ULM Magazine Spring 2022 • Volume 22 - Special Edition

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SPRING 2022 • VOLUME 22

THE BAYOU & BEYOND CELEBRATING COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS S

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Lisa F. Miller Vice President for Enrollment Management & University Relations

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WELCOME TO THE BAYOU AND BEYOND

WE ARE A COMMUNITY AND WELCOME FROM VP LISA F. MILLER

TOGETHER WE ARE ONE

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are and changing their lives for the better is paramount. The university simply cannot grow each student without the experiences our partners provide.

In September, we showed our appreciation to some of our civic partners on the steps of Monroe City Hall and West Monroe City Hall to thank them for their support and partnerships. We partnered with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana and more than 100 university and city volunteers to launch an initiative to provide hope to the Class of 2031 when we celebrate our 100th Anniversary.

The current synergy between the university and our partners has allowed us to create a shared vision and a shared language that will be the impetus for substantive change for our region. A culture of engagement and collaboration has been created. We must work together to be relevant and responsive to the needs of each individual we serve, as well as the challenges our community faces. Together the possibilities are infinite.

his 90th year anniversary of the University of Louisiana Monroe has been a year of reflection on the past, a celebration of what has been achieved, and anticipation of a bright future.

As we listened to the stories told by these agencies and volunteers, it became evident that the relationship between ULM and our community was symbiotic – we simply cannot thrive without each other. We are a community – not a town, not a university – but a community functioning synchronously for the advancement of the people of this region. This realization became the catalyst for this special edition of the ULM Magazine, The Bayou and Beyond. As you read the articles submitted by a few of our community partners, and there will be more articles to come, the impact our relationships have on so many lives will become obvious.

www.ulm.edu

The term university finds its origin in Latin “universitas,” meaning community, the whole, total. Together WE are one. There is an interconnection, an interdependence that exists between the university and the entire region. While the primary traditional goals of the university are research, teaching, learning, and providing services to our community, ultimately meeting each student where they

As I collected my thoughts to prepare for this article, it occurred to me that maybe we take ULM for granted; perhaps many people are unaware of the contributions and partnerships that occur each day, so I want to present a challenge to each of you. I challenge you to consider these questions: • Are you a graduate of what is today called the University of Louisiana Monroe? • Do you know a graduate of what is today called the University of Louisiana Monroe? • Do you know a faculty or staff member who works at ULM? • Have you attended a musical event, a theatre event, a guest speaker, a sporting event, or some type of ceremony at ULM?

• Is your accountant, local business owner, banker, or financier a graduate of ULM? • Has a ULM student group ever provided a service to an organization you are affiliated with? This is a very brief list. Our faculty, staff, and students provide thousands of service hours to our community each year. What would we do without student employees, interns, or graduates to support our community? I believe the answer is obvious — we are not a university that simply provides degrees – we are much, much more. I hope you will become more observant and more aware of the partnerships between ULM and our community partners. Ask someone assisting you, “Are you a student or graduate of ULM?” I think you will be surprised, and I ask you to be proud of these individuals and our university – The University of Louisiana Monroe. As President Ron Berry says, “Together we can do more than we ever dreamed possible.” Join us on this journey – you will not be disappointed. I also want to thank the Office of Marketing and Communications for this brilliant idea to not only thank some of our partners but to make people aware of the power of collaboration.

THE BEST IS ON THE BAYOU!

• Is your pharmacist or health care professional a graduate of ULM? • Did you or your child have a teacher who graduated from ULM?

Lisa F. Miller Vice President for Enrollment Management & University Relations


ON THE COVER

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Southern skies, cypress trees, and sunlight surround the University of Louisiana Monroe, much like ULM is circled by the vibrant cities of Monroe, West Monroe, and communities throughout Northeast Louisiana. During the last 90 years, the university and the region have become interdependent, relying on each other for education, inspiration, transformation, and growth. ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

Drone photo by Siddarth Gaulee

CONTENTS PRESIDENT RON BERRY - BETTER TOGETHER MONROE MAYOR FRIDAY ELLIS: WE ARE A COLLEGE TOWN WEST MONROE IS WORKING TO TAKE THE CITY TO THE “NEXT LEVEL” LDCC: EMPOWERS STUDENTS FOR HIGHER ED OR THE WORKFORCE

THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: EDUCATING THROUGH PLAY INTO THE FUTURE: BRIP TO REVOLUTIONIZE REGION WITH R&D ULM AND LDCC PARTNER FOR ANNUAL MLK DAY OF SERVICE UNITED WAY OF NORTHEAST LOUISIANA: CHANGING LIVES IN NELA FOR 66 YEARS LSBDC AT ULM INFUSES $7.2 MILLION IN BUSINESS CAPITAL IN 2021 OUACHITA PARISH SCHOOLS PREPARING STUDENTS TO EXCEL IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY MONROE CITY SCHOOLS PREPARING STUDENTS WITH “FOUNDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE” THE WELLSPRING CHANGES LIVES BY HELPING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES FACING CHALLENGES MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: A NEW ERA OF EXPANSION AND GROWTH

LIVING WELL FOUNDATION: SUPPORTING THE MEDICAL, DENTAL AND MENTAL HEALTH OF NELA

www.ulm.edu

DISCOVER MWM WORKING TO BRING VISITORS TO ULM AND OUACHITA PARISH

CONTENTS

WMWO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: WORKING TODAY TO SERVE NEEDS OF TOMORROW

6 10 12 14 16 20 22 26 29 32 35 38 40 42 46 50


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MAGAZINE SPECIAL EDITION • SPRING 2022 • VOLUME 22

EDITORIAL TEAM

PRESIDENT Ronald Berry, D.B.A. (BBA ’88, MBA ’90) VICE PRESIDENT OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT AND UNIVERSITY RELATIONS Lisa Miller (MS '94) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Brice Jones, Ph.D. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Hope Young, Editor EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR Srdjan Marjanovic (BFA ’12) GRAPHIC DESIGN COORDINATOR Shanette L. Washington (BFA ’02) MARKETING MEDIA MANAGER Jeanette Robinson (BFA ’21) VISUAL MEDIA SPECIALIST Paul Ware CONTRIBUTORS Biomedical Research and Innovation Park Discover Monroe-West Monroe Louisiana Delta Community College LSBDC at ULM Living Well Foundation City of Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis Monroe Chamber of Commerce Monroe City School System Ouachita Parish Schools The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum The Wellspring United Way of Northeast Louisiana City of West Monroe WMWO Chamber of Commerce

This special edition of the ULM Magazine, The Bayou and Beyond, recognizes the partnership between the University of Louisiana Monroe and local public, private and nonprofit organizations. It is published for all of ULM's partners, those who sincerely believe and understand the university is the region's educational and economic driver. For everyone who shares the vision of President Ron Berry that by working together – the community and the university – are forever changing the lives of the citizens of Northeast Louisiana. Send letters & comments to: The ULM Magazine Office of Marketing & Communications 700 University Ave. Monroe, LA 71209–2500

www.ulm.edu

Email: ulmmagazine@ulm.edu Any letters or comments may be published and edited for length and style. Contents © 2022 by the University of Louisiana Monroe and the ULM Alumni Association. All rights reserved. The University of Louisiana Monroe is a member of the University of Louisiana System.

THINGS TO DO: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY EVENTS Ouachita Parish Public Library Summer Reading Challenge: June 1-July 31, all ages, free. Fun incentives for reading and completing community challenges. Info: www.oplib.org Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum: Summer 2022 Kick-Off, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 1, $6. Games, activities, snacks. Info: 318-361-9611 or www.nelcm.org Downtown Arts Alliance Gallery Crawl: 5-9 p.m., June 2, Downtown Monroe and Downtown West Monroe, free. Local artists and locally-owned shops, businesses, and eateries. 4th Annual Community Health & Wellness Expo: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., June 4, Monroe Civic Center, free. Hosted by Holistic Vibes with 40 vendors, activities, panel discussions. Info: katrinabranson@ gmail.com or Facebook/Myholisticvibes

Masur Art Museum Summer Art Camps: Weeks of June 6, 20, and 27, July 18 and 25, and Aug. 1 for ages 6-17. Ready, set, DRAW!, Paint, Prints and Pizza!, eARTh: Art Made Outside, and CLAY-taceous Creatures. Info: www.masurmuseum.org ULM Sound of Today Summer Band Camp: June 8-11, for high school students. Instruction for band members, drum majors, section leaders, guard members, and percussionists. Info: Allen Parrish at parrish@ulm.edu Chennault Aviation & Military Museum Red, White, and Blue Airshow: June 17-18. Features U.S. Army Golden Knights, U.S. Air Force F16 Viper Demo, and classic car show. Info: www.redwhiteandblueairshow.com The Children's Coalition Origin Bank Family Garden Super Saturday: 10 a.m.-noon, June 18, free, 127 Hall St. Garden activities, early childhood activities in outdoor learning center, healthy cooking demos, community resources, and volunteer opportunities. ULM Summer Choral Camp: June 19-24, for high school students. Instruction in auditioning, group concerts, private lessons available. Info: ulm.edu/music ULM Bayou Discovery STEAM Camp: 8 a.m.-noon, June 20-24 for students entering 4th-5th grades. $50. ULM Museum of Natural History, first floor, Hanna Hall. Hands-on activities for creativity and critical thinking. Info: Dr. Kim Marie Tolson, 318-342-1805, tolson@ulm.edu

Ouachita Live: A Free Outdoor Concert Series: 6:30-8 p.m., last Friday of the month, June-October, at Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. First concert is on June 24. Bring a chair — food truck on site. July 4th Celebration & Fireworks: 8-10:30 p.m., July 2, Lazarre Park, 703 S. Riverfront, West Monroe, free. Children's Fundays at Biedenharn Museum & Gardens: 8 a.m.-noon, July 18-22, ages 8-11, $125. Explore the museum and gardens and create projects. Info: www.bmuseum.org


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COMMUNITY LENSE

photos by Paul Ware

Brandon Virgil designed the “Rise Above Stigma” mural on the Sugar Gallery building on Art Alley in Monroe.

THE MISSING PIECES OF THE COMMUNITY PUZZLE

www.ulm.edu

Vitus Shell works on a new mural in Downtown Monroe. The puzzle pieces represent the connections between thoughts and people.

Artists Vitus Shell and Brandon Virgil work on the mural “Rise Above Stigma” on the Sugar Gallery building on Second Street – better known as Art Alley – in Downtown Monroe. The puzzle pieces represent connections ­– people connected to each other, connecting the thoughts in our minds, and the connection of community. Shell and Virgil used the colors of the Northeast Delta HSA program "Rise Above Stigma," which promotes mental health awareness and seeking help from mental health professionals. “It’s about encouraging people to get help. The reality is we all need to sit down and talk to somebody,” Shell said. Shell and Virgil, designer and lead artist on the project, are members of the Black Creative Circle of Northeast Louisiana. Four other members worked with them, including Drek Davis, and University of Louisiana Monroe alumni Barbara Goins, Jennifer Kaye Haynes, and K’Shana Hall.


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BET BY RON BERRY, ULM PRESIDENT

PRESIDENT RON BERRY www.ulm.edu

“It is time to own who we are, where we are, and what we must do to create a better future for our students, ourselves, and our region.” – PRESIDENT RON BERRY


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PRESIDENT RON BERRY

TTER TOGETHER “O

n a strong team, everyone pulls together.” I have read these simple words on the walls of many offices over the years. The statement has few words but significant meaning. When a community is fortunate enough to be pulling together in the same direction, united in purpose, laser focused on community priorities, and committed to excellence, there is truly nothing that cannot be accomplished. For over 90 years, the University of Louisiana Monroe has played a critical role in the development of northeast Louisiana by providing outstanding educational opportunities and the tremendous intellectual capital of our faculty, staff, and students. From providing strong academic programs in the arts and sciences, health sciences, education, business and pharmacy, to serving as a catalyst for economic development, the University of Louisiana Monroe is proud to serve as an anchor for the community, while at the same time creating the momentum, innovation and creativity to move the region boldly toward the future.

www.ulm.edu

Our work, however, would be so less impactful if it was not for community partnerships, a strong team of community leaders and organizations, and a shared commitment to improving lives in our region. Our collective work focuses on important issues such as improving ▶


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About ULM'S MISSION The ULM prepares individuals from northeast Louisiana and beyond to compete, succeed, and contribute in an everchanging global society through a transformative education while positively impacting society through research and service.

human development and quality of life, lifelong learning, and most importantly, opportunities for each of us to become the best versions of ourselves. We are truly better when we work together. Our new strategic plan identifies five critical strategic pillars of our success as we seek to change lives in our region: student success, faculty and staff distinction and well-being , intellectual activities, community engagement, and athletics. Our pillars of success are supported by our operational foundation, values and guiding principles. While all of the pillars of work are important, we know that to succeed, most of the work we do in five areas depends significantly on our work with community partners and community engagement.

PRESIDENT RON BERRY

Our two broad goals related to community engagement are to maintain and expand mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships that maximize our impact and to provide services essential to the

www.ulm.edu


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PRESIDENT RON BERRY

region related to health care, business development, and education. Some of the initiatives we envision pursuing include: • expanding and improving services provided by university research centers, labs, and clinics to address critical community needs; • maximizing opportunities to offer and host visual and performing arts events for the region;

• strengthening and developing additional public health services with an emphasis on serving rural areas in northeast Louisiana; • exploring new partnerships with business

As we move toward our centennial celebration, ULM must continue to be more than a training provider for its students; it must be innovative in the way we attract, teach, graduate, and interact with our students and we must interact as an equal partner with industry and community leaders to ensure all of us have the opportunity to be more than we ever dreamed possible. We are so fortunate to live in a region that is working together for brighter futures, better lives, and a prosperous region. We are indeed “better together.”

About ULM'S VISION ULM will change lives by bringing true equality, inclusiveness, and opportunity for all individuals in our region and beyond.

www.ulm.edu

• designing community service initiatives that are coordinated across campus and inclusive of northeast Louisiana;

and industry to bolster the local economy and create employment and internship opportunities for students.


10 Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis speaks at ULM's Browse on the Bayou in March. The mayor welcomed potential students and their families to the university and the city. photo by Jeanette Robinson

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CITY OF MONROE

“Monroe is a college town. What started as a junior college in 1931 is a regional university today. We need to embrace this important fact by supporting and partnering with ULM to change lives in our community.” – MAYOR FRIDAY ELLIS

CITY AND ULM WORKING TOGETHER IS KEY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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here are so many exciting things happening across the city, and we are thrilled to support the University of Louisiana Monroe as it educates our future leaders. For years, we have been very successful in recruiting talent to Northeast Louisiana for a tremendous university experience. Now, we are working to make the city

a place you want to call “home.” One of the areas of focus is economic growth and development. We currently have 50 capital projects in the works, valued at well over $230 million, but there’s still plenty of work to do. Economic growth and development are based on more than just numbers; it’s multi-faceted. I knew for Monroe to be successful in driving economic growth, we had to reinvigorate the culture of our city and make Monroe the place people want to attend the university, live, work, and raise families. We need to tap into the vibrant, historic riverfront community and

BY MAYOR FRIDAY ELLIS

MONROE MAYOR FRIDAY ELLIS www.ulm.edu

WE ARE A CO


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Monroe is a college town. What started as a junior college in 1931 is a regional university today. We need to embrace this important fact by supporting and partnering with ULM to change lives in our community. In 2019, a study found ULM contributed $566 million to the Northeast Louisiana economy (EMSI, 2017-18). Think about that. Students from throughout Louisiana and surrounding states, plus a vibrant international student community, come to ULM to prepare for their futures. Talented professors and faculty members make their homes here, and staff are often products of ULM.

When I was elected mayor of this great college town, I needed a team capable of some pretty heavy lifting. I also wanted people who know and love Monroe for what it is and what it could be. Several of my team are proud ULM alumni, including my Chief Economic and Cultural Development Officer, Kelsea McCrary. Kelsea graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010. Working with her in the Economic Development Department is Executive and Economic Development Liaison DJ Fortenberry, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in General Business in 2008. Meghan Risinger, our Executive Grant Writer, rounds out the Economic Development team. Meghan received both

her Bachelor of Art ('17) and Masters of Public Administration ('19) from ULM. I’m a firm believer in creating your own opportunities, and we are doing just that in the City of Monroe. We have put a magnifying glass on areas of our city that have been disinvested for years. What we’ve found is endless potential for feasible growth. Community support and engagement are paramount to our success. We need your help to make Monroe everything we know it can be.

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redevelop our downtown.

You are our future, and you are how we will move forward. We are so excited to grow with ULM as its leadership continues changing lives.

CITY OF MONROE

photo by Michelli Martin

Celebrating ULM with Talons Out! at Monroe City Hall are, from left, Meghan Risinger, Kelsea McCrary, DJ Fortenberry, Michelli Martin, Kimberly Essex, Casey Autonberry (back), Lynda McMahan and Mayor Friday Ellis.

www.ulm.edu

OLLEGE TOWN


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he City of West Monroe is proud to partner with the West MonroeWest Ouachita Chamber of Commerce to support economic growth and development in our community. With assistance from the community, we truly believe we can “Take West Monroe to the Next Level.” Although the City of West Monroe has a population of approximately 13,000 residents, the city serves as a hub of activity for more than 80,000 people who reside in the western half of Ouachita Parish and the thousands of people who work in West Monroe every day. West Monroe supports a great quality of life for families, students, and those young at heart.

CITY OF WEST MONROE BY THE CITY OF WEST MONROE

WEST MONROE IS WORKING TO TAKE THE CITY TO THE

www.ulm.edu

'NEXT LEVEL'


Named among “Best Cities for Young Families” in Louisiana two years in a row by NerdWallet, West Monroe offers affordable homes, prosperity and growth, quality educational options, and familyfriendly amenities.

West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell believes that West Monroe’s role is to create a community ready for economic growth by establishing safe, clean neighborhoods and streets with well-kept, reliable infrastructure. Community development is critical to supporting economic growth and making West Monroe an even more desirable place to live.

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West Monroe ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in Louisiana, with the cost of living at 88.5 percent of the national average. The city has been designated a Certified Retirement Community by the Louisiana Retirement Development Commission.

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CITY OF WEST MONROE

Evidence of how West Monroe is being taken to the “Next Level” can be seen through the completion and implementation of a strategic citywide master plan that is guiding the city’s efforts in areas such as economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and parks and recreation. One of the most exciting projects happening in the area is the muchanticipated West Monroe Sports & Events facility, a 110,000-square-foot indoor sports facility, which will be constructed near Interstate 20. This facility will serve as a major economic driver and boost to sports tourism for our entire region. West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell

About NEXT LEVEL Evidence of how West Monroe is being taken to the “Next Level” can be seen through the completion and implementation of a strategic citywide master plan that is guiding the city’s efforts in areas such as economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and parks and recreation.

Other exciting projects include developing Highland Park, a former golf course located in the heart of West Monroe. The development features the completion of the Highland Park Wetland Trails, which opened to the public in February 2022. It will also include a single-family housing development on the east end and commercial development on the west end. West Monroe is proud of its relationship with the University of Louisiana Monroe. City leaders and university administrators are forging a strong partnership as we work collaboratively to find ways to enhance Northeast Louisiana and increase education and workforce opportunities for our residents.

www.ulm.edu

Whether it’s offering recreational opportunities for all ages at Kiroli Park, a fully-accredited Senior Center or a free recycling drop-off facility, the City of West Monroe administration and staff will continue to “Take West Monroe to the Next Level” so that the community remains a premiere destination for residents, businesses, and visitors.


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LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BY DARIAN ATKINS

LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

EMPOWERS STUDENTS www.ulm.edu

FOR HIGHER ED OR THE WORKFORCE ASSOCIATE DEGREES ARE OFFERED FOR THOSE WHO ARE WORKFORCE READY AND FOR THOSE CONTINUING THEIR ACADEMIC JOURNEY


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LDCC lived on other campuses from 2001 until 2010, when the Millhaven Road main campus was constructed. LDCC operated in Coenen Hall at the University of Louisiana Monroe for several years. Now, LDCC has eight campuses in Northeast Louisiana, where Dr. Randy Esters serves as chancellor. NELA's need for community colleges Before its existence, there were advocates for it and opponents against it. Amid it all, there were people who needed it. George Cannon, former superintendent of Monroe City Schools, was reported by The News-Star saying, "Community Colleges are highly developed institutions in some states. In those states, there is a very direct impact between their existence and jobs in an area. Their function isn't to compete with four-year institutions, but to provide programs to provide skill development for certain jobs." Cannon also said in the July 29, 2001, News-Star article, "Community Colleges can give students remedial work and prepare them for even higher education." Preparing students for higher ed and entering the workforce Today, LDCC strategically aligned programs to bridge to its higher education sister institutions. The goal? To provide a seamless transfer experience for all of our students. The community college teaches remedial classes to better prepare students for a higher rate of success. Associate degree programs are

also offered for those who are workforce ready and for those who choose to continue their academic journey. LDCC offers courses that transfer, as well as the Louisiana State Transfer Degree Programs. When a student successfully completes the transfer degree program, students will enter a four-year public university having met the institution's general education requirements and will be granted junior status. Students who choose to focus on skill attainment find a home in the Workforce Department. Building the strength of the local economy was the hope of community college advocates. LDCC has developed a highly responsive and flexible workforce training program. It moves in harmony with the needs of the business community. Business and industry drive program offerings at LDCC and participate in reviewing course objectives. The vital partnership of LDCC and ULM One of LDCC's priorities is providing opportunities for students to train for high-wage, high-demand jobs at an affordable cost. To be successful in doing so, partnerships had to be established, business and industry as well as academic. ULM has been a welcomed partner. LDCC has various transfer agreements with ULM. LDCC students and employees enjoy some Warhawk benefits. Both institutions have partnered for many community service projects. LDCC also has reduced tuition agreements for its employees with ULM. Students must be at the heart of decision-making. ULM and LDCC, along with our business and industry partners, are working diligently to better our communities through thoughtful preparation and training of our citizens.

www.ulm.edu

photo by Paul Ware

LOUISIANA DELTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

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ouisiana Delta Community College has a complicated and rich story from its inception to its present day. Birthed out of a need to prepare a skilled workforce for the region, the community college had a mission without a home, without leadership, and without a name.

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Students must be at the heart of decision-making. ULM and LDCC, along with our business and industry partners, are working diligently to better our communities through thoughtful preparation and training of our citizens.


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WMWO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE photos by West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce

BY THE WEST MONROE-WEST OUACHITA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

WEST MONROE-WEST OUACHITA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WORKIN

TO SERVE THE BUSINESS AND COMMU www.ulm.edu

NEEDS OF TOMORR


More than networking, we seek to focus our combined resources on building opportunities, facilitating change, and advocating.

About OUR FOCUS Advocacy & Governmental Affairs –We are an influential voice to cultivate a positive governmental climate for infrastructure construction and improvements, business law, and regulation issues. Workforce & Leadership Development –We support educational initiatives and training to prepare individuals for the demands of tomorrow's workplace. Promotion – The chamber's SHOP WEST campaign was created to encourage residents and visitors to think about ways to spend money locally. Community – We invest personnel and financial resources, host and sponsor festivals, concerts, and attractions to create and maintain an entrepreneur-friendly community. Connections – As a network of valuable contacts, we foster growth for local businesses and representatives as they develop and refine quality relationships with other successful professionals. Information – westmonroechamber. org is a powerful medium to showcase community events, employment opportunities, news releases, and hot deals.

But our true community involvement is often behind the public view. For our membership, we promote and enhance the public's perception of their businesses, often leading to more likely sales. For example, according to the Schapiro Group, people were nearly 50 percent more likely to buy insurance if that provider was listed as a member of a chamber of commerce. Regardless of what industry or business you are in, support is key. Support from a community of friends in commerce can help you find success. We all tap into many resources, like online groups or social media, but a largely untapped resource is on the community level. The WMWO Chamber can be an expert partner as you grow your brand, stabilize from unforeseen adversity, expand your client base, and more. The goal of any chamber is to help further the interests of businesses in a local area. The activities can range from hosting events to lobbying local representatives to charitable works for the betterment of the community. With a board of directors comprising some of the brightest minds in the area, we are well prepared to address and dive deep into building bridges for the future and ensuring stability for our valued members. The WMWO Chamber of Commerce is your community partner. There is always an opportunity to engage in your community and be the change you want to see. From volunteerism to workforce partnerships, the chamber is a valuable tool as we build towards common goals. We welcome you to get involved as we grow our community. Find out more about our mission, community events, and more by contacting your West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber – online at westmonroechamber.org or by phone at 318-325-1961.

www.ulm.edu

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ULM holds a special relationship with the WMWO Chamber – in fact, our Executive Director Kristopher Kelley holds a bachelor's and master's from ULM.

WMWO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

MUNITY

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very day the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce works for tomorrow's community needs. That happens only with quality connections to educational paths. It gives us great pride to partner with the University of Louisiana Monroe to envision tomorrow's workforce and promote our community.

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NG TODAY

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90 YEARS OF CHANGE

www.ulm.edu


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University of Louisiana Monroe 319 Sandel Hall 700 University Avenue Monroe, LA 71209

90 YEARS OF CHANGE

Follow Us!

90.3 KEDM Public Radio

kedm.org www.ulm.edu

promotes community dialogue and enhances public life by engaging its audience through news, education, cultural and music programming.

NPR News, Classical and Music of the Delta


20 Springtime storytime delights youngsters at The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum. The Children's Museum opened in 1998 and is a favorite of families throughout the region. ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

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or more than 20 years, The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum has been a leader in enriching the lives of children and providing parents, grandparents, and educators with a partner that excelled at educating through play. But it was not always an easy road to success. In 1995, two moms working at an elementary school in Monroe began a discussion about the great need for a children’s museum in Northeast Louisiana.

THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

In August of 1998, the doors of The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum opened for business. Over the next several years, the exhibit space was expanded and doubled in size. The Children’s Museum added exhibits and programs targeted to our area’s diversity, demographics, and unique culture. A resource for our region The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is a uniquely innovative resource for children that fosters creative learning and the excitement of discovery through play. Every year, The Children’s Museum provides approximately 50,000 children and their families from 17 parishes and surrounding states the chance to learn and make memories that last a lifetime. Children are given the unique opportunity to discover who they are and who they might become through play. Exhibits and learning experiences allow them to explore their history, investigate science and social relationships, and celebrate the beauty, art, and culture of Northeast Louisiana. “We have partnered with many organizations to engage children through interactive experiences, and we have hosted thousands of visitors from all over the country each year, and our focus has always been education,” said Melissa Saye, museum director. ULM: A critical partner However, one of the most important partnerships for the museum has been with the University of Louisiana Monroe. Since its inception, The Children’s Museum has relied on a variety of resources and assistance provided by the university and its students.

BY THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

www.ulm.edu

EDUCATING THROUGH PLAY

AT THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM


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About PARTNERSHIPS The Children’s Museum and ULM partnerships: • ULM Pharmacy Days • ULM Occupational Therapy Students Association

THE NORTHEAST LOUISIANA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

• ULM Chemistry Days • ULM Student Nurses Association • Student internships • Employing students at The Children’s Museum • ULM faculty and staff serving as board members photos by Jeanette Robinson

Zoe Robinson relaxes with a good book in a round reading nook at The Children's Museum.

It's a fun visit to the doctor's office when children can be the doctor, nurse, patient and rad tech in the medical clinic play area at The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum.

ULM has been instrumental in helping introduce children to various vocations by providing demonstrations from different academic curriculums and student associations. Examples include ULM Pharmacy Days, ULM Occupational Therapy Students Association, ULM Chemistry Days, and the ULM Student Nurses Association. The museum has also provided internships and employed ULM students from various academic programs to help with events and day-to-day activities. Numerous ULM faculty and staff have also served as board members The move to Forsythe Park After almost 23 years, the current location of the “Purple Box of Fun” on Walnut Street has its fair share of challenges as it has seen a lot of wear and tear in the form of hands-on fun. The transition to a new, more centralized location is the key to the future success of The Children’s Museum. A cooperative endeavor agreement with the City of Monroe has been reached, and plans are in place to build a 20,000-square-foot facility in Forsythe Park to be the new home of The Children's Museum.

The focus will continue to be a place where children can experience the diversity of our city and be a vital resource for schools in our region.

www.ulm.edu

It is an opportunity to re-imagine a new space and an exciting future collection of exhibits embracing the culture of our region, as well as expanded programming and outreach opportunities. This vision will ensure more interactive play, up-to-date exhibits, and shared spaces that foster a community of innovation where all children can learn, connect, and grow through play.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PARK BY SUE NICHOLSON

INTO THE FUTURE BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PARK TO REVOLUTIONIZE REGION WITH R&D

I

n 2021, the Biomedical Research and Innovation Park was created by a new nonprofit organization in collaboration with the University of Louisiana Monroe, ULM College of Pharmacy, and the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.

www.ulm.edu

The mission of BRIP is to foster and grow biotechnology-based start-up companies and other compatible businesses to increase investment in the community and create new jobs for Northeast Louisiana.

BRIP was developed to respond to the importance of innovation for sustained economic growth and competitiveness in today’s global and knowledge-based economy. BRIP is working closely with ULM, ULM College of Pharmacy, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), cities of Monroe and West Monroe, Ouachita Parish Police Jury, Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Technolog y Transfer, North Louisiana Economic Partnership, Northeast Louisiana Economic


23 illustration courtesy of Holyfield Construction, INC

Alliance, Monroe and West Monroe-West Ouachita chambers of commerce, and private businesses.

A sense of place for ideas, enterprise

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PARK

Research and innovation parks nurture collaborative research between universities and private companies and create an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, leading to the commercialization of products or processes. This interaction can include providing internship and employment opportunities for students and the community and sharing facilities, equipment, and research labs at the research park.

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

These organizations have joined together to establish BRIP to work with businesses to develop and commercialize biomedical technologies and spinoff companies in pharmacology and other disciplines to create jobs, develop new businesses, and enhance the economy of Northeast Louisiana.

In Monroe, BRIP will develop a “sense of place” for entrepreneurs, innovators, and private companies interested in biotechnology research and innovation. BRIP is developing more than 10 acres adjoining the College of Pharmacy on Bienville Avenue. Plans include a 60,000-square-foot building for offices, laboratories, and research space for labs for ULM Pharmacy, VCOM, and private biotech companies. The park will have room to accommodate additional buildings.

About

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PARK The mission of BRIP is to foster and grow biotechnology-based start-up companies and other compatible businesses to increase investment in the community and create new jobs for Northeast Louisiana. BRIP Partners • University of Louisiana Monroe • ULM College of Pharmacy • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) • City of Monroe • City of West Monroe • Ouachita Parish Police Jury • Louisiana Economic Development • Louisiana Technology Transfer • North Louisiana Economic Partnership • Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance • West Monroe - West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce • Private businesses

Commercialization developed in a research park can have a measurable economic impact on a community, including new investment and job creation. Through collaboration and networking, BRIP can help build a development pipeline that can become a key economic driver for Northeast Louisiana as companies commercialize new products and establish new businesses. BRIP is a 501 (C)3 nonprofit with a board of directors representing various organizations in the community. Joe Holyfield serves as chairman. Dr. Ray Armstrong serves as the vice-chairman, Amanda Hatten Edge serves as the treasurer, and Virendra Chhikara serves as the executive director. At this time, BRIP has an office on the ULM campus. Once the new building is constructed, the BRIP office will relocate to the new facility.

www.ulm.edu

• Monroe Chamber of Commerce

The Small Business Development Center at ULM will have an office to create and manage an incubator for biomedical-related businesses. The SBDC will also provide services to all companies in the park. The goal is for many of these enterprises to commercialize university research and open businesses in the region.


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ulm.edu/brick

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

Order a ULM Commemorative Brick today! Leave your legacy and become a part of ULM forever! The University of Louisiana Monroe invites you to add your personal touch to the Scott Plaza Fountain. Purchase your Commemorative ULM Brick to: THE WELLSPRING

CELEBRATE commencements or other milestones HONOR a family member or influential person in your life CREATE a meaningful message for future generations of students, educators and leaders A Commemorative ULM Brick will inspire others to leave their legacy at Scott Plaza. Your brick purchase is 100% tax-deductible! All brick sales are available to the public.

700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209

www.ulm.edu

SCAN* & ORDER! *Open the camera app from your device's home screen. Hold your device so that the QR code appears in the camera app's viewfinder. Your device recognizes the QR code and shows a notification. Tap the notification to open the link associated with the QR code.

For your convenience, purchases can be made online: ulm.edu/brick

Leave your legacy with a Commemorative ULM Brick


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

COLLEGE OF PHARMACY

LET THE NATURE BE YOUR GUIDE Featured trails, covered pavilion, restrooms, photo ops, and scenic overlooks.

A beautiful 70-acre forest and wetland park with several overlooks and a 1.2-mile stone trail for jogging, walking, or relaxing. Surrounds a scenic lake with native cypress trees.

cityofwestmonroe.com 700 Downing Pines, West Monroe

www.ulm.edu

FREE TO THE PUBLIC Open Dawn to Dusk 365 Days a Year


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

COLLEGE OF HEALTH & PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES

www.ulm.edu

photo by Siddharth Gaulee


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

COLLEGE OF HEALTH & PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES

THE ANNUAL MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE www.ulm.edu

The University of Louisiana Monroe and Louisiana Delta Community College partnered for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project on March 17, 2022. Students, faculty, and staff participating in the service project came together for a day of final preparation for spring planting of the Esther Gallow Community Garden. For more than a decade, volunteers from ULM and LDCC have partnered on MLK Day of Service to address a specific need in Northeast Louisiana. This year’s creation of the Esther Gallow Community Garden expands one day of volunteerism to an ongoing effort by a coalition of public and private organizations to build, plant, and maintain this vegetable and flower garden for the community to enjoy. The garden is located across from Booker T. Washington Senior Village Apartments at 1401 Sherrouse St. Sponsors include ULM, LDCC, the City of Monroe, Ochsner LSU Health Monroe, Russell-Moore Lumber, Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart, Roy N. Shelling Sr. Elementary School, and ULM School of Construction Management.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

COLLEGE OF HEALTH CAMPUS & PHARMACEUTICAL NEWS SCIENCES

Over 11,000 artifacts. All wars from Civil War to Iraqi Freedom. » Disabled American Veterans Association has aided local veterans to receive over $2,000,000 worth of additional benefits, with a van service to Jackson, Miss. » A partnership with the Library of Congress Veterans Oral History program (LOB). Histories are collected from local veterans and become part of the LOB data base. » Community events all through the year.

Our education programs are vital to our future. » STEM/STEAM based scavenger hunts and lesson plans are offered. » Play stations offer hands-on access. » Partnership with the WWII Museum and a judging precinct for National History Day.

www.ulm.edu

chennaultmuseum.org 701 Kansas Lane | Monroe, Louisiana 71203 Museum & Gift Shop Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | 318.362.5540


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COLLEGE UNITED OF HEALTH WAY OF&NORTHEAST PHARMACEUTICAL LOUISIANA SCIENCES

photo by Paul Ware

BY UNITED WAY OF NORTHEAST LOUISIANA

UNITED WAY OF NORTHEAST LOUISIANA

CHANGING LIVES IN NELA

FOR 66 YEARS UNITED WAY NELA'S VALUES ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2002 ARE INCLUSIVENESS, INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, RESPECT, DIGNITY, AND POSITIVE IMPACT.

S

Leadership Serving as president of United Way NELA since 1985, Janet S. Durden provides leadership to a dedicated group of professionals who work to implement the vision of the board of directors. The United Way of NELA Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers who provide leadership, policy setting and strategic direction, overseeing financial practices, operational issues, resource development, and community impact. ▶

www.ulm.edu

ince 1956, United Way of Northeast Louisiana has been the unifying force that brings together passionate individuals, businesses, government entities, and nonprofits to create positive, lasting change, improve lives, and strengthen the 12 parishes of Northeast Louisiana. In an effort to identify and respond to the community's most critical needs, United Way NELA developed community aspirations, strategies, and goals focused on education, financial stability, and health – the building blocks for a better quality of life.


30

photos courtesy of United Way of Northeast Louisiana

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

To view United Way NELA's Executive Committee and Board of Directors, visit unitedwaynela.org/boardofdirectors. "Our board members ensure accountability and that United Way is focused on our community's aspirations and achieving measurable results," said Amy Sawyer, board chair. ULM alumnae on staff at the United Way of NELA: • Kim Lowery, United Way NELA Director of Strategy, Bachelor of Science in Social Work ('06)

COLLEGE UNITED OF HEALTH WAY OF&NORTHEAST PHARMACEUTICAL LOUISIANA SCIENCES

• Coty Nolan, United Way NELA Resource Development Associate, Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in chemistry ('18) and Master of Science in Biology ('20) • Raya Boyte-Starnes, United Way NELA Community Impact Associate, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science ('18)

Janet S. Durden

President, United Way of NELA

About MISSION AND VALUES United Way of Northeast Louisiana is focused on helping people and improving communities. The organization relies on experienced volunteers, loyal donors, effective partner agencies, and dedicated staff to help achieve its vision for a better Northeast Louisiana. United Way NELA's values adopted by the Board of Directors in 2002 are inclusiveness, integrity, compassion, respect, dignity, and positive impact.

Amy Sawyer

Chair, United Way of NELA Board of Directors www.ulm.edu


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

About UNITED WAY NELA AND ULM PARTNERSHIPS • "Take Flight Through Reading" promotes literacy for third graders • ULM's Social Work program is a pipeline for United Way NELA 211 staff and interns • ULM shows exceptional volunteerism through VolunteerUNITED • ULM's College of Business and Social Sciences participates with United Way NELA's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Dollars and $ense • ULM's workplace campaign reflects outstanding generosity, resulting in a campaign that topped $50,000 in 2021

COLLEGE UNITED OF HEALTH WAY OF&NORTHEAST PHARMACEUTICAL LOUISIANA SCIENCES

ULM alumnae working with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana are, from left, Raya Boyte-Starnes, Community Impact Associate, Coty Nolan, Resource Development Associate, and Kim Lowery, Director of Community Impact & Organizational Strategy.

photo by Jeanette Robinson

Partnerships with ULM In 2021, United Way NELA was honored to be asked by the University of Louisiana Monroe to develop a concept for a significant volunteer project that would impact the community. The collaboration "Take Flight through Reading" was chosen because it brought ULM, local elementary schools, and United Way NELA together to address elementary school reading competency. The project also introduced elementary students to the many assets of the university. ULM's original book, "There's a Bridge on the Bayou," authored and illustrated by ULM staff, featured ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry telling how education and ULM changed his life. More than 100 ULM and United Way NELA volunteers presented the book to over 2,000 area third graders. Other United Way NELA and ULM partnerships are: • ULM's Social Work program is a pipeline for United Way NELA 211 staff and interns • ULM shows exceptional volunteerism through VolunteerUNITED • ULM's College of Business and Social Sciences participates with United Way NELA's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Dollars and $ense • ULM's workplace campaign reflects outstanding generosity, resulting in a campaign that topped $50,000 in 2021 Looking to the future United Way NELA is excited about the future and has bold plans to continue making a difference in the community. A few of these plans include: • Deepening and broadening 211 services

• Continuing to support initiatives like READ.LEARN. SUCCEED., which has expanded to reach 18 schools in six school districts.

www.ulm.edu

• Expanding community services that help Northeast Louisiana residents become more financially stable


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

T

LSBDC AT ULM

he Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana Monroe offers free, confidential consulting to existing and potential business owners. The services of the LSBDC at ULM are at no cost and available to established business people and budding entrepreneurs and those in between to help guide them to success. Experienced, professional consultants analyze the market and find new customers for businesses. Staff members can assist in identifying strategies to build brands in a growing economy. Turning ideas into profitable business ventures through oneon-one consulting is a powerful service for first-time business owners. In 2021, LSBDC at ULM counseled 300 clients and had 70 new in-business clients for the year. Training attendance was at an all-time high, surpassing the fiscal year

goal of 444 attendees with 468 attendees at events. LSBDC at ULM reached its goal of $7.2 million in capital infusion for the 2021 fiscal year. LSBDC at ULM also provides business training in multiple locations across Louisiana. With local and virtual workshops on various business-related topics, frequent training gives people the power to start or grow their businesses. Topics include financial planning, bookkeeping, marketing, legal issues, technology, and more. LSBDC at ULM frequently runs accelerated programs developed to help new entrepreneurs launch their business and programs designed for established business owners to increase their knowledge and learn through peer-to-peer sessions. LSBDC at ULM also works closely with government institutions to provide information regarding government contracting, such as becoming

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certified. LSBDC at ULM is a partner and participant in local events and projects, working closely with universities, chambers of commerce, mayors’ offices, and other economic development organizations to reach the small business community in Northeast Louisiana. Director Virendra Chhikara earned his Master of Business Administration from ULM in 2009. As a graduate student, he worked at LSBDC at ULM and was hired after completing his degree. His expertise is in strategic planning, financial planning, market research, business development, international trade, and analytical research and development. Senior Business Consultant Christina Davis holds a BBA in Finance from ULM. She helps start-ups and growth-oriented businesses reach their

www.ulm.edu


photo by Jeanette Robinson

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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

Virendra Chhikara, MBA, is director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at ULM. He began his career as a graduate student working at the LSBDC at ULM.

About

full potential.

LSBDC at ULM has worked with educational institutions to help students with financial literacy, professionalism, and business planning programs. Seminar series inform students focused on entrepreneurship, marketing, banking, real estate, and branding by partnering with local institutions.

LSBDC The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana Monroe was created in 1977 as an outreach service of the College of Business & Social Sciences. The program became fully operational in 1983.

LSBDC MISSAT ULM ULM

Special Projects Coordinator Katrina Branson earned a BBA in Finance at ULM and holds an MPA from Grambling and 30+ doctoral hours. Branson is responsible for the Small and Emerging Business Development Program. Training Coordinator Taylor Nelson attended the Louisiana Scholars College at Northwestern State University and studied international relations in Estonia. Nelson connects creative entrepreneurs, providing educational workshops and events to help them achieve their goals.

LSBDC at ULM serves Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, and West Carroll parishes. Area Partners • Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce • Monroe Chamber of Commerce • West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce • Union Parish Chamber of Commerce • Winnsboro/Franklin Parish Chamber of Commerce • North Louisiana Economic Partnership • Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance • West Carroll Parish Chamber of Commerce • Madison Parish Chamber of Commerce

BY LSBDC AT ULM

LSBDC AT ULM INFUSES

www.ulm.edu

$7.2 MILLION IN BUSINESS CAPITAL AND COUNSELS 300 CLIENTS IN 2021


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

Open Daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission $1 Per Person

ULM FOUNDATION

820 Kiroli Road West Monroe

www.ulm.edu

PAVED TRAILS • AMPHITHEATER & BAND STAND • RAISING CANE’S DOG PARK CIVITAN SMILES PARK • MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS • TENNIS COURTS PLAYGROUNDS • SHELTERS AND LODGE AVAILABLE FOR RENT

kirolipark.com


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OUACHITA PARISH SCHOOLS

photo by Paul Ware

O

uachita Parish Schools encompasses 37 campuses with more than 2,600 employees serving around 18,000 diverse students. Our schools consistently meet or exceed accountability growth targets, keeping the system ranked in the top echelons of School Performance Scores issued by the Louisiana Department of Education. Spring 2021 accountability results showed remarkable growth across the district even amidst the pandemic. Twelve schools raised School Performance Scores. LDOE recognized 13 schools as Top Gains Schools for demonstrating exceptional student growth, earning an "A" for student progress, and ensuring that students met or exceeded their learning goals. Our proficiency percentage of students scoring at mastery and above on standardized exams remains above the state average in all subjects. The system maintains a district performance score of "B" with an increased commitment to growth and success in all classrooms.

Partnerships with the University of Louisiana Monroe afford dual enrollment opportunities for students to earn college credit in high school. The system embraces ▶

BY SUPERINTENDENT DR. DON COKER

OUACHITA PARISH SCHOOLS

PREPARING STUDENTS TO EXCEL IN A GLOBAL SOCIETY

www.ulm.edu

In addition to core subjects, students enjoy courses designed for learning technology, mastering art and music, maintaining physical education, and a multitude of advanced classes for academically gifted students. Every high school has implemented extensive vocational and agricultural programs.


36

photo by Emerald McIntyre

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

About OUACHITA PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM The Ouachita Parish School System works very closely with ULM to recruit and retain many of the area's best teachers.

OUACHITA PARISH SCHOOLS

The system collaborates with ULM as an alternative certification provider to add an additional pool of qualified teachers to staff our campuses. Learn more at opsb.net, Facebook.com/ OuachitaParishSchools and on the Ouachita Parish Schools app.

Ouachita Parish Schools work closely with the University of Louisiana Monroe to recruit and retain many of the best educators in the region.

alternative curriculums to enhance academic choices for all students and employs many advanced technology initiatives to enrich learning and communications. With stateof-the-art computer labs and classrooms, the updated technology keeps today's digitallyminded youth engaged in learning.

www.ulm.edu

Employing more than 2,600 full-time and hundreds of part-time staff, Ouachita Parish Schools is one of the largest employers in the region. The district works very closely with ULM to recruit and retain many of the area's best teachers. Facing a statewide shortage of certified teachers has led to an initiative to "grow our own" by encouraging careers in education as a pathway for students to consider in high school. Furthermore, the system collaborates with ULM as an alternative certification provider to add an additional pool of qualified teachers to staff our campuses. In total, the Ouachita Parish School Board maintains a $250 million budget.

“Our schools consistently meet or exceed accountability growth targets, keeping the system ranked in the top echelons of School Performance Scores issued by the Louisiana Department of Education.” – SUPERINTENDENT DR. DON COKER

Our employees embrace sound financial management practices in every facet of operations. The system's Business Department has been recognized consistently for 33 years of Excellence in Financial Reporting. Through election referendums such as passing bond issue proposals to build new schools, voters acknowledge that school system leaders are conscientious stewards of public funds, and decisions are made with the best interests of students in mind. Ouachita Parish Schools’ leaders remain steadfast in priorities to best prepare students for their futures. The top priority for the district is safety. Working closely with first responders and the community, our schools maintain healthy environments on secure campuses where students enjoy learning and achieve great successes. Our district's equal priority and academic goal are to improve literacy across the curriculum. When all students read, comprehend, and respond on grade level, we have provided the foundation for them to succeed throughout their school years and into higher education and the workforce. Ouachita Parish Schools are building bridges to the future.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

ULM FOUNDATION

www.ulm.edu


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BY MONROE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

MONROE CITY SCHOOLS PREPARING STUDENTS WITH

"FOUNDATIONS FOR T

he Monroe City School District, under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Brent Vidrine, is a diverse, dynamic learning community serving approximately 8,200 students in 19 schools within the city limits of Monroe.

MONROE CITY SCHOOLS

As an urban school district in Louisiana, MCS utilizes a rigorous, well-rounded set of instructional and learning strategies to meet students' individual needs. MCS offers a full range of courses in the core subject areas, the arts, physical education, technology, and STEM. Student learning is the highest priority for MCS teachers, support staff, and administrators. Over the years, MCS has produced numerous National Merit Scholars, scholarship recipients, and Advanced Placement students. Many of these students are awarded scholarships each year at our partner university, the University of Louisiana Monroe. The district has a robust dual enrollment partnership with ULM. Each semester, approximately 200 high school students earn almost 1,000 credit hours on secondary and post-secondary campuses through dual enrollment. Qualifying students may participate in dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses and gifted and talented programs. Through partnerships, MCS prepares students to meet the needs of local and regional companies that need a skilled workforce. In partnership with ULM, the district offers students the opportunity to participate in the Educators Rising program, which allows students to complete coursework and projects to prepare them for a career in education at ULM.

www.ulm.edu

To celebrate ULM's ninth president, Dr. Ron Berry, and instill the importance of reading in elementary school students, ULM and the United Way of Northeast Louisiana brought MCS third-graders to campus for "Take Flight Through Reading." The students were given a copy of the original book, "There's a Bridge on the Bayou," which included a $500 scholarship to use when they enroll at ULM.

Maggie Generoso, a first grade teacher at Cypress Point University Elementary School, teaching at eye level with her young students.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

R THE FUTURE" About MCS-ULM PARTNERSHIPS Through ULM's dual enrollment program, approximately 200 students in the Monroe City School District earn almost 1,000 college credit hours each semester.

MONROE CITY SCHOOLS

MCS partners with ULM's School of Education's Educators Rising program to prepare high school students to become the educators of tomorrow. To celebrate the investiture of ULM President Dr. Ron Berry, ULM and the United Way of Northeast Louisiana brought MCS third-graders to campus for "Take Flight Through Reading." Teachers in Monroe City Schools instruct approximately 8,200 students in 19 schools each day. MCS teachers actively engage with students to meet their instructional needs.

photos by Emerald McIntyre

Through its JumpStart program, TOPS Tech, students on high school campuses can earn certifications in various career and technical fields including AutoCAD, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), certified nursing assistant, medical technolog y, certification for manufacturing, and welding.

For parents, MSC offers 24-hour access to dedicated MCS applications – Parent Command Center and the MCS app – to keep track of grades, attendance, homework,

Monroe City Schools seeks to provide well-rounded, attractive, award-winning, and safe campuses. Schools have access to resource officers, counselors, other community support personnel, and identification systems at all schools to ensure the campuses are secure. The mental and physical well-being of the students is a top priority in the district. The goal for MCS is to graduate students who have mastered the skills necessary for their next steps in life. The MCS's focus for its students and the community is to lay "Foundations for the Future," and our partnerships with the University of Louisiana Monroe help meet that mission.

www.ulm.edu

MCS offers state-of-the-art technology, from the latest SmartBoards in every classroom to a 1-to-1 computer-student ratio. Students utilize software applications and data banks to access of-the-moment information, solve real-world problems, and creatively engage with peers.

and more. These systems allow the district to notify parents of news, announcements, meetings, reminders, and other key issues.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

THE WELLSPRING

BY THE WELLSPRING

About STRONG S: Service – I act with a servant’s heart to contribute meaningfully to the wellbeing of others. T: Teamwork – I willingly help my teammates. R: Respect – I recognize the dignity, worth, and importance of others. O: Open-heartedness – I am kind, caring, and compassionate. N: Integrity – I am honest and ethical in all that I do.

www.ulm.edu

G: Growth – I embrace challenges and change with a positive attitude.

THE WELLSPRING

CHANGES LIVES

BY HELPING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES FACING CHALLENGES

F

ounded in 1931, The Wellspring is one of the state’s oldest and most effective nonprofits. With service locations across Northeast Louisiana, The Wellspring changes lives in the community by helping individuals and families from all walks of life to overcome challenges, identify resources and develop workable solutions. Each day, the mission is at work through the comprehensive, professional services offered. These include counseling and mental health services, residential and nonresidential services

for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, housing and supportive services for veterans and others who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and mentoring and positive youth development programming. The Wellspring has long-standing partnerships with the University of Louisiana Monroe. Many of the staff are graduates of ULM’s School of Behavioral and Social Sciences (social workers) and School of Allied Health (marriage and family therapists). Students in


41 Left: The Wellspring headquarters on Jackson Street in Monroe. photo courtesy of The Wellspring

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

The staff at The Wellspring, from left, Christy Gwin, Lisa Longenbaugh, Eileen Storz, Caroline Cascio, Cindy Roach, Valerie Bowman and Kristie Hodges.

photo by Paul Ware

these schools often intern at The Wellspring.

Robert Hanser, Ph.D., ULM Professor of Criminal Justice and program coordinator, serves on The Wellspring’s SAFE (Stop Abusive Family Environments) Task Force.

About

An experienced management team and a talented, professional staff carry out the day-today operations of the organization: President/ CEO Caroline Cascio, LPC, LMFT; Senior Director and Director of Professional Services, Lisa Longenbaugh, LPC, LMFT; Director of Domestic Violence Program and Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish Valerie Bowman, MS, RSW; Director of Financial and Administrative Services Christy Gwin, GMCP; Director of Homeless Services Kristie Hodges, RSW; Director of Rural Victim Services Cindy Roach, RSW; and Director of Human Resources Eileen Storz.

THE WELLSPRING

The Wellspring programs and services are under the direction of a competent, knowledgeable board of directors, including Cody Bauman, chair, Darian Atkins, chairelect, Cindy Gordon, treasurer, Aimee Kane, secretary, Heather Guillot, member-at-large, Dean Baugh, Donecia Banks-Miley, Judy Bell, LaTanga Blackson, Mona Crawford, Christina Davis, James Doughty, Melissa Ducote, Ashley Ellis, Charles Gardner, Gloria George, Bill Hendrix, Justin Higdon, Perry Stringfellow, and Tammy Washington. Learn more about The Wellspring’s vast array of services by visiting the website at wellspringofnela.org. Organizations and individuals are invited to partner with The Wellspring to change our community, one life at a time.

The Wellspring and ULM have long-standing partnerships: The Wellspring is on ULM's Title IX Task Force The Wellspring, ULM, and the United Way of Northeast Louisiana have a two-year Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Campaign ULM Professor Robert Hanser, Ph.D., serves on The Wellspring SAFE (Stop Abusive Family Environments) Task Force ULM is a partner for the Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish ULM graduates from the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and School of Allied Health are staff members of The Wellspring

www.ulm.edu

The Wellspring is a part of ULM’s Title IX Task Force, currently working with the university and United Way of NELA on a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Campaign for the next two years. ULM is a part of the Sexual Assault Response Team of Ouachita Parish.

Leadership

THE WELLSPRING

ULM is a partner for the Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish, where The Wellspring serves as the lead agency.


MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE photo by Emerald McIntyre

I

t is a beautiful day in Monroe, Louisiana, and it is a beautiful future ahead of us.

The Monroe Chamber of Commerce's mission is to create an environment where our "LOCAL Businesses THRIVE!" For more than 100 years, we've been doing exactly that, and we're just getting started. You can look around our city and region and see our influences in almost every aspect of life. Infrastucture and partnerships

BY MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.ulm.edu

CHAMPIONING A NEW ERA OF EXPANSION AND GROWTH

Take a ride down Tower Drive to shop or take a trip over the 18th Street bridge as you head to Pecanland Mall or I-20, and you can thank past chamber leadership for pushing those projects through completion. Phase I and Phase II of the Kansas Lane Connector are starting, and we are working with our partners at the city to secure final funding for Phase 3.


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ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

photos courtesy of Monroe Chamber of Commerce

The members of the Leadership Ouachita Class of 2022 are part of a Monroe Chamber of Commerce tradition that began in 1988. Leadership Ouachita works with the emerging leaders of Northeast Louisiana to help them develop and transform the region.

Partnerships between the business community, K-12, and higher education are strong thanks to your chamber bringing everyone together. Through hard work and relationship-building, the chamber's Governmental Advocacy Committee is the "go-to" group for taxing bodies in our parish. The chamber has fought hard to keep the tax burdens off area businesses and residents. Expanding your chamber At our planning retreat last November 2021, our board of directors expanded our areas of work, staying true to our mission. In addition to our work in infrastructure, governmental activities, workforce and education, you will see our influences in healthcare, diversity, technology, nonprofits, small business, and member value. Our businesses will thrive when every resident in our community thrives.

www.ulm.edu

Attending a LABI Legislative Update on March 8 were, from left, Dr. Ray Morrison of VCOM, Josh Hays of Lazenby and Associates and West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman, ULM President Dr. Ron Berry, Louisiana Delta Community College President Dr. Randy Esters, Terry Baugh of D&J Construction, Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis, Stephen Waguespack of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and Roy Heatherly, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. The Monroe Chamber hosted the event where Waguespack was the guest speaker.

Thanks to programs like Leadership Ouachita and Young Professionals, new leaders are being introduced to our community and are getting involved. Our ambassadors are out in force celebrating our members and local business. The chamber is ramping up our presence in social media, and we are finding ways to celebrate our ▶


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MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

photo courtesy of Monroe Chamber of Commerce

“We are honored to be part of this great city and community. Our best days are ahead of us, and we can't wait to see all the great things that happen. Truly 'The Best is Yet to Come!'” www.ulm.edu

– ROY HEATHERLY PRESIDENT / CEO

community. We continue to work with elected officials to secure funding for our region, and we are consistently finding ways for you to network or be informed.

The Monroe Chamber of Commerce hosted a workshop on "Overcoming Diversity & Inclusion" by Alberta Green. Pictured, from left, are, Latetao Hutchinson, Kris Kelley, Kirsten Gladen, Christina Davis, Alberta Green, E.J. Maxwell, Tania Hilburn, and Roy Heatherly.

There is a buzz of excitement in our great city and region. New leadership in both cities, at the chambers, at the University of Louisiana Monroe, and Louisiana Delta Community College sets a tone of collaboration and growth. A river runs through it The chamber believes deeply in this region and the power of our people. Our diverse cultures make us strong. The beautiful Ouachita River unites us and is our greatest asset. The chamber's motto of "Together We are Stronger" has never been more true. We are proud to stand on the shoulders of past great business leaders, and we are proud to partner with new leadership as we move this community forward. We are honored to be part of this great city and community. Our best days are ahead of us, and we can't wait to see all the great things that happen. Truly "The Best is Yet to Come!"

About MISSION • Infrastructure • Governmental activities • Workforce and education • Healthcare • Diversity • Technology • Nonprofits • Small businesses • Member value


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MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

www.ulm.edu


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DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

BY DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

IS WORKING TO BRING VISITORS TO ULM AND OUACHITA PARISH

I

Convention and Visitors Bureau rebranded to Discover Monroe-West Monroe. The brand focuses on new opportunities, bridging gaps, and thinking outside the lines.

radiating lines reflect ripples of water, and the marquis dots shine a light on entertainment. Standing alone, the letters depict one chapter, but together, they are able to tell the full story.

The mission of the CVB is to attract conventions and tourists to the area. Our staff promotes Ouachita Parish as a tourist destination to meeting planners, sport planners, and leisure travelers. Alana Cooper serves as President/CEO, and Mickey Merritt is chair of the board of directors.

A new, fresh logo crowns the new brand. This logo was crafted to invoke the unique opportunities and experiences that ebb, flow, and come together to create the Twin Cities of Monroe and West Monroe. Though the cities are different, the logo was developed to establish equality. Rather than being divided, Monroe and West Monroe are bridged together with an eclectic and vibrant type treatment. Each letter design has meaning the stencil represents industrial roots, the

The tagline itself is placed to visually represent its meaning, while the word "Discover" is playfully laid out as a discovery of its own.

n 1976, the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau of Ouachita Parish was created by state statute to serve as the marketing arm for the cities of Monroe-West Monroe and all of Ouachita Parish.

www.ulm.edu

In 2020, the Monroe-West Monroe

Discover Monroe-West Monroe and the University of Louisiana at Monroe partner on several events and projects throughout the year. The excellent facilities at ULM allow DMWM to host multiple successful events each year. Baseball tournaments, powerlifting, ▶


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DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

photo by Paul Ware

ALANA COOPER

PRESIDENT / CEO

www.ulm.edu


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meets, and the annual tourism luncheon are just a few events held on the campus. DMWM is proud to have invested in ULM. Through the organization's grant program, funds have been awarded to update University Park, Warhawk Field, Heard Tennis Stadium, Brown Stadium, and much more.

DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

DMWM has consistently worked with marketing, communications, business, and kinesiology departments to offer internships to ULM students within the tourism industry. Through the years, many of the interns from ULM go on to develop their careers by gaining a vast array of knowledge while working at the bureau. ULM alumni who are staff members at Discover MWM include Sheila Snow ('01, '21), Scott Bruscato ('92, '94), Addison White ('19), Krystle Ivey ('18), Clinton Coleman ('20, '22), Allie Doss ('22) and Claire Stapp ('20).

About GRANT PROGRAM BENEFITS ULM Through the Discover Monroe-West Monroe grant program, funds have been awarded to update University Park, Warhawk Field, Heard Tennis Stadium, Brown Stadium, and more.

Discover MWM Board Members who are ULM graduates are Norene Smith ('73, '80), Elmer Noah ('75, '87, President of ULM Alumni Association), and Jordan Guillot ('09, '10).

SCOTT BRUSCATO SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES

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VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS

ULMMAGAZINE SPRING 2022

SHEILA M. SNOW

ADDISON WHITE

MULTIMEDIA CONTENT DEVELOPER

DISCOVER MONROE-WEST MONROE

ALLIE DOSS

COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT

CLAIRE STAPP SALES & EVENT DEVELOPER

CLINTON COLEMAN SALES ASSISTANT

KRYSTLE IVEY

OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATOR

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Alice M. Prophit is President and CEO of the Living Well Foundation, as well as an alumna of the University of Louisiana Monroe.

LIVING WELL FOUNDATION

T

BY LIVING WELL FOUNDATION

he Living Well Foundation is a local nonprofit public charity providing grants and initiatives within Northeast Louisiana.

Created from the sale of Glenwood Regional Medical Center in 2006, the foundation provides funding for programs and services to improve the health and well-being of the populations in its eightparish service area. The foundation works towards its mission under agreements established with the Hospital Service District #1 and the Ouachita Parish Policy Jury at the time of the original sale. Since 2008, more than $7,130,800 has been awarded to nonprofit agencies, including parish hospitals, medical clinics, state universities and colleges, government, and charitable organizations. The foundation has a 12-member board of directors, including Dr. Bob Huffstutter, Brandon Welch, Dr. Dave N. Norris, Jr., Melanie Massey Groves, Pamela Michelle Getret-Ford, Rick McMillon, and University of Louisiana Monroe alumna Alberta Green, Chris Pittard, Christine Rambo, Jim Allbritton, Ken Phillips, and Lori Allen. Staff members are President/CEO Alice M. Prophit and Monica B. Turner, executive assistant, both ULM alumnae. The foundation’s strategic activities include identifying gaps in access to healthcare, where opportunities present for healthy lifestyle programs, and where services may benefit at-risk children and youth. Providing health, dental care at schools

www.ulm.edu

The foundation supports school-based health centers and dental hygiene clinics through special initiatives addressing broad-based issues and significant impact. More than $2,183,000 has been funded towards establishing and growing school-based health centers, all sustainable through partnerships with other organizations. Within Northeast Louisiana, there are eight school-based health

LIVING WELL FOUNDATION

SUPPORTING THE M

AND MENTAL H


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About LIVING WELL FOUNDATION SUPPORTS ULM SERVICES The Living Well Foundation provides $782,700 for ULM’s community services. • Dental Hygiene

• Social services

• Pharmacy

• Nursing

• Occupational Therapy

• Marriage and Family Therapy

• Speech/Language Pathology

Dental hygiene services are provided in collaboration with the ULM Dental Hygiene Program through a mobile dental hygiene unit and a clinic at Riser Elementary/Middle schools. This partnership provides dental hygiene services free of charge and also provides the setting for the education and training of ULM dental hygiene students.

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centers in Ouachita, Morehouse, Richland, and Union parishes, all located on school campuses. Parents depend on these fully staffed clinical services for their children’s care while at school. Parents do not have to take time off from work to bring their children to medical and dental appointments.

Due to ULM’s beneficial community services and the university’s close relationship with the foundation, more than $782,700 has been funded to ULM departments, including dental hygiene, pharmacy, occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, social services, nursing, and marriage/family therapy. Partnering to improve life in NELA

LIVING WELL FOUNDATION

Networking or partnering with other funders, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana and WellAhead Louisiana Oral Health Promotion, allows the foundation to achieve an even more significant impact for Northeast Louisiana by leveraging its resources. The foundation also continues to work closely with business, education, healthcare, and government leaders to accomplish its mission and bring solutions to identified opportunities regarding health and well-being throughout Northeast Louisiana.

MEDICAL, DENTAL,

HEALTH OF NELA

During the COVID-19 and now in the post-pandemic ongoing impact and recovery, the foundation continues to seek opportunities to work towards improved outcomes for all people in the region. The importance of mental health recovery and support for all ages and socioeconomic groups will be at the forefront as the economy, local issues, and government responses continue to evolve. The foundation can be reached at 318-396-5066, with more information on its website, www.livingwellfoundation.net.

photos courtesy of The Living Well Foundation

www.ulm.edu

Monica B. Turner, a graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe, is the executive assistant with the Living Well Foundation.


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