CIVIC alumni are always looking for opportunities to come together in order to make an impact in our community. COVID-19 has certainly called upon alumni to connect and make a difference.
A recent Virginian-Pilot Article explores the crucial role that Black churches hold in spreading information and promoting access to vaccines within their congregations. CIVIC alum, Board Member, and Senior Pastor of Ivy Baptist Church, Dr. Swann shares, “I am acutely aware that COVID is disproportionately impacting African-Americans at a much higher rate. In marginalized and underserved communities, access to health care is much more difficult to obtain.” Dr. Swann and fellow CIVIC Class of 2016 member, Dr. Lee Vreeland (President & CEO, An Achievable Dream), have partnered with Riverside Health Systems to expand vaccination clinics and bring the vaccine to the southeast community on the Peninsula.
They are working together to provide appointment registration facilitation and assistance, supplying volunteers to assist at the clinics and raising awareness about the clinics and the vaccine throughout the communities they work with every day. Qualifying patients book an appointment in advance, then go to either An Achievable Dream Middle and High School or An Achievable Dream Academy to receive their dose.
In response to the request to use An Achievable Dream’s facilities to expand the clinics, Dr. Lee Vreeland promptly stated, “The vaccination clinics at AAD were just a no-brainer to me. This is a community effort, we all have to come together and stop the spread, and we felt very passionate about doing our part.”
This truly has been a collaborative project and through the combined efforts of the cities, Riverside, Ivy Baptist Church and fellow faith communities, and An Achievable Dream almost 2,000 people have received a dose of the vaccine through the AAD clinics. Dr. Swann’s goal is to continue offer the vaccine, “to every resident in the Southeast Newport News community who desires to get it.”