AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties


Columbus County | South East AHEC

Valarie Farnum, parent, teacher, and club adviser for after-school program

As a parent, a teacher and an adviser for an after-school program, Valarie Farnum has been touched by South East AHEC (SEAHEC) in a number of ways. “Presently, I’m involved with AHEC more as an adviser for East Columbus High School ROCAME Club (Region “O” Council for the Advancement of Minorities in Engineering),” she said. “Some of our club members attended AHEC’s 2008 Future Leaders in Healthcare Conference at East Carolina University, and   ROCAME Club members were in attendance for this summer’s SAT workshop with Dr. Aicher.

“One of the many benefits of our club involvement with AHEC is the opportunity for students to connect with like minds from outside their own community.  Meeting new friends as a result of multi-county field trips provides another layer of exposure for students.  They begin to see a much more global sense of the need to work together and that people can come together.  Students often are very cliquish and tend to take school sport rivalry to mean they should not get to know students from other schools.   AHEC college tours and conferences are always a wonderful way for students who have not had many opportunities to see a much brighter and more hopeful picture of how much they can do with their lives.
“AHEC has provided speakers for our annual Great American Smoke Out.  Our club has hosted the campaign for the past five years.  AHEC connected me with the Question Why program which provided visuals and prizes for the students.

 “Every school year Cindy Meredith, SEAHEC’s director of health careers and workforce diversity, is invited to be a guest speaker at our monthly meeting.   I have encouraged other teachers in my school to seek and use the wealth of resources AHEC provides.”

Finally, AHEC has directly affected Farnum in another, more personal, way.  As she explains, “My daughter chose Winston-Salem State University as a direct result of an AHEC college tour.”