Institute for Faith & Culture Celebrates Appalachia with Author and Professor S.J. Dahlman

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 29, 2020 — King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture 2019 – 2020 speaker series continues Monday, Feb. 10, with author S.J. (Jim) Dahlman and an examination of the beauty of home.

Dahlman, who serves as professor of communications and area chair of performing, visual, and communicative arts at Milligan College, is the author of 2019’s “A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road.” The book details his solo hike retracing Boone’s late 1700s exploration of our area, touching on the historic details of that journey as well as profiling the many contemporary personalities Dahlman met along the way.

Dahlman will present the Institute’s 2020 Appalachian Lectures, titled “Meditations from an Old Road: Beauty Will Save Us” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus, and “Meditations from an Old Road: Truth will Set us Free” at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1 Virginia Street, in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are open to the public and free-of-charge.

“As humans, so much of what we value as beauty and holiness grows from our individual concepts of home,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “We’re very lucky to live in a region that is rich in natural beauty and deeply textured with music, storytelling and character, and Dahlman is able to capture an engaging and dynamic snapshot of Appalachia and the personalities who call our mountains home. We’re delighted to welcome him as the 2020 Appalachian Lecturer and look forward to taking part in his stories.”

Dahlman holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, a Master of Arts in English with an editing and publishing emphasis from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and humanities from Milligan College. He has also studied at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Springdale College in Birmingham, England, and the London School of Journalism.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

###

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

General Shale Performs Corporate Restructuring, Promotes Members of Leadership Team

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — General Shale, one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers, has promoted several members of its leadership team as part of a recent corporate restructuring.

Andy Hall has been promoted to chief operating officer (COO). In his new role, he collaborates with senior management on business strategies, future planning, and financial and project analysis. Hall has also assumed executive responsibility for the company’s Jet Stream pipes division. During his 22 years with General Shale, he has served in multiple roles, including plant manager at Arriscraft’s Cambridge, Ontario, site; corporate development manager for General Shale; and vice president of sales for Pipelife Jet Stream.

Dan Green has been named chief technical officer (CTO), North America. His responsibilities include corporate planning and strategy related to North American expansion opportunities, capacity utilization, supply chain management and technical advancements. He also has oversight of the company’s Canadian operations, in addition to its Columbus Brick and Watsontown Brick divisions. A 36-year veteran of General Shale, Green’s career has progressed from production supervisor to his most recent role as vice president of manufacturing, and has also included stints as plant manager, production manager and director of manufacturing.

Corky Clifton has been promoted to vice president of sales, U.S. In his new role, he will lead U.S. sales operations, with continued direct responsibility for distributor sales, which includes more than 200 affiliated distributors. In his 23-year career with General Shale, he has risen from outside sales to district sales manager, regional sales manager and national director of distributor sales.

Scott Miracle has been promoted to vice president of manufacturing, with responsibility for the company’s 14 U.S. manufacturing operations. During his 17-year tenure with General Shale, Miracle has served as a supervisor, plant manager and regional operations manager. His career also includes 11 years as regional production manager for a company in the United Kingdom, where he had oversight of multiple plants before rejoining General Shale in 2017.

“Over the past few years, acquisitions have enabled us to strengthen and diversify our product platform, offer extra value-added opportunities to our customers and expand our geographical footprint,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO of General Shale. “This restructuring aligns with our strategic growth effort, which will allow us to continue to take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace.”

Headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee, General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG and a leading manufacturer of brick, one of the world’s oldest green building materials.

ABOUT GENERAL SHALE
General Shale is one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers. Founded in 1928, the company offers an endless array of sizes, colors and textures in a wide variety of masonry materials to complete any residential, commercial or specialty architectural project. These materials include brick, thin masonry, stone, outdoor living products, concrete block and various building materials, which include Arriscraft Stone and Jet Stream pipes division products. 

Throughout the U.S. and Canada, General Shale operates 14 manufacturing facilities in nine states and provinces, in addition to a network of 26 sales locations and more than 200 affiliated distributors across North America. The company grew even stronger in 1999 when it joined Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, the world’s largest brick manufacturer. With a life cycle of more than 100 years, the sustainability of brick is General Shale’s commitment to responsible stewardship.

General Shale is headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.generalshale.com.

– ### –

Institute for Faith & Culture Welcomes Award-Winning Composer Shawn Okpebholo

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 22, 2020 — King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture 2019 – 2020 speaker series continues Monday, Jan. 27, with nationally recognized composer Shawn Okpebholo, DMA.

Okpebholo’s award-winning works are highly diverse in style and genre, ranging from original compositions to re-imaginings of traditional hymns, and created for a variety of arrangements, from solo voice to full orchestra.

He will present “Reclaiming My Identity Through the Negro Spiritual” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, and “Reclaiming the Theology of the Negro Spiritual” at 7 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, located at 301 Euclid Ave. in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free-of-charge and open to the public.

“Doctor Okpebholo’s works have rightly been described as diverse and dynamic, bearing enormous creativity and grace,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “He is greatly skilled at tracing the roots of African American music, interpreting traditions in new and influential ways, and connecting communities around the globe. We are excited to share in his talent and exploration, and delighted to welcome him to the Institute.”

Okpebholo has performed in prestigious venues throughout the U.S., including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Cathedral. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition and Music Theory from Asbury College, with additional studies in film scoring at New York University. He earned a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in composition and theory from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. He currently serves as assistant professor of music composition and theory at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Illinois.

A significant part of Okpebholo’s music education can be credited to the free music lessons he received from the Salvation Army church where he spent his adolescent years. Inspired by that charity, he remains passionate about volunteering his musical talents to underserved communities.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

###

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

King University Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Founder of Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 09, 2020 — Boundless compassion. Radical kinship. Extravagant tenderness. Not terms that you would expect to hear when discussing gang violence, mass incarceration, or a period of time in U.S. history known as the “decade of death.”

It’s exactly that contrast, though, that has enabled the lifelong work of Father Greg Boyle to flourish.

Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, will join the Bristol community to present the Institute for Faith & Culture’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Lecture. On Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., Boyle will present “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness” at Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m., he will present “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship” in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Father Boyle’s work to integrate gentleness and restore respect in communities struggling with violence is a beautiful reflection of Dr. King’s vision of wholeness for society, and we’re delighted to welcome him for this year’s observance,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “Father Boyle’s work began at the very center of an area known for conflict, aggression, murder, and retribution, and he has since helped restore hope and community to many thousands here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in 1988, with a goal of providing job training and support services for the thousands of individuals transitioning away from gang affiliation, out of the prison system, and back into the workforce and community. Today, Homeboy offers education, counseling, tattoo removal, job training, and more in a transformational — and restorative — business model that is being replicated across the globe.

As part of the event, two members of Homeboy Industries will join Boyle in Bristol, sharing their experiences of God’s redemptive love.

“Father Gregory models Dr. King’s call to justice and compassion, and his work bears witness to the power of love in the most difficult circumstances,” Dotterweich said. “We’re delighted to learn from him, as well as members of the Homeboy Industries community, and proud to be part of Bristol’s annual celebration of Dr. King’s life.”

A Jesuit priest, Boyle received his bachelor of arts in English from Gonzaga University, a master of arts in English from Loyola Marymount University, and advanced theology degrees from The Weston School of Theology and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, awards, and recognitions, including being named as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and receiving the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor presented to American Catholics, in 2017.

He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” and most recently published “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

###

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

Cornerstone Christian Academy Welcomes Christmas Season by Gifting Care Packages to Nearly 500 Veterans

ABINGDON, Va. ― Fifth-grade students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) brought some Christmas joy to nearly 500 veterans this holiday season by participating in a class service project known as Operation Blessing.

This marked the fourth year that CCA fifth-graders have participated in the outreach effort, which gives students an opportunity to collect, assemble and deliver care packages, also known as blessing bags, to veterans at the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Medical Community in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Earlier this fall, CCA students began collecting donation items that included packaged snacks, hygiene products, puzzle books, handkerchiefs, socks and a smaller version of the book “Grace Under Fire,” which is a compilation of letters of faith from the battlefields of American history.   

“This is such a special project for our fifth-graders because it gives them a unique opportunity to express their love and appreciation for our veterans, who have given so much for us,” says Jessica Edwards, CCA’s fifth-grade instructor who also volunteers with Soldiers’ Angelsa national nonprofit that provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and the growing veteran population. “God provided exactly what we needed through students, parents, CCA families, local churches, local business and anonymous givers. We’re so grateful to the individuals and groups that contributed to this worthy cause so that our youth could go out and minister to our heroes.”  

Located in Abingdon, CCA is a classical, non-denominational Christian school serving students in junior kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2016, CCA received a five-year accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) for grades K-12. ACSI is one of 14 associations with accreditation processes that have been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) and recognized by the Virginia Board of Education. Accreditation through a VCPE-approved, state-recognized accrediting member guarantees the transfer of student-earned credits from a private school to a public school, and ensures recognition of teacher licensure credits for time served in an accredited private school.

For more information about CCA, visit www.cornerstoneabingdon.org.

-end-

For more information, contact Dr. Clay Brinson,
head of school, at (276) 623-7164.

Regional District Attorneys General Outline $2.4 Billion Opioid Recovery Plan

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A cache of reports compiled by expert witnesses in the upcoming May 2020 Sullivan Baby Doe trial will be released, following a push by regional district attorneys general (DAGs) to make the documents public.

The documents, previously filed under seal, outline a $2.4 billion plan by DAGs to help counter the adverse and far-reaching effects of East Tennessee’s opioid crisis. The plan and its estimated cost was developed under the guidance of multiple industry experts, including Scott Hemphill, J.D., Ph.D., who grew up in Johnson City, Tennessee, and now serves as the Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law at New York University’s School of Law.

“The amount we are seeking from these opioid producers and distributors is only a fraction of what we have lost in dealing with the problems they created,” says Barry Staubus, district attorney general for Tennessee’s Second Judicial District.

The DAGs plan spans a 15-year period and focuses on support for area law enforcement, a comprehensive treatment system for opioid use disorder (OUD) that includes inpatient and outpatient services, and support services for mothers with OUD and their children. Additional elements address the use of drug courts and therapeutic communities within the jail system to help reduce overcrowding, increased screening for disease, medical monitoring and support for mothers of infants with NAS, and treatment and support for children whose parents or primary caregivers suffer from OUD.

More than 7,000 grandparents in the nine East Tennessee counties represented in the suit have primary custody of their grandchildren, a phenomenon that local officials attribute largely to parental use of opioids.

Other notable facts resulting from the reports include:

  • the disproportionate effect of the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, and particularly in the nine counties represented in the suit, with a rate of 237.5 prescriptions per 100 people filled in Sullivan County in 2010, compared to the national rate of 81.2 prescriptions per 100 people during the same period;
  • a corresponding rate of overdose deaths due to opioids, with a rate of 19.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 people (or 1,268 deaths) recorded in the nine counties in 2017, compared to the overall U.S. rate of 14.9 deaths per 100,000 people; and
  • a higher incidence rate of NAS in the nine counties, with 41 cases per 1,000 live births (or 198 infants) recorded in 2018, compared to the Tennessee average of 11 cases per 1,000 live births.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have to bear the cost of cleaning up this opioid catastrophe,” Staubus says. “Our plan will bring much-needed relief to the first responders, teachers, healthcare workers, grandparents, parents and others who are working to address this crisis in our communities.”

The multiple documents made public Thursday include reports from:

  • C. Scott Hemphill, J.D., Ph.D., a graduate of Stanford, Harvard and the London School of Economics who currently serves as the Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law at New York University’s School of Law;
  • Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D., retired co-director of UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, professor emeritus at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and research professor, Center for Behavior and Health, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont;
  • Joel S. Koenig, M.D., former chief of Pediatrics at Missouri Baptist Medical Center;
  • David M. Stern, M.D., Ph.D., former vice-chancellor for Health Affairs for Statewide Initiatives, former executive dean and vice-chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and former Gerald and Janet Carrus endowed professor at Columbia; and
  • Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Public Health and former chief medical officer for the New York State Office of Mental Health.

The Sullivan Baby Doe suit is currently scheduled to go to trial Monday, May 18, 2020, in Sullivan County Circuit Court in Bristol, Tennessee.

Originally, the suit listed prescription opioid producers Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company; Mallinckrodt LLC; Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as producer defendants. Since then, Purdue Pharma has declared bankruptcy as part of a nationwide attempt to settle thousands of suits that followed Baby Doe’s lead. Mallinckrodt and Endo remain active defendants.

For additional facts and information surrounding this issue, visit www.sullivanbabydoe.com.

-end-

King University Honors More than 250 December Graduates

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 14, 2019 — More than 250 graduates attaining degrees at the associate, bachelor, master and doctoral levels were recognized during King University’s winter commencement ceremony today at Viking Hall.

Following longtime King tradition, graduates entered the ceremony in a bagpipe procession, led by piper Greyson Bledsoe. As part of the program, King Chaplain Brian Alderman, Ph.D., presented the invocation, and Jason Abernathy ’19, a graduate of King’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work, read scripture from Psalm 91.

Katherine Vande Brake, Ph.D., a distinguished career educator who served for nearly four decades at King, journeyed to campus from Michigan to honor and encourage graduates. In her presentation, entitled “I Know the Plans,” she expounded on the many intriguing pathways available to graduates as they grow, personally and professionally.

“God does have a plan for our lives,” said Vande Brake. “He works it out in spite of our missteps, and sometimes passionate desires.”

Vande Brake, who retired from King in 2017, was also recognized for her own accomplishments and service as the University honored her as professor emerita.

“Dr. Vande Brake’s work, from her creation of our English as a Second Language program to her careful cultivation and stewardship of our core academic program, significantly shaped the history and path of King,” said President Alexander Whitaker. “Her legacy continues to define the rigorous academic expectations we have for our students and faculty, and we are honored to name her professor emerita.”

In her 38-year career with King, Vande Brake served the University in a number of roles, most recently as the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Dean for Academic Programs. She is the author of two books, “How They Shine” and “Through the Back Door,” both of which focus on the history of the Melungeons in Appalachia.

###

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

King University’s Social Work Program Attracts National Honors

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 13, 2019 — Four years ago, King University took on the tall order of establishing a degree program that would seek to benefit human well-being and human rights, affirm the dignity and worth of others, and work to empower the vulnerable and oppressed in society.

Today, King’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is educating scholars to do just that — and garnering attention for its results. Since its inception, students and alumni in the program have received a number of scholarships and awards on the national, state, and local levels, and the program itself has collected a national service award and has twice been ranked among the nation’s best social work programs.

“The central framework of our program is one that embraces a service orientation,” said Jodi Helbert, Ph.D., assistant professor and the founding program coordinator of the social work program in King’s School of Health and Professional Sciences. “Our faculty keep in mind that everything in the program must be Christ-centered, student-focused, and aligned with established ethical codes. In this environment, our students quickly learn the importance and rewards of shifting their thinking from the idea of ‘serve us’ to ‘service,’ and it’s quite gratifying to see them being broadly recognized for their achievements — especially since we know that for each of those accolades, there are many people in the community who will be assisted in an ethical and effective way.”

Graduates can choose from a range of career options, including legal and medical work, addictions counseling, victim advocacy, child welfare, school social work, policy analysis, and more. Courses are available both in the classroom and online — a feature that is currently being utilized by students across the US and from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago and Germany.

“This is a relatively new degree program, but one that’s centrally aligned with our mission of producing graduates who excel as thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible citizens with a passion for serving God, the Church, and the world,” said Matt Roberts, Ed.D., provost of King. “We’re proud to say that, in addition to a steady climb in program enrollment, our graduates have a 100% pass rate for licensure, to date.”

Student and alumni honorees include:

Bobby Flowers ’17, who won first place in the national Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship for his strategic plan addressing the issue of homelessness;

Arielle Holloway ‘20, who won first place in the national Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship for her work addressing toxic sports cultures and their impact on elite-level student athletes;

Jason Abernathy ‘19, who won the National BSW Student Leadership Scholarship and was also recognized as the 2019 BSW Student of the Year for the state of Tennessee;

Karren Bennett ’17 and Heather Parker ’19, both of whom won the regional M. Jeffrey Byrd Award, and;

Darrell Smith ’19, who won the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award.

Additionally, King’s social work program won first-place distinction in the Phi Alpha National Humanitarian Service Award, and is now ranked No. 11 for best online BSW degrees by Best Online Programs, the second such year it has been scored among the top programs in the nation. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

“We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal in this program in a relatively short span of time,” Helbert said. “Not only is this degree an investment in the personal and professional lives of our students, it’s a commitment to the well-being of society, and we look forward to seeing the long-term impacts of our wonderful students, who are indeed changing the world for the better.”

For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu, and for information specific to the BSW, visit https://online.king.edu/online-degree-programs/bsw-bachelor-of-social-work/.

###

King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

BRHA Awarded More Than $130,000 to Assist Disabled Residents

BRISTOL, Va. — The Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority (BRHA) has been awarded $131,000 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help support an estimated 30 non-elderly, disabled individuals and their families seeking affordable housing in Bristol, Virginia.

The funds, provided through HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, are part of an overall $131.3 million recently awarded by HUD to 325 local public housing authorities across the country.

“This program is designed to help residents with disabilities gain increasing independence and live in an integrated setting,” says Lisa Porter, BRHA’s executive director and CEO. “This year was the first time BRHA applied for funds under this program, and we’re delighted to be able to provide increased assistance to individuals and families as they seek quality housing that supports their needs.”

Under the program, approved residents can search for rental housing in the private market and receive assistance for monthly rent costs. Evaluation for the available vouchers will begin with BRHA’s existing wait list and candidates from the organization’s partner agencies, including Highlands Community Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Leasing through the program is expected to begin in July 2020.

“The period for this grant is one year, and depending on our success with the program, hopefully it will be renewed in 2020,” Porter says. “We are always searching for new ways and resources to help meet the housing needs of residents in Bristol, and these dedicated funds will allow us to support disabled residents, while also freeing up resources for other key groups that we serve, including the elderly.”

Established in 1938, BRHA is the largest provider of affordable rental housing in Bristol, and has been instrumental in transforming neighborhoods and assisting in the city’s revitalization efforts. For more information, visit www.brha.com.

About BRHA

Located at 809 Edmond St., BRHA is the designated public housing agency in the city of Bristol, Virginia. It is the second-oldest such authority in Virginia, having been founded in 1938 and housing 40 percent of low-income renter families in Bristol. Its mission is to provide safe, attractive, affordable housing and housing assistance, and the opportunity for families and individuals to achieve a higher standard of living. BRHA (www.brha.com) is governed by a five-member board of commissioners that is appointed by the mayor of Bristol, Virginia. The staff is comprised of an executive director and 27 employees. BRHA is a member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (www.nahro.org).

###

For more information, contact Lisa Porter,
executive director/CEO, BRHA, at 276-821-6251

Cornerstone Christian Academy Assembles 200 Shoeboxes in Annual Support of Operation Christmas Child

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 3, 2019

ABINGDON, Va. ― Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) continued the school’s annual tradition this Christmas season by holding a packing party and assembling 200 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization.

Beginning in September, CCA students donated shoebox items that included hygiene products, school supplies and small toys. The boxes will be shipped to children outside the United States who have been affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease, as well as children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

“We love supporting this ministry because it gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel message with children throughout the world,” says Sharon Bolling, school counselor at CCA. “All the items that were brought in for this project came from CCA students, from junior kindergarten through our seniors, and it’s incredibly meaningful to see our student body actively giving and sharing with others during the Christmas season and beyond.”

Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Students from Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) participate in the school’s packing party by assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoeboxes to nearly 170 million children in more than 100 countries.

Located in Abingdon, CCA is a classical, non-denominational Christian school serving students in junior kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2016, CCA received a five-year accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) for grades K-12. ACSI is one of 14 associations with accreditation processes that have been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) and recognized by the Virginia Board of Education. Accreditation through a VCPE-approved, state-recognized accrediting member guarantees the transfer of student-earned credits from a private school to a public school, and ensures recognition of teacher licensure credits for time served in an accredited private school.

For more information about CCA, visit www.cornerstoneabingdon.org.

-end-

For more information, contact Dr. Clay Brinson,
head of school, at (276) 623-7164.