Rhodes Seniors Inspired By VECA Neighbors
Publication Date: 5/12/2010
As they prepare for graduation, three Rhodes seniors—Casey Mohan, Erin Foster and Meredith Cavin—say they have greatly benefited from working with the Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association (VECA) and encourage other Rhodes students to become involved in the organization.
The Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood is located in the north part of midtown Memphis and is home to 12,000 residents within 4,600 households. The neighborhood is bound by North Parkway to the south, Watkins Street to the west, Cypress Creek to the north, and Springdale Street and Rhodes College on the east.
Mohan, a political science major, began working at VECA in August of 2007 and has edited and distributed the newsletter, surveyed and researched foreclosures, made GIS (Geographic Information System) maps on the computer, created the new VECA website, updated the email system and provided general tech help.
She knew very little about VECA when she started working for VECA, and says, “It’s great to continuously find people interested in bringing positive change to the neighborhood.” She adds that she now sees opportunities for future businesses and believes a full grocery store is imperative to increase health and well-being for the whole neighborhood. She also supports projects that will encourage community across different blocks and sub-groups of the neighborhood.
Foster, an urban studies major with a minor in religious studies, began working at VECA in January of 2009. Her projects have included putting together a large yard sale at VECA and events at the station house. She says she has loved these projects where she’s gotten to interact with neighbors and hear their insights about issues the community faces, like Lick Creek and maintaining the Greenline.
Adds Foster, “The neighbors are so quick to help one another, be it preparing for a community event or meeting or finding a lost dog.” She says that working at VECA helped her feel like part of a community outside of Rhodes, one where “people have truly been neighbors to one another.” She says she now understands the passion that residents have “for the place that they call home and community.”
Cavin, a political science major, began working at VECA in August of 2009. Her focus has been writing articles for the newsletter including interviewing small business owners, dedicated volunteers and local leaders in government. She says she has been inspired by these interviewees who have followed their passions and utilized their strengths to help others. “With real knowledge of local issues and concerns, VECA residents are most able to plan and implement solutions.”
“We hope that others will join VECA and actively contribute to the community that benefits their everyday lives,” adds Calvin.
The three seniors also thank Professor Michael Kirby and staff members Marci Hendrix and Suzanne Bonefas, who introduced them to VECA.