BETHEL—Pitt Community College’s effort to bring programming to the Pitt County communities it serves took a leap forward June 2 with the signing of an agreement to provide services at the Bethel Youth Activity Center (BYAC).
The pact, which calls for the college to “enhance and expand the educational and life enrichment opportunities” of BYAC students, comes a month after PCC President Lawrence Rouse signed a similar agreement with the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina, Inc.
“Pitt Community College is committed to educational equity, and offering programming and services throughout Pitt County is one way to help us meet that objective,” Rouse said. “There are many potential barriers to getting an education, including transportation issues, work obligations and family commitments, so it’s critical for the college to meet students where they are to help remove some of these obstacles.”
Dr. Garrie Moore, BYAC’s CEO/Executive Director, says partnering with Pitt is “a positive step forward toward meeting the many needs of rural Pitt County citizens.” It opens doors, he said, to additional workforce development collaborations that don’t require Bethel residents to travel across the county for training.
A former PCC Dean of Students, Moore has long been an advocate of educational outreach efforts for minority students. In fact, in 2006, his friends and colleagues joined Southern Bank to establish the Garrie Moore Outreach Scholarship with the PCC Foundation to assist minority students in financial need.
Establishing the Bethel Youth Activity Center is Moore’s latest outreach effort. It required turning a former ABC Store on Main Street into a remote learning center.
The facility opened in November 2020, Moore said, to provide a safe place for youth to work and learn when they’re not in school. He said it also proved to be a boost for community morale.
“We have already seen an enhanced level of excitement and hope in this town,” Moore said, adding that BYAC services are available to all Bethel residents and include literacy enhancement, tutoring, mentoring, summer camps, and technology for students to connect with schools virtually.
In accordance with the agreement, PCC will offer general education, tutoring and character/leadership activities designed to prepare BYAC students for real-world experiences. The college will also offer career guidance, academic support and enrollment assistance.
For its part, BYAC will help the college identify students interested in participating in programming, ensure a safe and inviting learning environment for students and instructors, and hold students accountable for adhering to the PCC Student Code of Conduct and other policies and procedures. The center will also participate in a joint advisory board that meets regularly to review and strengthen the partnership.