Being grateful for many things on Thanksgiving


We can be grateful for so many things this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my family’s health, loyal friendships, professional colleagues and the freedom that we share in America.

And I am thankful that thousands of residents are making their lives better and strengthening our economy by succeeding in their studies at Cumberland County College. Students are preparing for “make a difference” careers in areas such as health care, education, law enforcement, the arts, business and social service.

Many of these opportunities for student success are made possible by our benefactors; men and women in our community who donate their money, time and expertise to make it possible for CCC to offer more programs and services. All you need to do is stroll throughout our beautiful campus to see the major positive impact our benefactors have made at Cumberland County College.

Hundreds of entertaining and educational events are held every year at the Frank Guaracini Fine and Performing Arts Center. Corporate and community meetings are held daily at the Luciano Conference Center. And hundreds of students are earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees on campus at the Shirlee and Bernard Brown University Center.

These centers wouldn’t exist without our major benefactors and all of those who think enough of their community that they chose to help make life better for others. These individuals have provided opportunities for our residents to better their lives through higher education, which is the most noble of causes because education is the great enabler. A degree and the knowledge acquired while earning it can never be taken away.

Every day, hundreds of students learn essential lessons in caring for people in the Paul Navone Healthcare Education Center. Mr. Navone lives modestly, but he chose to donate $1 million to support CCC’s healthcare careers pathways program. Mr. Navone often visits our campus, and he’s serving as the honorary chair of the college’s Visions Campaign.

Mr. Navone’s gift provides student opportunities and his service provides inspiration. Earlier this month, Mr. Navone was one of 10 individuals in America recognized with a 2009 Benefactor Award by the Council for Resource Development at their annual conference in Washington, D.C.

So it’s not just the gift; it’s the gesture that makes a world of difference. In this season of giving, let’s be thankful to those who care for causes and choose to share their money, time and expertise to make life better of all of us. And let’s follow their example.

These are demanding economic times, but if you’re reading this, there is probably someone – or an organization that helps others – that you could help.

Reach out. Volunteer. Make a difference. You’ll feel a lot better during the Thanksgiving season.