Community Engagement Student Vickye Ford '23 Honored for Service to Others Student Profile
Meet Vickye Ford '23
- Job Title & Employer
- Community Development Director, Methodist South Hospital in the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system
- Community Engagement-Ph.D.
- Huntsville, Ala.
- High School
- Johnson High School (now Mae Jemison High School)
- Now Living In
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Volunteering, yoga and supporting the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team
"I recommend Point Park's community engagement program to anyone who wants to take a comprehensive, holistic approach to working in and improving communities. The program is unique in its ability to combine theory with practical application. I utilized concepts and examples from my classes right away in my work."
Tell us about the award you received.
The Citizens for Better Service award program recognizes community leaders in Memphis, Tennessee, for exemplifying the characteristics of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through their service in the community. I was selected as an honoree for the work I do through Methodist South Hospital's farmer's market, various health fairs, virtual lunch-and-learns and our newly-formed community engagement council. I am so appreciative to be recognized for my work. It is my passion to serve the community and help others have a better quality of life.
What are three key lessons you’ve learned through Point Park's Ph.D. in Community Engagement program?
I have learned:
- To be open to learning about other cultures and how they intersect.
- That engaged communities have a great ability to recover from crises like natural disasters and health care challenges.
- That employee volunteer programs provide a convenient, meaningful way for people to get involved in their communities.
How has the program informed the work you do at Methodist South Hospital?
The program has made me more strategic and more inclusive in my community engagement planning. For example, I am much more aware of having resources and activities for people who speak English as a second language, people who have physical disabilities, or people who need sign language interpretation. Point Park's community engagement program makes you think about the community through the lens of others, not just through your own subjectivity.
What advice do you have for other students aspiring to work in the community engagement space?
Be willing to step into the shoes of others to understand their point of view as you plan activities for a community. Students who decide to pursue community engagement careers should enjoy building relationships, connecting others to needed resources and interacting with all levels of a community. Even though it can sometimes be challenging, you will enjoy the rewards of seeing community members have their needs met through your efforts. I feel successful in my community engagement efforts when one of my health fairs helps a person improve their quality of life through offered health education or a health screening.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?
I recommend Point Park's community engagement program to anyone who wants to take a comprehensive, holistic approach to working in and improving communities. The program is unique in its ability to combine theory with practical application. I utilized concepts and examples from my classes right away in my work. You get the chance to learn from others in your cohort as you go through the educational journey together. My cohort has been a great support system not only during classes, but also as I prepared for the comprehensive exam and started writing my dissertation. I am a member of the first low-residency cohort of this program, and I consider myself lucky to be enrolled in this program while living in Memphis.