Freedom First & Carilion Support TAP Students

Trying to turn your life around is hard work. The students in TAP’s youth programs are doing that work every day—some of them have been doing it while fighting hunger, too.

Not a Choice, a Situation

“Some of our students don’t eat at home, not because they don’t want to eat, and not because mom doesn’t want to provide,” says Rob Wormley, mentor coordinator and recruiter for our youth programs. “But if you’ve got a bill to pay or need gas to get to work, and you provided dinner last night, sometimes you don’t have money to provide the next dinner. It’s not a choice, it’s a situation.”

Now, thanks to two recent donations from Freedom First Credit Union and Carilion, TAP students won’t be caught in that situation.

Dave Prosser from Freedom First and Sonya Charlow from Carilion were recently in a meeting where a TAP staff member shared the students’ difficulty. Both of them immediately responded to the need, asking their organizations to commit funds to help us provide healthy meals and snacks for the students so they’ll be able to focus on their work without worrying about their next meal.

“The students are trying to do better in life and learn trades,” said Sonya. “You have to be sharp in order to learn, and to be sharp you can’t be hungry. We want the students to be able to focus and have a comfort level of knowing they can have lunch or have a snack while taking on these courses and training.”

“There is certainly a need to feed the students,” echoed Dave, “and not sufficient funding at this point to address this need. Our youth and our children are our greatest asset, and we need to support them in any way we can, especially those who are coming from challenges. It’s not just an issue for TAP or the school system, but an issue for all of us stakeholders to invest in, because when our youth thrive, we all thrive as a community.”

Helping Youth Thrive

Helping all of our youth to thrive is central to TAP’s mission. The impact of these donations will help the students today to focus and improve in their classes. But, as Rob puts it, “the impact won’t happen all in one day or one month or even one year.” For the students, being able to participate in our programs and do so on a full stomach is a gift with an impact that will be realized over time as they progress and move on to successful careers. 

Get Involved

To find out how you could be a mentor, call 540-613-0048.