Campaign Update: Bringing Hope Home

We have just reached the end of our second Bringing Hope Home campaign to raise annual support for TAP. As we look back on the year, we have one thing to say: thank you!

Outpouring of Support

This year, we set an initial goal of $200,000 for Bringing Hope Home. During this challenging time, when many people have been struggling financially in the wake of COVID-19, we received an outpouring of support from generous individuals and businesses. The community surpassed our goal repeatedly.

Another Difficult Year

Ordinarily, TAP focuses on removing barriers to economic and personal independence by providing job training, childcare, and other services. This year, we provided not only our traditional services and those we created in response to urgent needs during the pandemic, but we began developing new ones with an eye toward the community’s long-term recovery needs. Without your donations, we could not have met the staggering needs of thousands of families in our community.    

You Make the Difference

Look for more details in our coming annual report about the impact you helped to make possible. In the meantime, know that your support truly made a difference in the lives of local families in need.

Thank you to everyone who has donated money or time to TAP over the past year. Together, we can continue to create pathways for low-income families in our community to live stable, full lives.

Finding a Path Forward with Job Training

It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ann Ellis found herself unemployed and unprepared for the workplace. Caring for her daughter kept her busy, and she wasn’t sure how she could juggle work or job training on top of being a parent.

But after learning about TAP and our SwiftStart program, Ann began to see a path forward. “TAP just opened up the door for me,” she says. “It was the right recipe for me to reconnect and get started.”

A Helping Hand

Job training was what initially drew Ann to TAP, but we were able to help her and her daughter with other challenges, too. Ann ultimately connected with several programs at TAP, which provided her with critical supports as she worked through our Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) training. She recalls that receiving housing support from our HELP coordinator, Hannah, was especially impactful, as it provided the stability necessary for her to focus on her studies.

Ann explained that Hannah went the extra mile to provide the tools she needed to become established in her new apartment. “It was a tremendous help, and the help has not ceased,” she says.

One Foot in Front of the Other

Balancing work and life during the CCMA course was challenging, as Ann knew it would be. She felt the pressure of raising her daughter while taking classes herself. Ann knew she had to prioritize her education. “I had to get this job so that we could keep our heads above water,” Ann explains.

Reflecting on her time in the CCMA program at TAP, Ann says, “I didn’t know how tough I was until I took that course.” She didn’t know how she would do it, but she was determined to complete the course. When things got hard, Ann’s SwiftStart mentor, Jennifer, encouraged her to come up with solutions rather than excuses. “All I had to do is put one foot in front of the other, and that’s exactly what I did,” Ann reflects.

She completed the TAP CCMA program in December and gained employment at Carilion Clinic soon after. She now works in a competitive position with Carilion General Surgery where she’s challenging herself and learning new skills daily.

Paying it Forward

With these resources and experiences from TAP under her belt, Ann’s next goal is to pay it forward. She says, “I want to transition from being the person seeking and needing help to the person who can actually be help. Instead of being the receiver, I’ll be the giver.”

Ann’s advice to other individuals interested in TAP’s programs is to keep moving forward; “…to not give up on yourself, and to thank God first,” she says. Ann reminds others not to feel ashamed of falling down. “There are resources set in place to help you, and all you’ve got to do is go after them.”

Starting Again with Job Training

Laura Richardson had a tough couple of years. While dealing with health issues, she lost both her medical assistant certification and her job. Her path to recertification became more difficult when local programs turned her down, but Laura didn’t give up. “I was determined to get back in the medical field,” she says. “I didn’t let my health problems hold me down.” Things started looking up when a friend at church told her about TAP’s CareerForge program.

Laura’s Path

In partnership with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, CareerForge trains adults in the Appalachian region for new careers. It offers certifications for nursing assistants, phlebotomists, and truck drivers. TAP’s career mentors offer guidance and support to CareerForge clients.

Eager to stay in the medical field, Laura chose to pursue a phlebotomy certification. Her career mentor, Katrina Caul, played a key role in getting Laura enrolled in the course.  “Katrina was very helpful. If she can’t help you, she’ll find somebody that can.”

Katrina’s encouragement also buoyed Laura during her time in CareerForge. Laura admits the program was challenging, but her determination and faith pushed her through. “My mom always taught me to keep my head up and keep pushing forward. Not to let anything hold you back.”

Pursuing Her Goals

Katrina remembers that Laura was determined to finish her certification and get back to doing what she loved. She studied hard, did well in class, and had clear goals.

Once she got her phlebotomy certification, Laura began her job search but found she lacked confidence in her interviewing skills. After practicing in mock interviews with Katrina, her renewed confidence landed her two job offers. She accepted a position as a patient care technician at a kidney care center.

But Laura didn’t stop there. While working her new job, she earned a certificate in dialysis. She plans to take her state board tests to become a certified dialysis technician later this year.

Encouraging Others

Laura is grateful for the program and for Katrina in particular. In fact, she was so pleased with the program that she encouraged her daughter to enroll. Her daughter is studying to earn her phlebotomy certification and wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Laura’s advice to others? “You’re never too old to learn. If you have the mindset to do it, you can do it. Don’t let your age hold you back.”

Cabell Brand: A Lifetime of Hope and Hard Work

Cabell Brand was a force. He served his country in World War II. He saved his family’s business. He championed civil rights and worked tirelessly to fight for those trapped in poverty. He counted governors and senators among close friends. He is the reason that TAP exists today.

Shifting Worldview

Cabell grew up in a highly conservative, wealthy family in Salem, Virginia. Upon his graduation from Andrew Lewis High School in 1940, he decided to become the next in his family’s long line of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) graduates. It was during his time at VMI that he began to pay close attention to society’s injustices.

Liza Urso, Cabell’s stepdaughter, recalls a story he often told of being a young man and bringing a Black friend home to spend the night while he was passing through town. “Cabell was so surprised, aghast, and confused at his father’s violent, racist reaction, when Cabell had never thought of his friend as being any different…that really opened Cabell’s eyes, mind, and heart to the disparate opportunities of certain segments of the population,” she explains. 

During his first year at VMI, Cabell was called to Germany to serve in World War II. Following the war and his eventual graduation from VMI, Cabell returned to Europe to help implement the Marshall Plan. That experience spurred his life-long penchant for public service. “When he was in the war he was seeing the devastation. He was seeing the poverty and the homelessness that the war triggered. It just sort of opened his eyes to how lucky he was and how sheltered he’d been,” says Caroline Brand, Cabell’s daughter.

No Challenge Too Big

While in Europe, Cabell learned of another struggle taking place back home. His family’s shoe business, founded by his grandfather in 1904, was on the verge of collapse. Never one to back down from a fight, Cabell returned home and got to work. The soon-to-be Stuart McGuire Company became a booming business, with Cabell as its president.

Cabell’s work as a businessman allowed him to control his schedule, giving him the freedom to pursue his calling to fight poverty and injustice. “He believed that society was only as strong as its weakest member. We couldn’t really consider ourselves successful until we were all given the same opportunity and the same access to that opportunity. You have to level the playing field and then it’s fair,” explains Caroline.

Liza adds, “There are two main guidelines that he lived by. First, everybody is equal. The color of one’s skin or the size of one’s bank account or home has nothing to do with what kind of person someone is. Everyone deserves to be treated equally and with great respect. Second, those who have more opportunities have an obligation to help those who don’t have those opportunities.”

When President Lyndon Johnson announced his War on Poverty and accompanying Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Cabell seized the chance to bring real, lasting change to the Roanoke Valley. The EOA provided federal funding for the creation of Community Action Agencies, designed to fight poverty at the local level. “When the Economic Opportunity Act was passed, I believe it spoke to these feelings and thoughts which had been concerning Cabell for 20 or more years, and he saw an opportunity to make a difference,” explains Liza. Cabell and his wife, Shirley, who was pregnant at the time, agreed that he would take six months off from Stuart McGuire to pursue this funding for their community.

It wasn’t an easy task. In fact, Cabell faced pushback nearly every step of the way. “You know, it’s hard to stand up in the Roanoke Valley in the 60s and say ‘I’m going to start this Community Action Agency to help underprivileged people,’ meanwhile people are burning crosses on his lawn,” explains Caroline.

But, yet again, Cabell persisted in the face of adversity. “His philosophy was don’t worry about what people think about you or what people say about you if you’re doing the right thing… If you’re doing the right thing then hold your head up high and go forward with it. Don’t let your naysayers hold you back,” says Liza.

Cabell studied the EOA’s provisions, and in 1965 he was able to use his considerable business and political connections to apply for federal funding and form a nonprofit Community Action Agency. Thus, TAP was chartered as the official anti-poverty agency in the Roanoke Valley, and the rest is history.

A Lasting Legacy

TAP’s first order of business was opening a Head Start program, which created the first integrated classrooms in the Roanoke Valley. With the help of Cabell’s leadership, TAP quickly grew to offer additional services in housing, job training, and more—an impact that is still felt today. “It’s cool to see that all that work he did is still paying off. He started something that has legs and longevity, and it’s really, truly making an impact,” notes Caroline.

Of course, Cabell didn’t stop with the Roanoke Valley. He helped turn several TAP programs into statewide organizations. He was instrumental in VMI’s decision to allow Black students into his alma mater. He even traveled to more than 100 countries and did consulting work with the United Nations. As Caroline puts it, “No challenge was ever too big for him… He always figured out a way or found the people to figure out how to make the problem solvable.”

Honoring Cabell Brand

TAP is proud to honor Cabell’s legacy by presenting the Cabell Brand Hope Award. Each year, the award is given to a member of the community who shares in Cabell’s relentless pursuit of social change and work for the common good.

“People who receive this award need to feel that there’s always something else to do to help somebody else. There’s always another step and another thing on the list. They need to have that kind of vision and be forward thinking,” says Caroline.

We are currently accepting nominations from the community for this award. For more information or to submit a nomination click below.

Mentoring Can Make the Difference

Some of Fred Rogers’ most well-known advice for young kids is to “look for the helpers” when they feel overwhelmed. And these days, after the turmoil and social disconnection of the last several years, kids can’t have enough helpers to turn to. If you’d like to become a helper in your community, now is the perfect time to start, as TAP is recruiting mentors for our youth programs. Mentoring young people is one of the easiest ways to get involved—and make a big difference.

CAN WE PREVENT VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY?

The risks can be high for young people coming of age in the current environment. The City of Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission recently published the “Roanoke Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment – Final Report.” The findings suggest a climate of unease and show a shared sense that violence is rising.

Digging into the assessment is revealing. Although a low number of youth/student respondents indicated they are in gangs, those who are cited social motivations as reasons for joining. Other commonly cited reasons were “to make money,” “for protection,” and “for fun.” As the assessment notes on page nine, “Gang culture for these participants provides both emotional and material fulfillment.” Knowing this, we must envision non-violent ways to offer young people the same kinds of connections for social support, fun activities, and avenues to good jobs.

And the youth themselves said as much. When asked what they thought was the best way to prevent violence and gang activity, their top responses were “more jobs for young people,” “more activities for youth to do after school,” and “free individual counseling at schools or community agencies.” Interestingly, both community members and community leaders cited mentoring as one of their top solutions to reduce gang problems in the community. In fact, it was the most common solution cited after “increased parenting time,” and “more jobs for young people.”

HOW DOES TAP HELP?

Our Housing and Human Services component supports people who have experienced trauma, including many types of violence. Working with trauma survivors, we’ve learned that one-on-one mentoring and group mentoring can be huge assets when people want to change their lives. We know mentoring can’t replace parents or create jobs out of thin air. However, it increases social connections and expands support networks, which can help youth emotionally, developmentally, and professionally. Nicole Ross, TAP’s family mentor coordinator, has worked in the mentoring field since 2011. In her experience, a mentor “can give young people the support they’re lacking” at a critical moment. This is true no matter the focus of the activity.

When asked what makes a good mentor, Ms. Nicole—as the kids call her—is quick to point out that it’s not professional skills or expertise that makes a good mentor. “First thing is a passion for young people—to step into their life and make a difference. You need to be a good listener and have patience,” she says. “But most of all, just having a good spirit.” She says showing up consistently is one of the most important traits a mentor can have.

MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

If you think you might make a good mentor, please consider sharing your time with the community. We’re recruiting group mentors for our summer activities, which range from arts and crafts sessions to STEM activities and beyond.

“If you can commit to spending quality time, and follow through, you’ll make a great mentor,” Ms. Nicole says.

You can make a difference in your community, and in the lives of your young neighbors. We can help you take the next step. To learn more, donate time, or help fund activities, contact Nicole Ross at 540.354.2212 or Nicole.ross@nulltapintohope.org.

Supporter Spotlight: Larry Davidson and Janice Dinkins-Davidson

Larry Davidson and Janice Dinkins-Davidson are a dynamic husband-and-wife duo with a shared drive to make deep connections and lasting impact in the community. Each is woven deeply into the fabric of Roanoke in a distinct and unique way. Janice is the executive director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia (CACVA), a Roanoke-based statewide child abuse intervention organization; Larry is the owner and president of Davidsons, a men’s clothier.

“It’s in my DNA”

Larry’s grandfather, Joe, established Davidsons in 1910 in the heart of downtown Roanoke. According to Davidsons’ website, Joe believed that “customers were community” and he emphasized relationships over sales. Joe’s approach, the website goes on to say, “was a natural result of his bedrock conviction that if one expects support from the community, one must offer a sincere investment into that community.”

Subsequent generations of the Davidson family took that belief to heart. Larry is the third generation of his family—after his grandfather and his father, Sig—to operate Davidsons. You could say that community service is a Davidson family value.

Or, as Larry puts it:  “It’s in my DNA.”

Larry’s dedication to the community extends beyond Davidsons’ doors. Like his father, Larry has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including those of Center in the Square, United Way of Roanoke Valley, and Trust House (now known as ARCH Services), and supported other nonprofits, including TAP, in different ways.

A leader in child abuse prevention

Janice, too, has developed deep community connections through her work in nonprofits and child abuse prevention over the past twenty-plus years.

She began as a volunteer at Trust House (now ARCH Services), then transitioned to a full-time employee. She left Trust House to join Children’s Trust, where she served as executive director for 17 years. During her tenure there, she began her work with the Child Advocacy Center of Roanoke, successfully merged the Court Appointed Special Advocates program into Children’s Trust, and expanded services at Children’s Trust. Now directing Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia, her work has been critical in addressing child abuse in southwest Virginia.

According to Janice, “It’s here and it’s not going away, as much as we’d like it to. But children are better served now than they have ever been.”

Additionally, Janice has worked closely with TAP’s Domestic Violence Services (DVS). Stacey Sheppard, director of DVS programs, refers families in need to CACVA. In return, CACVA refers families in need to TAP. Stacey notes, “If it had not been for Janice, the Roanoke CACVA would have never started… She is an absolute angel to ensure that children have safe environments.”

Shared Beliefs and Deeply Personal Connections

Janice and Larry’s support of TAP also reflects a deeply personal connection to the organization. They enjoyed a close, decades-long friendship with Owen Schultz, the former director of TAP’s Planning Department. Among their shared beliefs was the need to work to leave their community a better place than they found it. After Owen’s death in 2016, Larry and Janice continued to support TAP as a way of honoring their friend’s legacy.

Larry Davidson and Janice Dinkins-Davidson remain committed to leaving their community better than they found it. As Janice notes, serving the community is “the rent I pay to live on the planet.”

Wells Fargo: A Bank with a Mission

Wells Fargo is committed to supporting a healthier financial future for all. “Through our businesses and the Wells Fargo Foundation, we align our resources and expertise to make a positive impact in communities, address complex societal issues, and help build a more inclusive, sustainable future for all,” says Juan Austin, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Foundation.

Impact on the Local Front

Wells Fargo makes it a point to support nonprofits that provide solutions to societal barriers, including TAP. “We support our communities through local grants to local nonprofits that align with our four strategic focus areas: financial health, housing affordability, small business growth, and sustainability and environmental justice,” explains Juan. Most particularly, he says, the bank prioritizes programming that supports “low- to moderate-income communities, addressing racial and social equity, and accelerating an inclusive economy.”

In addition to being one of our Bringing Hope Home campaign’s Hope Sponsors, Wells Fargo has supported several of our programs. The bank provided grant funds to Business Seed, which assists entrepreneurs who want to start and manage a small business. It also helped fund our annual free Tax Clinic, and partners with our Housing Counseling program for first-time homebuyers. “They have been instrumental in helping our Financial Services department achieve life-changing results for individuals in our community,” states Curtis Thompson, Vice President of Financial Services.

In Tune with Communities

Recent years have been difficult for communities across the country. Wells Fargo listened to the hardships faced by its customers and worked to lend a helping hand. It partnered with Feeding America to provide 82 million meals, committed $420 million to bolster small businesses through its Open for Business Fund, and donated more than $80 million to support housing initiatives and eviction mitigation.

Wells Fargo believes in finding solutions and knows the importance of engaging with the communities they serve. We’re grateful for partners like them who lead with empathy, kindness, and compassion to help those in underserved communities achieve economic empowerment. That is a mission we can all believe in.

A Thank You from Sabrina’s Place

Sabrina’s Place, created in 2007, provides a safe space for custody exchanges and visitations. The program is in downtown Roanoke, housed in the same building since its inception. Unexpectedly, the program’s federal funding ended in 2016. The building’s owners, Cooper Youell and Scott Graeff, graciously allowed Sabrina’s Place to remain rent-free until other funding could be secured.

The property owners have also gone above and beyond to address maintenance issues and create a welcoming space for Sabrina’s Place families. Stacey Sheppard, director of TAP’s domestic violence services programs, states, “Our landlords have been diligent to fix any maintenance issues to ensure our families do not have an interruption in services.” Melody Robinson, Sabrina’s Place Program Manager, agrees. “They have been terrific and diligent at addressing … needs in the building, especially when it involves health and safety,” she says. This support from the property owners is crucial since the program cannot afford to pay for repairs on its own.

Cooper and Scott’s support of Sabrina Place has allowed the program to keep its doors open during hard times. Because of them, the only supervised visitation and safe exchange center in the region continues to serve families in need. From all of us at TAP, we thank them for their generosity and support.

For more information about how you can become a Sabrina’s Place supporter, please call (540) 777‑3799 or complete the contact form below.

Supervised Visitation Helps Kids Grow

Edward is passionate and outspoken about parenting. When he talks about his son, his face brightens and the love he has for his son is clear. There is also an unmistakable determination in how he talks about being a part of his son’s life—something he almost missed out on completely.

Instead, Sabrina’ Place gives parents a chance to show up. What Edward did with that chance was incredible. He used the supervised visitation and safe exchange services Sabrina’s Place offers as a place to start.

Edward’s son was born in 2018, but he and his son’s mother didn’t stay together.

By 2019 their relationship had become strained. She suggested that she would pursue full custody of their child, which could have meant Edward might not see his son again. The two went to court to settle the question of custody and visitation rights. There was, at that point, a very real chance that Edward would be cut out of his son’s life entirely.

The court suggested the option of supervised visitation while the custody process played out. Initially, the court ordered up to 24 hours a year of supervised visitation for Edward and suggested several supervised visitation programs. Sabrina’s Place was the only free program on the list, so Edward called and scheduled his first visit.

Somewhere to Start

Visitation is just the beginning, of course. It’s not the same as having time at home or taking your kid to the park.

It wasn’t as much time as Edward wanted. But, as he says, “It was a start. And Sabrina’s Place laid the foundation to let me go from 24 hours each year to where I am now, having custody every other weekend.”

Sabrina’s Place is, first and foremost, about safety. Edward appreciated that Sabrina’s Place takes some of the pressures off the visits, knowing that visits will be safe and free of any kind of confrontation. Parents don’t even have to negotiate the rules of the visit—the program takes on a lot of the logistical work. Sabrina’s Place allowed Edward to relax and focus on building a healthy relationship with his kid. “It’s the perfect place to start for any parent if you want to be in your kid’s life…it’s also a safe environment to focus on your child,” he says.

Being There and Being Part of Their Life

When asked about parenting in general, Edward is quick to point out two elements that he views as necessary. “First you need to show up,” he says. But he also believes that “you need to play your role—to be a parent.” Looking back at his first few years of fatherhood, he says, “I’m learning your child will always love you if you play your part. They’ll know their Daddy was there.” The national Supervised Visitation Network agrees. They suggest that “unless special circumstances exist, children generally fare best when they have the emotional and financial support and ongoing involvement of both parents.” Edward was ready to play the part fully, and Sabrina’s Place opened the door for him and his son to have that important relationship.

Melody Robinson, Sabrina’s Place Coordinator, says that Edward is a great example of what the program is there to do. She also acknowledges that the court process is complicated. Discouraged parents can stop trying to be part of their kids’ lives. “It was a big mountain Edward had to climb,” she says. “And he did it.”

“You gotta start somewhere,” Edward says. “And you can’t give up. You can’t force families to stay together, but you can put in the effort to be in your kid’s life.” Sabrina’s Place is there to help parents do just that, and take some of the uncertainty out of the process. This way, parents like Edward can focus on the most important part of their lives—their children.

Supporter Spotlight: Bank of Botetourt

For more than 122 years, Bank of Botetourt has been committed to caring for its community. “Bank of Botetourt has a culture that focuses on bridging the needs of the community with the resources of the bank to improve the quality of life for all residents in our service area,” states Mary Ann Miller, Vice President-Business Banking and Community Relations.

Why TAP

One way Bank of Botetourt strengthens the community is by donating to organizations that make a positive impact. The bank has been a TAP sponsor for the past two years. “TAP is a well-respected organization,” says Mary Ann, “and when TAP Board Member Billy Martin approached us to become an annual supporter, we quickly signed on. The bank is grateful for our partnership with TAP as we seek to assist, educate, and support those in our communities who may have nowhere else to turn.”

A Culture of Service  

In addition to giving back financially, Bank of Botetourt encourages and supports staff involvement in the community. “We serve on local boards, volunteer, and work hard every day to find ways to give back,” says Mary Ann. 

A particular point of pride for bank staff is the financial education they provide in local elementary schools through their KidsSave program. By teaching young people the importance of responsible spending and saving, they hope to provide students with the tools to succeed as they branch out into the world on their own.

Community Connection

When you ask Mary Ann, who grew up in Botetourt, what makes the bank’s community so special, she is quick to answer—the people. “As a community bank, our customers are like family to us. Many of us have known one another for most of our lives. In my job I am able to help those in need through the backing of exceptional financial services at Bank of Botetourt. That makes my job so rewarding.”

Start Your Spring Cleaning with TAP Books

Gearing up for your spring cleaning? Donate your used books to TAP Books and give them a second life!

TAP Books sells pre-owned books online and uses the profits to fund other TAP services. Not only does the program purchase wholesale used books, but it also relies heavily on community support. “Donations are the absolute lifeblood of the program,” says Chad Hill, the program’s coordinator.

More than just books

Preschool children reading

TAP Books sells more than books. It sells CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games too. “We can take any media except for VHS tapes. If people have old DVDs or video games, we’d love to take them off of their hands,” says Chad.

In terms of book donations, TAP Books takes almost anything.

“With every book that is given to us, there is an option for us to resell or recycle it and make profit,” Chad explains. “Obviously, we want new, good books that we can sell on Amazon and eBay, but even things that are old and in shreds can be sold by the pound to be recycled.”

Resell, Reuse, Recycle

By donating to TAP Books you’re supporting a program that gives old books new life and works for the greater good. Profits fuel other TAP programs, and books that can’t be sold are recycled to further extend their use.

TAP Books donation bin

Donating is easy—TAP Books has 24/7 donation bins stationed throughout the community. A list of drop-off locations can be found here.

With spring (and spring cleaning) just around the corner, now is the perfect time to go through your old collections and contribute to the TAP Books mission.

Three people standing together looking at the camera. One man hands a check to one woman

American National Bank & Trust: Investing in the Community

American National Bank & Trust prioritizes making a difference in the communities it serves. Guided by this philosophy, the bank became a Bringing Hope Home sponsor this year.

Eddie Martin, American National Bank’s Chief Administrative Officer, explains the bank’s decision to support TAP this way: “As we consider the impact of our corporate donations, prioritization is given to health and human service organizations, financial education, and affordable housing initiatives.”

Mr. Martin continues, “We were struck by TAP’s passion for helping all individuals and families achieve a better quality of life in the communities we both serve.”

Just like TAP, American National Bank has been serving communities in southwestern Virginia for decades. Founded in 1909 in Danville, Virginia, the bank added a Roanoke branch in 2015. The bank now serves both Virginia and North Carolina with 26 branches.

Financial literacy is financial empowerment

American National Bank strengthens the communities it serves by investing in financial education initiatives. Their Bringing Hope Home sponsorship ultimately supported the TAP Tax Clinic. This program, now entering its 20th year, provides free tax preparation and filing services to low-income families. Tax Clinic customers not only get their taxes filed for free but are urged to use their refunds to pay off debt or build their savings. Such practices help build financial stability.

Outside of their sponsorship of TAP, American National Bank has also partnered with Banzai and United Way of Roanoke Valley’s Bank On program. Banzai provides free online financial literacy courses to both students and adults. United Way of Roanoke Valley’s Bank On partnership, which TAP is also a member of, provides everything from financial education and counseling to affordable banking opportunities.

“We believe it is our responsibility as a community bank and local business to take a leading role in strengthening our communities,” states Carolyn Kiser, American National’s Director of Marketing and Community Affairs. “Whether that’s helping a customer manage their finances, providing a loan to help a business succeed, or providing a financial donation, we value any opportunity to help our customers and communities thrive.”

Ms. Kiser continues, “By partnering with programs like Bank On Roanoke Valley, Banzai, and others, we hope to reach those both outside of the banking system and within it to ultimately offer resources that can help anyone with their financial well-being.”

To learn more about American National Bank, you can visit their website.