The Business Education Partnership between Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) –Jacksonville and Lafayette Academy continues to grow with each year of their affiliation. The purpose of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce’s education division partnership program is to promote business involvement and volunteerism in local schools. It also encourages businesses and schools to work together to assure a positive educational environment. Both institutions have benefitted from the partnership in their respective locations and out to the community.
The annual Diaper Bags to Backpacks event is held at LLCC-Jacksonville on the Square each spring and serves upwards of 300 individuals in the Jacksonville community. It is an entirely volunteer-run program and Lafayette Academy students have assisted by donating their time to set up booths, move furniture and assemble packets. The LLCC student activity group has participated in various community service projects to raise funds for Bowl for Kid’s Sake to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Students from Lafayette Academy have helped with several of the fundraising efforts and the LLCC student group is grateful for their assistance.
The LLCC student group also hosts a Multicultural Fest each fall semester and this year students from both schools enjoyed guest speaker Terry Ransom’s presentation on the Underground Railroad and entertainment by musician Robert Sampson. Illinois College (IC) professor Mioka Webster and several IC students provided instruction on origami folding while LLCC students taught the art of making Mexican tissue flowers. The celebration of diversity also involved a large variety of food from many cultures which was enjoyed by all.
Students from both schools gathered together again in January for presentations on suicide prevention by Passavant Hospital’s Pravesh Basnet, a doctor of psychiatry, and William Loveland. The presentations were also open to the community in response to the recent increase in suicides, especially of young people, in the Jacksonville area.
Additional education opportunities that have been shared included a trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield to celebrate the anniversary of the birthday of our 16th president and also financial aid workshops. These included instruction on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online and other types of financial assistance available to students intending to enroll in technical school or college after graduation from high school.
Lafayette Academy and LLCC-Jacksonville have created a partnership that provides opportunities and growth for students. We share resources in order to promote education, social responsibility and community involvement for each student, all in effort to enhance the learning experience. We will continue to explore opportunities for the expansion of our partnership and the growth of our students and community.