BY ANN SHERMAN-WHITE, M.ED., Pinellas County Job Corps, Business Community Liaison and Student Government Association Advisor
ST. PETERSBURG — As the nation prepared to brace for a potentially more aggressive strain of the COVID virus, Job Corps Centers across the nation prepared to hunker down and weather the next potential storm by ensuring every student and staff member had access to the vaccine and an opportunity to receive it within a safe environment.
Wanting to increase opportunities for those seeking to get vaccinated, Pinellas County Job Corps Center Director Omoniyi Amoran took matters into his own hand. During that same time, ODLE Management, which manages the PCJCC and is a subsidiary of Eckerd Connects, was in the process of launching its corporate initiative, “Show Your Health Some Love.” Among a myriad of its many objectives, the initiative was designed to improve and enhance students and staff’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
When the idea to offer vaccinations on-site was being tossed around during a discussion with campus leadership, Advance Training Coordinator Cory Givens Jr. knew exactly which community partners would be able to galvanize the support needed to accomplish such an enormous task.
Leveraging his in-depth community ties and childhood friendships, Givens brought in the following:
- APRN and Infinity Health Consultants founder Daphne Gardner
- Limitless Leader, Inc. CEO Rebecca Watson
- Pinellas County Urban League
- HPV Ambassador Program Consultant with Disease Control & Health Protection of the Pinellas County Health Department Andrea Peaten
- Community Tech House founder Lynn Harrell Johnson
Together they discuss offering vaccinations to students and staff on the PCJCC campus. The collection of established and well-respected community partners made several visits to the campus to ensure all who wished to be vaccinated could do so.
To further provide opportunities to be vaccinated, the center scheduled vaccinations off-center with CVS drug store for students that were unable to be vaccinated on campus. The Show Your Health Some Love campaign was in full swing.
A committee of dedicated staff members created activities and events that promoted health awareness. Those activities included a campus 2K walk, having fresh coconuts delivered onto campus to provide authentic coconut water, weekly meditations in the gym, weekly drawings for prizes sponsored by ODLE Management, and finally, a Student Government Association sponsored basketball shoot-out!
As the campaign came to a close, the culmination of strategic planning, hard work, and well-executed activities took place on July 15. Students and staff proudly wore color-coordinated t-shirts that signified they had all been vaccinated.
The hard work that took place to help orchestrate the support needed for on-campus vaccination generate student and staff buy-in, and the willingness to “Show Their Health Some Love” was evident by the number of participants.
The initiative, coupled with those that took advantage of being vaccinated, will have a lasting effect as the more aggressive Delta variant sweeps the nation. The PCJCC will be highly prepared-both mentally, physically, and emotionally!