NPC Friends & Family, (NPCFF) the nonprofit alliance supporting Northland Pioneer College (NPC) students, recently received the Champion of the Year award from the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning (AALL) during the 2023 Adult Education Institute, awards ceremony held Saturday, September 9, in Tucson AZ.
The mission of AALL is to highlight and improve opportunities for educational growth by promoting and inspiring lifelong learning and adult literacy in Arizona. AALL’s Champion of the Year award is presented each year to a person or entity outside of adult education who has championed adult learners and adult education programs.
NPC Data Analyst Dinah Gaddie nominated NPCFF for the award. She notes that NPCFF’s “commitment to serving Arizona’s adult learners is abundant across all nine NPC campus locations. NPCFF is there for students throughout their journey; from their first class to graduation and beyond, cheering them on and providing support.”
According to NPCFF Executive Director, Betsy Wilson, the nonprofit exclusively supports the mission and goals of NPC through the advancement of college programs and services, the establishment and growth of student scholarships, and the positive promotion of NPC. NPCFF provides scholarships for GED exams and offers support to non-traditional and adult students who are coming back to school while coping with the responsibilities of caring for children or elderly parents and are facing financial hurdles.
Gaddie relates how NPCFF recently assisted a student who needed to travel nearly twice the distance to go to a different campus for orientation. “The unexpected extra gas expense was a burden. NPCFF was not only able to help, but the student received a gas voucher within 24 hours. The student attended the orientation and registered for classes.”
According to Wilson, gas vouchers are just one result of the important relationship the organization has with NPC’s College and Career Preparation (CCP) department. In recognition of the award, Wilson states, “We share this honor because it’s the instructors and learning assistants who tell me what students need and provide ideas for solutions.”
Another example of how NPCFF and the CCP department contribute to the learning community at NPC is by providing a free food pantry and personal item closet. NPC holds food pantry events twice a month (alternating on the second and third Wednesday) at the college’s Holbrook and Winslow locations. In addition to providing food boxes, students have access to personal hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and diapers. These pantries are the brainchild of NPC’s former Dean of College and Career Preparation, Gail Campbell, who although is now retired, still coordinates, and operates the pantries. Wilson explains, “At NPC we are more than just a team, we are a family, and student success is our end goal.” In her nomination, Gaddie confirms that “NPCFF is our champion for student success… It takes a village, and we appreciate ours.”
For more information on the Arizona Association of Lifelong Learning visit https://aafll.wildapricot.org/.