Throughout the month, students and staff showed how much they cared
February is always a busy month for Branford Hall students, but everyone at the Jersey City campus this year got an extra dose of support, encouragement, and inspiration. Thanks to the efforts of Vivianne Jimenez, Director of Education, and the participation of students, staff, and instructors, several campus initiatives helped everyone to feel just a little more positive. The month featured three key activities:
- Honoring heroes of African American History
- Sharing random acts of kindness
- Sending Valentine’s candygrams to raise money for students in need
It was certainly a month on campus filled with giving and good thoughts.
Valentine’s candy grams support students in need
For the second year in a row, the Jersey City campus offered candy grams in honor of Valentine’s Day. For a $1 donation, a student, instructor, or staff member could send a small bag of candy—with a personalized note—to someone on campus. All of the proceeds went to the Student Relief Fund, a fund that Jimenez collects to be able to provide essential services to a student who might need something unexpectedly. “Sometimes it might be to help someone who doesn’t have enough money to afford the commute back and forth to school,” says Jimenez. “Other times it might be to help a student who hasn’t been able to eat that day.” She holds the funds in reserve, in case a need arises for a student in any way—a fitting fundraiser for Valentine’s Day, given that it shows a lot of heart.
Words of support as acts of kindness
During the third week of February, one of the walls of the Jersey City campus featured an invitation in large blue letters. It read, “Take what you need.” Surrounding these words were Post-It notes in different colors, each one featuring a hand-written comment with a positive message. This was all part of the campus’s celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, which was February 14–20.
Thanks to the efforts of Jimenez, any student, instructor, or staff member who needed a pick-me-up during that week had the opportunity to pass by the wall on the second floor of campus and choose a message to take with them. Some were messages of encouragement, such as:
“You are smart”
“You can handle this”
“Work towards your goal”
“Keep your head”
“Believe in yourself”
“Do the right thing”
“I am enough”
“Don’t be afraid”
Others simply featured single positive words, such as “leader,” “kind,” “love,” “laugh,” “believe,” or “think.” “We wrote anything on that wall we thought people would find uplifting,” Jimenez says. This was the first time the campus featured this idea, but she got such excellent feedback from students as well as staff about how much they appreciated it that she’s sure she will do it again in the future. “By the end of that week,” she says, “all of the ‘TGIF’ notes were gone, and we needed to add more!”
Celebrating heroes for African American History Month
Since February was also African American History Month, Jimenez created a wall featuring large-scale profiles. “The idea,” she says, “was to include biographies of a number of iconic figures.” Among these were:
- Malcolm X, (1925–1965), the human rights activist and Muslim minister who gave voice to black pride in the 1960s.
- Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), a social reformer and national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, as well as an escaped slave, who became a famous orator and statesman, known for his antislavery writings.
- Amelia Boynton (1911–2015), a civil rights pioneer and voting rights champion for African Americans, beaten for helping to lead a 1965 civil rights march, later known as Bloody Sunday; also the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama.
- Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), a boxer—considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century—as well as a social activist and philanthropist.
- Hattie McDaniels (1895–1952), the actress and the first African American to win an Academy Award, for her performance in Gone with the Wind (1939).
- Jackie Robinson (1919–1972), the second baseman who became the first African American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era.
Over the course of the week, several instructors brought their students down to the hallway to show them this display. Some students thanked Jimenez personally for her effort, since they had not known the story behind some of these remarkable individuals. The wall was so popular, in fact, that the instructors asked her not to take it down when the month was over, so she left it up.
Jimenez is currently working on profiles to showcase in the school’s hallways for Women’s History Month. Among those under consideration to be featured are Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Amelia Earhart, and even the Jersey City Campus President Carol Heininger. Everyone on campus will have the opportunity to learn and be inspired by this new display.
Jersey City is certainly making excellent efforts to focus on the positive and support its students in a number of ways. Stay tuned for more positive messages to come out of other Branford Hall campuses!
This article is part of the Branford Hall Career Institute’s weekly blog. We care about the personal and professional well-being of all our students. We offer several professional training programs at ten campuses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. In Jersey City, we offer programs in Medical Assisting and Medical Billing and Coding. For more information, reach out to us, or call (800)-959-7599 and schedule a visit.