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Leadership Lafayette Class Raises $35K for Four Community Projects

Twenty-seven local leaders take their fine-tuned skills into the community after graduating from the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce’s 31st annual Leadership Lafayette Program last week.

The eight-month program is centered on enhancing teamwork, generating and executing new ideas and serving the local community.

“I’m extremely honored each year to be a part of such a prestigious group of leaders in Lafayette Oxford University community,” said Torie Marion, Leadership Lafayette Program chair. “I know this class will do like so many of the others and go on to do great things in this community and state.”

The 2019 graduating class planned diverse community projects by dividing into four teams — LOU Help, Fearless Millennials/Operation GCCC (Gordon Community & Cultural Center), Play Without Barriers and Summer Lovin’.

The LOU Help team focused on establishing a database of resources for the LOU community. LOUHelp.com, the product of the group’s hard work, is a searchable database of resources for the Oxford-Lafayette community. On this website, community members are able to find contact information for resources from the Poison Control Center to the Boys and Girls Club.

The Fearless Millennials group launched ‘Operation GCCC’ with the original goal of building a fence for the Gordon Community and Cultural Center. During the course of Leadership Lafayette, this group not only accomplished that, but they also raised $3,650 for GCCC, increased awareness of GCCC in the community and helped GCCC secure a $5,000 grant from LOFT.

The Play Without Barriers group set a lofty goal of raising $20,000 in just eight months for the Mississippi Society for Disabilities. These funds will go towards building the accessible and inclusive Bailey Branch playground. Through several fundraising endeavors, including hosting Jazz Under the Stars, and selling personalized brick pavers that will be installed at the playground, this group raised an astonishing $25,654.

The Summer Lovin’ group took a completely empty Oxford Lovepacks food pantry and turned it into a completely full pantry by the time school started. Lovepacks is an organization that is committed to providing packs of food to Oxford and Lafayette County school children in need. Summer Lovin’ not only received donations in the form of food, but they also raised $500 for Lovepacks.

The 2019 class includes: Rachel Alcorn, Communicare; Celesia Blackmon; Kurt Brummett, United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County; Chase Buchanan, BancorpSouth; Anginita Butler, Next Gear Solutions; Edy Dingus, Magnolia Montessori School; Alison Doyle; Hunter Haney, North Mississippi Regional Center; Blake Horton, Oxford Police Department; Danielle King, Grantham Poole; Katie Krouse, LuLus Shoes and Accessories.; Daniel Lenard, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi; Jessica Lynch, Visit Oxford; Katrenia Meeks, Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi, Inc.; John Melton, Communicare; Michael Newsom, The University of Mississippi; Bess Nichols Fisher; Tanya Nichols, The University of Mississippi; Clifton Odom, Chancellors House Hotel; Doug Odom, mTrade; Wendy Pfrenger, University of Mississippi; Joel Reeves, Charter Road Hospitality; Andrew Reynolds, A2H; Nishanth Rodrigues, The University of Mississippi; Hunter Taylor, The University of Mississippi; and Amy Woodward, American Addiction Centers/Oxford Treatment Center.

This year’s Leadership Lafayette class presented the 2019 Leadership Award to Tanya Nichols. Nichols is a Project Manager with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi.

“This year’s class had unprecedented chemistry in their small groups,” said Pam Swain, Leadership Lafayette program director and senior vice president of the Chamber. “They each had a great amount of passion for their community and worked hard for the organizations they got involved with through their projects. I salute this unique group of leaders for the lasting impact they have left on this community through their determination and goals with their community projects.”

The Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting applications for the 2020 Leadership Lafayette class in late October 2019, with the deadline in early December of this year. Class selection will be in mid-December and the 2020 class will begin in January. For more details go to www.oxfordms.com.

Courtesy of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce

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