Spotlight on a Founder Hero | Greg Campbell
WE NEED A LAWYER was the cry of several as the idea of VICCC fermented in 2003. The group didn’t want just any lawyer, instead they wanted one who cared about children, the need for childcare in the community, and the community of Blacksburg itself. The name that resounded was Greg Campbell. After Blacksburg Presbyterian’s Barbara Michelsen tipped off her fellow church member that a new idea was afoot, Greg met with the initial founders and steered them through the legal necessities involved with incorporation and the setting up VICCC’s responsibilities and liabilities. When offered payment for his time, Greg generously not only gave his legal time, but agreed to be on the VICCC board as soon as it
was constituted. Greg then became the first Vice President followed by a two-year term as President. He has since served continuously on the finance committee, gladly rejoicing in VICCC’s now solid financial status. He also graciously year after year facilitates the contribution of the parking places at his office for VICCC to sell for football parking for Virginia Tech games.
Greg remembers that everyone was excited about VICCC in its beginning. Yet, there was an edge of financial insecurity since the inception was backed by only $2,000 about 19 years ago. As Greg noted, “If anyone involved had possessed business experience, they would have warned against such a chancy endeavor!” Reminiscing about those early days, he recalled the VICCC Board wasn’t sure how many more months they could make payroll. Yet, he almost remembers the group solemnly declaring, “We cannot fail. Failure is just not an option.” So, everyone pitched in and everyone was needed. Greg remembers the efforts of Jeanne and Dave Roper, Elizabeth Foster, and the original committee, but also that they drew upon the help of the irrepressible contagious spirit of T. O. Williams, a former Virginia Tech development officer, who recruited folks and money with the saying, “Mamas can’t work without daycare."
Greg sees taking care of children as a high calling. He sees VICCC as an important investment in the future as the childcare there focuses on providing a place where children are developed and learn. Applauding VICCC for its efforts in appreciating staff monetarily and emotionally, Greg believes childcare generally should be better compensated and appreciated.
Along with all he has done for VICCC, he has made an important contribution for over 30 years as the treasurer for the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, known for the many charities it sponsors. During the Pandemic, Greg devoted time to his hobby of family history, completing a book, A Century in Centerville, Vermont, focused on the history of 18 of his ancestors who lived there for over 100 years. VICCC salutes Greg for his continued devotion to its success and to his efforts to ensure Blacksburg and
the New River Valley are a good place for all children to thrive. He is a hero to everyone at VICCC.
In Loving Memory | Bob Schulman Bequest
We are excited to announce that VICCC added an Arts Program to the existing
curriculum as of August 2022. Last spring Debby Hix, long-time friend and supporter of VICCC, announced to the board that her lately deceased husband, Bob Schulman, had left a generous bequest to the center. Bob and Debby’s hope is that these funds would be used to enrich the lives of our children beyond what we have thus far been able to provide.
In the last few years, educators have realized that the STEM philosophy of education...
promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics...was missing a critical element, art---fine arts, music and movement. Research has shown music and music making promote brain development, language, emotional well-being, motor and social skills. Similarly, the fine arts benefit child development by providing opportunities for creativity and building self- esteem.
In acknowledgment of the importance of these disciplines to the development of the
whole child and to their approach to the sciences, ‘art’ was added to the STEM programs, hence STEAM was born. In light of this research, and what many of us knew to be true all along, we determined we needed to provide our children with more purposeful music and art programs.
We looked into a several music programs and decided the Musikgarten
curriculum would best serve the needs of our children. The philosophy of Musikgarten states: Music is for all children and that all children are musical. The creators of the curriculum believe all children are born with an inner sense of rhythm and pitch. Through singing, movement, poetry, story and rhythm instruments children develop a love of music, an outlet for energy and emotion and opportunities for creativity. As children grow in the program they are introduced to a musical vocabulary and develop a lifelong relationship with the music.
Over the last several weeks, Sarah Gilmore, who has been singing with the children for a
couple of years already, and I have taken the courses required for licensing as Musikgarten
teachers. The training is thorough and the materials are well thought-out and organized. Sarah has already begun to try out some of the songs and rhythm patterns, and the children are loving it.
The Musikgarten classes are designed for parent and child, but we are adapting them
for our situation at VICCC. The classroom teachers will fill in for the parent and caregiver, and our parents will be given recordings of the music to play and enjoy with their children. In addition to the music program, I have also been designing a more purposeful art program. The goal of the art program is to provide experiences with a wide variety of media, introduce language to talk about art, develop their observational skills, building self-esteem and confidence to express themselves. With that in mind we will be emphasizing process and play over product.
By restoring the rightful place of art and music to children’s lives, students are given
opportunities to be creative, become more confident, to think critically and provides a foundation on which children can build academically. Obviously, we would like this program to continue into the future. Bob’s generous gift is enabling us to train and purchase materials for the parents as well as the school. If you would like to contribute to sustaining these programs, we would be most grateful.
Elizabeth Foster, Creative Director
Notes From The Director
The leaves have just started to turn colors and the air is crisp this morning. The children are painting using cars to run back and forth on the paper. The babies are singing with the Music Garten teacher leading them. The preschool children are going outside this afternoon to help plant new flowers in the garden. This is a good day at school. Our children are growing and learning so quickly. We strive to have different experiences for them each day. We hope to see them grow like the flowers they are helping to plant. We are celebrating 19 years on the 17th of this month. Nineteen years ago we had a vision and one little girl. We also had a community to support our mission in so many ways. Jeanne Roper and Elizabeth Foster, our founders, often say that they had no idea what was involved in creating and maintaining a childcare center. If they had, they would probably have paused. But instead they charged forward to create a place where flowers grow and children smile and parents go to work knowing that their children are cared for and educated and safe. You are a part of that community and we are so thankful for that.We are thankful for the 19 years that we have stumbled and struggled; and learned and adapted; and cared for, cried with, and laughed with the wonderful children and families in our care. Here’s to 19 more.