Category Archives: Community

ECU Police organize parade for young cancer patient

ECU Police organized a parade with neighboring departments to celebrate Colt's last treatment. (contributed photos)

ECU Police organized a parade with neighboring departments to celebrate Colt’s last treatment. (contributed photos)

In August 2016, just before his fourth birthday, Colt Cowell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. One year later, family and friends celebrated his last chemotherapy treatment with a parade of first responders in his honor arranged by the East Carolina University Police Department.

Colt was greeted by police officers and K-9s from ECU, the City of Greenville, Town of Winterville, Town of Ayden, Vidant Health Services and Pitt Community College. Pitt County Basic Law Enforcement Training students, Greenville Fire and Rescue, and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office also participated.

Greenville Fire and Rescue brought Engine 2 to carry the guest of honor during the parade.

Greenville Fire and Rescue brought Engine 2 to carry the guest of honor during the parade.

Lt. Chris Sutton, ECU Police, worked with Vidant staff members to plan the parade around the hospital. He knew Colt loved law enforcement, fire and EMS.

ECU dance team members helped celebrate with Colt.

ECU dance team members helped celebrate with Colt.

“I met Colt and his family last year about this same time, when they began their journey through chemo. They were special guests of the ECU PD at a November football game in 2016,” Sutton said. “When he neared the end of treatment it seemed like giving Colt a parade around the health sciences campus and Vidant was just the right way to honor him.”

The escort included over 18 police cars, and the guest of honor got to ride in a fire engine from Greenville Fire and Rescue. The fire truck led the way from the transportation entrance of the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital and pulled over down the road so Colt could see the police cars drive by with the lights flashing.

Many in Colt’s inner circle wore matching T-shirts that read “Colt Strong” with a Bible verse: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Job 5:9.

Members of ECU football, women’s basketball and dance teams, as well as Vidant employees, were among those helping celebrate Colt’s big day.

Personally knowing Colt or just hearing his story made no difference to those participating in the parade. Dry eyes were hard to come by.

 

Family and friends celebrated Colt's last chemotherapy treatment on Oct. 17, 2017.

Family and friends celebrated Colt’s last chemotherapy treatment on Oct. 17, 2017.

 

-by Morgan Tilton, ECU News Services

Talking to children about recent tragedies

For weeks, social media feeds and televisions have been filled with harrowing stories of survival from hurricanes, floods and gun violence in the United States. Exposure to these stories may impact your children more than you think.

Children can experience secondary trauma – emotional duress that results when a person hears about a firsthand trauma experienced by another person. This can cause children to experience nightmares, difficulty concentrating in school, behavior and mood changes, fears about separation, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

East Carolina University experts provide tips for discussing these events with your children to make sure they are processing the information and associated emotions in a healthy way.

Be reassuring

Melissa Nolan, director of the Nancy Darden Child Development Center at ECU, encourages parents to reassure their children that they are safe and will be taken care of no matter the outcome.

“Children do not have the cognitive ability to rationalize exaggerated comments. If they overhear an adult say, ‘the world will end,’ children believe the world will end,” said Dr. Sheresa Blanchard, assistant professor of human development and family science in ECU’s College of Health and Human Performance.

These kinds of statements can lead to fear and uncertainty.

 What do they know

Though parents may limit what children view or hear at home about recent tragedies, it’s harder to completely shield them from conversations at school or social media posts. Dr. Erin Roberts, clinic director of the ECU Family Therapy Clinic, suggests parents ask their children what they know about recent events to get an idea of their understanding.

“Give children the space and the opportunity to share their emotions too and ask questions. Ask them how they feel about what they’ve seen and heard,” she said. 

Be honest

Nolan says that it’s okay to be honest with your children and share what you are feeling in a way that is appropriate for their age.

“Don’t give children more information than what they want,” said Nolan. She suggests encouraging children to ask questions and for adults to stick with short, honest answers.

“Adults tend to give too much information,” she added.

“Kids are really good at noticing when we are upset,” said Roberts. “If they ask what’s bothering you, it’s okay to to be honest with them that recent events have made you sad. Ask them how they feel too.”

Choose your words and actions carefully

Children and teens pick up on change in a parent’s demeanor and may overhear conversations at home.

“Be aware of your moods and behavior and if it’s changed due to recent events,” said Roberts.

It can be confusing for children if the actions and words of their parents show they are upset but they tell their children everything is fine said Roberts.

“We don’t want to put too much on our children but it is okay to model how to identify your emotions and state them out loud,” she said.

Take care of yourself 

It’s important for adults to know what they’re watching and how it is affecting them.

Roberts said we know ourselves best and if adults aren’t taking care of themselves and are taking in a lot of information from the media, they could become anxious and project their anxiety, fear or anger onto their children unintentionally.

“Take a few deep breaths, reflect on how this may be affecting you and do something that helps you take care of yourself,” said Roberts.

She suggests a relaxing bath, talking to a friend, going to therapy or getting involved in efforts to support victims of the tragedy.

“Taking care of yourself will give you more space to be able to be there for your children,” she said.

 

Meet our experts:

 Dr. Sheresa Blanchard is an assistant professor of human development and family science at ECU in Greenville, North Carolina. Her research interests include early childhood education, parenting and family-centered practices.

Melissa Nolan is the director of ECU’s Nancy Darden Child Development Center, part of the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Her expertise includes best practices in early childhood education and child care administration.

Dr. Erin Roberts is the clinic director of ECU’s Family Therapy Clinic in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance. Her research interests include the impact of trauma on individuals and families, family therapy and intimate partner violence.

 

-by Jamie Smith

ECU students donate $4,723.50 to Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts

ECU students stepped up to make a difference with hurricane relief efforts for communities directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 530 ECU students donated from their dining plan on Sept. 19-20 and raised $4,723.50 that will go directly to hurricane relief efforts.

Partners include the ECU Residence Hall Association (RHA), Elite Pirates, the Campus Living Community Service Team, Campus Living and Dining Services.

Hurricane relief effort tables were set up at Todd Dining Hall, West End Dining Hall and in front of Dowdy Student Stores at Wright Plaza. Students could make a donation of up to $10 using their Purple or Gold Bucks.

All students with ECU meal plans receive Purple or Gold Bucks loaded on their ECU OneCard depending on whether they live on or off campus. Purple and Gold Bucks are pre-paid debit type accounts that are associated with corresponding meal plans. They are spent dollar for dollar.

Now that the collection totals are complete, ECU Dining Services will provide that amount to Aramark, the food service provider for ECU. The total ECU donations will be split and distributed to one college or university in Texas and one in Florida.

These respective universities will purchase items through Aramark on their campuses to help aid in the recovery process of their community. After the items are purchased, ECU Campus and Aramark will then evenly transfer the funds generated from this fundraising event to the universities involved.

For additional information, email Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, at rhapresident@ecu.edu or Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president, at randolphm14@students.ecu.edu.

 

Contacts: Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, rhapresident@ecu.edu; Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president, randolphm14@students.ecu.edu

ECU students donate to Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts

ECU students are stepping up to make a difference with hurricane relief efforts for communities directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Students can donate from their dining plan on Sept. 19-20 and it will go directly to hurricane relief efforts.

Partners include the ECU Residence Hall Association (RHA), Elite Pirates, the Campus Living Community Service Team, Campus Living and Campus Dining.

Hurricane relief effort tables will be set up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Todd Dining Hall, West End Dining Hall and in front of Dowdy Student Stores at Wright Plaza. Students can make a donation of up to $10 using their Purple or Gold Bucks.

All students with ECU meal plans receive Purple or Gold Bucks loaded on their ECU OneCard depending on whether they live on or off campus. Purple and Gold Bucks are pre-paid debit type accounts that are associated with corresponding meal plans. They are spent dollar for dollar.

After the two-day collection concludes, Campus Dining will total the student donations and provide that amount to Aramark, the food service provider for ECU. The total ECU donations will be split and distributed to one college or university in Texas and one in Florida.

These respective universities will purchase items through Aramark on their campuses to help aid in the recovery process of their community. After the items are purchased, ECU Campus and Aramark will then evenly “transfer” the funds generated from this fundraising event to the universities involved.

For additional information, email Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, at rhapresident@ecu.eduor Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates vice president, at randolphm14@students.ecu.edu.

 

Contacts: Troy Nance, Residence Hall Association president, rhapresident@ecu.edu; Morgan Randolph, Elite Pirates, randolphm14@students.ecu.edu

ECU students promote positive change while honoring those who served on 9/11

The ECU Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) will kick off the Fall Week of Service on Saturday, Sept. 9 through service to the Pitt County community. During the week, CLCE will promote positive change by hosting service projects throughout Pitt County. The week will conclude on Friday, Sept. 15 with a Family Weekend Service Day.

Community partner service sites include Making Pitt Fit Community Garden, A Time for Science, MacGregor Downs Health & Rehabilitation, and River Park North.

On Monday, Sept. 11, CLCE will partner with the University Writing Center and Student Government Association to host a unique program called Design for Change. This event provides the opportunity for attendees to promote positive change in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. There will be four stations where participants can engage:

  • Write for Change: Participants may write letters for change they wish to see on a local, national and/or international level.
  • Design for Change: Participants may paint ECU Peace Rocks to keep or to hide around campus as reminders of peace and positive change.
  • Commit to Change: Participants may write on a chalkboard/poster board their commitment to positive change by completing the sentence, “I will commit to change by …”
  • Post for Change: Participants may take a photo with an Instagram cutout and post to social media using the hashtag #Pirates4Peace.

All volunteers and participants are encouraged to upload images to social media during the entire Fall Week of Service by using #Pirates4Peace.

ECU students, faculty and staff can learn more about Fall Week of Service and the various projects through the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance portal on OrgSync (https://orgsync.com/115270/chapter).

To learn more about the national 9/11 Day of Service visit http://www.911day.org/.

For additional information, contact Tara Kermiet, associate director for curricular programs in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, at 252-328-1554 or via email at kermiett16@ecu.edu.

 

Contact: Tara Kermiet, associate director for Curricular Programs in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, kermiett16@ecu.edu

Camps give children a chance to explore art, science, drama

Drawing, painting, acting, writing and science took center stage recently as school-age children attended one of two day camps held on East Carolina University’s campus.

The 2017 STEAM and Drama summer camps were held July 17-22.

Children in kindergarten through 12th grade got to learn about scientific illustration, Stixsplosions!, pendulum painting, 3-D printing, ceramics, bookmaking, digital photography, nature printing and filmmaking at the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Art or STEAM camp.

Kindergartners make boxes from a sheet of paper. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Kindergartners make boxes from a sheet of paper. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Emily Benson, an ECU senior majoring in art education from Kinston, was one of the teachers for the STEAM camp.

“I just realized how much fun the kids have with any project,” Benson said. “I realized how much they love learning.”

Director of the STEAM camp Robert Quinn said he was excited about his art education students getting hands-on experience with the younger learners and delivering fun learning experiences.

Noah Blumenstein, a second-grade student at St. Peter’s Catholic School, said his favorite part of the STEAM camp was getting to make a guitar and learning how to etch.

At drama camp, children learned about performance, movement, playwriting, self-expression, self-confidence, group work and celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

Drama Camp instructor Rachel Hutzenbiler works on an improvisation exercise at the Messick Theater Arts Center on Monday, July 17, 2017. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Drama Camp instructor Rachel Hutzenbiler works on an improvisation exercise at the Messick Theater Arts Center on Monday, July 17, 2017. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

“We celebrate the imagination through the process of theatre,” said Patch Clark, director of the camp.

Cameron Bowen, a rising eighth-grader at Hope Middle School, said her favorite activity was practicing for the “Final Share,” a play put on by the campers and performed on Saturday morning for parents, family members and the community to show what the campers learned throughout the week.

Morgan Boyce, a rising seventh-grader at Arendell Parrott Academy, said her favorite part of the week was making puppets and learning more about movement.

Greenville native Alex Munn, an ECU junior theatre arts major with a dual concentration in both design and production focusing on properties and youth theatre, has enjoyed his time working with the kids.

Children in a K-2 Drama Camp class participate in a story during camp. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Children in a K-2 Drama Camp class participate in a story during camp. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

“To actually work as a teacher was a very eye-opening job,” Munn said.

Munn attended the camp before he enrolled in the School of Theatre and Dance and wanted to be apart of the camp this year to keep the tradition going, he said.

 

-by Bre Lewis

ECU’s Laupus Library makes science, history and medicine fun for kids

The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library at East Carolina University hosted “Potion Power: Medicinal Herb Discoveries for Kids” on July 19 for nearly 100 children and parents as part of a botanical exhibit from ECU’s Country Doctor Museum.

Microscope station participants. (Photos by Michelle Messer)

Microscope station participants. (Photos by Michelle Messer)

On display in the library’s fourth floor gallery, “Nature’s Remedies: Traditions of Botanical Medicine,” explores the history of using herbs and other plants as remedies and preventatives and showcases objects used by ordinary consumers, druggists and medical practitioners in their search for relief and well-being.

“We were really overwhelmed by the attendance and positive response from the families who came out for our event,” said Beth Ketterman, interim director of Laupus Library. “The kids all seemed really excited by the interactive stations and the chance to talk with our experts about the plants they were viewing and handling.”

During the afternoon, attendees visited the exhibit and participated in hands-on learning and exploration stations including one where they made dream pillows using traditional medicinal herbs and mortars and pestles. An old-fashioned pharmacy station required them to use math skills, play dough and antique pill rollers to fill prescriptions. At the microscope station, they discovered a wide range of plant and animal cells up close. And finally, they were given a chance to color historic botanical drawings from the pages of the oldest coloring book in the world.

Kent and John fill a prescription using an antique pill roller.

Kent and John fill a prescription using an antique pill roller.

A team of Country Doctor Museum curators and staff from Laupus Library’s History Program offered attendees a brief history of the medicinal practices presented at each station and answered questions about health care needs in the past.

Live leeches, antique bloodletting tools, and a large collection of artifacts were also brought in from the Country Doctor Museum for the day as part of an educational demonstration for everyone.

Seven-year-old attendee Jason Sturz, who wants to be a paleontologist one day, said his favorite station was the microscopes and slides. “They are the coolest because they show everything up close,” he said. “That’s way easier than trying to catch a bug and look at it through a magnifying glass.”

Jason’s mother, Sarah Sturz said her children are homeschooled so she’s always looking for something educational and fun for them to attend. “Jason likes to talk to people and we’re working on social skills so I figured this was a good educational opportunity for him,” she explained. “He loved it.”

Alice Barber, age ten, found out about the event through ECU’s Campus Recreation Wellness Summer Camp she attends each week. She said she’s interested in science and medicine because she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. “I like the library,” she said. “It has so much cool stuff to learn about.”

“We will definitely pursue more events of this nature in the future,” said Ketterman. “The library and our museum have a lot more in our collections to inspire these kids, who all have the potential to be the next great leaders in healthcare.”

The exhibit will be on display until Aug. 21.

For more information about the event please contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at rogerske@ecu.edu or 252-744-2232.

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda

Joyner Library now exhibiting “Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures”

“Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures” is on display in the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection on the third floor of Joyner Library.

Exhibited treasures include vintage advertisements and antique glass soda bottles, most of which were bottled in Greenville, North Carolina. Other items on display are letters, photographs and local memorabilia.

Bottle Exhibit PosterVisitors will learn how the famous soda brands and their local imitators got their start, along with the history of local bottling companies in Greenville and other successful regional enterprises.

The Cola Wars started long before Lionel Ritchie or Michael Jackson ever cut a record. Beginning in the late 1880s the success of Coca-Cola sparked a legion of imitators. Here in the Carolinas, Brad’s Drink proved the most successful on both a local and national scale.

Brad’s Drink, the original name for Pepsi-Cola, came from New Bern pharmacist and drugstore owner Caleb Bradham, who invented the concoction in the 1890s. In August 1898, Bradham named his creation Pepsi-Cola.

The national brands were originally delivered as syrups for distribution at an established soda fountain. Drugstores and other locations with soda fountains served as social hang-outs for all ages and classes.  As the idea of individual servings caught on, a franchise bottling system developed to distribute the national brands. The process encouraged the growth of local bottling companies all across the country. In the southeast, such companies were particularly numerous.

During the mid-1930s, the town of New Bern was home to four different bottling companies. At times, Greenville and Washington hosted as many as five separate bottling plants. It was not long before a host of local bottlers were trying their hands at crafting soft drink formulas.

The exhibit will be on display through October.

For additional information, contact the North Carolina Collection at 252-328-6601 or email lawrencej@ecu.edu or carpenterl15@ecu.edu.

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Communications

Social work faculty member appointed to Pitt County board

Dr. Shelia Bunch, professor and director of the School of Social Work at East Carolina University, has been appointed to the Pitt County Board of Social Services.

Dr. Shelia Bunch (contributed photo)

Dr. Shelia Bunch (contributed photo)

Effective July 1, she will serve through June 30, 2020. Drew Pledger, chair of the North Carolina Social Services Commission, announced Bunch’s appointment on June 30. She was sworn in July 11.

“I am excited about the appointment,” Bunch said. “Our School of Social Work has a great working relationship with the local DSS agency, which employs many of our alumni and serves as a field internship site for our students.”

Bunch received her bachelor’s degree from ECU, a master’s in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctoral degree from North Carolina State University.

Her research interests include rural domestic violence, rural social work education, issues related to children and families and social inequality.

The Pitt County Department of Social Services is a human services organization that provides many programs including food and nutrition services, adult protective services, child services including child support enforcement, and emergency assistance to residents.

 

-by Crystal Baity

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