New head of Vernon Community Network wears many hats
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Nov. 21, 2013
The Vernon Community Network – comprised of community-based, non-profit organizations, as well as the school system and some businesses – elected a new president in October. Terilynn Rogers, who also wears the hat of the Rockville Community Alliance's vice president, took the reins and said she has some learning to do, but is ready to hit the ground running to continue the programs of the VCN, while also keeping an eye on what changes it will need to make in the future.
"It's a little scary, but exciting at the same time," Rogers said. "I've been a volunteer for the last six years, so when I was approached to become the president, I was a little shocked, but honored. It's still a learning process going from being a volunteer to being the head honcho. Instead of hearing ideas and saying 'that sounds good,' I need to make sure that it is good. But, it's the people around me who have the knowledge and who know how to get from A to B."
The VCN has provided a wide range of services, including aid to people with housing issues, food assistance, WIC, and other needs. Recently, VCN member Vernon Regional Adult-Based Education held a workshop for people needing free legal advice. Rockville High School students needing to meet community service requirements frequently are utilized by the VCN for events and programs.
"I don't plan to re-invent the wheel," Rogers said, adding that one of the first thing the group will be examining will be the Community Plan, which is nearing the third year of its three-year implementation. The focus of the plan has been two-pronged. One focuses on the needs of families with young children, from birth to age 8, including school readiness programs.
People Empowering People is another new VCN program, in conjunction with the Tolland County 4-H organization, which engages people and trains them to be advocates for children and families
The second part of the plan focuses on the needs of people from age 9 to 18, and focuses on youths in the juvenile court system and combating truency.
"My goal, while continuing to enhance membership, is to work on the next phase of the Community Plan," Rogers said, adding that some discussion has begun to address the needs of adults and seniors.
"We'll need to discuss where we go with it after the three years are up," she said. "Do we want to take on adults and seniors? At our next meeting on Dec. 6, we're going to talk about that."
Rogers also said membership organizations will be encouraged to become more involved, especially in community events, such as National Night Out and July in the Sky.
"Any organization can be a member," she said. "At our last meeting, we were discussing how we would like to get more businesses involved. I'd also like to see businesses hire within the community and help with the local job market, even if they just need someone to come in at the end of the day and clean up."
Rogers also recently opened an office at 116 1/2 Grove St., which she primarily uses for her business as a Justice of the Peace and as a vendor for David's Bridal. She said she sees the space as a place to also network with other businesses.
"I've been home-based for about eight years, and I've been here since March," she said. "If you have a small business, and you don't feel comfortable meeting with people in your home, I'm here. Or anyone who is looking for a small, town hall-type wedding, they could come here."
Rogers is also the executive director/business manager for the Miss Greater Rockville Scholarship Organization, which is gearing up for its third annual competition in February. She sees the organization as another way to reach out to the community, promoting volunteerism, networking, community service and education to the young women of Vernon and surrounding towns.
"It's very interesting," she said, "to learn how the Miss America and Miss Connecticut organizations work. The scholarship money that is there gives you a whole different outlook. It's amazing what is available for young women. We hope more local girls become involved, and I would love for a local girl to become Miss Greater Rockville. It's up to the girls here in Rockville to participate and become a part of it, but there are a lot of opportunities for those who do, including scholarships for those who participate, win, lose or draw. Plus, it's eye-opening for girls to go through the interviews. It will help them later on."
Contact Terilyn Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.