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STLCC-Florissant Valley Neighborhood College Student Selected to Attend Presidential Inauguration

February 06, 2009

Victoria Brown  
Victoria Brown

The Stafford Foundation’s Peoples Inaugural Project provided hundreds of individuals from the St. Louis area with an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to witness the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Victoria Brown, North county resident and student in STLCC-Florissant Valley and the Urban League’s Neighborhood College Program, was told about the Peoples Inaugural Project by an Urban League employee. She, like the others who were selected to attend, submitted a story about a traumatic, painful incident in their lives. Brown wrote about being a victim of a violent assault.

"I was surprised," said Brown about being chosen. "I screamed, I hollered, I dropped the phone."

The Neighborhood College program is a partnership between STLCC-Florissant Valley and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. The program allows students undergoing hardships or obstructions in their lives the opportunity to participate in convenient, practical, and affordable college classes in their neighborhood. The students participate in 16 weeks of college preparation, including eight weeks of academic preparation with attention to math, reading and writing. The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis provides student scholarships.

"I felt so special, so blessed," Brown said of her experience at the inauguration.

The Stafford Foundation, founded in 2002 by Earl W. Stafford Sr., invested $1 million in the Peoples Inaugural Project. Participants attended a prayer breakfast with Dr. Shirley Caesar, a Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon with Jeff Majors, the People's Inaugural Ball, and the Inaugural Youth Ball. 

Of Neighborhood College, Brown says that she would definitely recommend the program to others, because of their helpfulness with walking participants through the entire skill-updating process.

"Vicki is well deserving of this experience," said Vivial Lopez, an instructor with the Neighborhood College program. "She is motivated and determined to make a difference. I'm confident that she will excel in college and be very successful in her career." 

Brown previously attended STLCC-Forest Park, but had to make the difficult decision to stop attending to balance work and motherhood. Since then, Brown has worked in various clerical positions.

“You get more personalized attention in the Neighborhood College program and the classes are held at the Urban League center which for me is more convenient right now than attending classes on the Florissant Valley campus,” said Brown.

"It's been good to get back into the college setting," she says of her return to her school.

Brown plans to obtain a degree in human services, as well as her bachelors and masters in social work.