Our client was so appreciative of this gift. 
So in reality, all that CVEM did was listen and refer. Many times this is what hurting people need. We are so grateful for all of our supporting agency friends who don’t hesitate to join in and help. 

Between January and March, 73 families were assisted with $5,651.58 in rent, mortgage, scholarships, medical expenses and transportation.
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