TFA members greeted with hospitality
by Elisabetta Zengaro
Jun 05, 2014 | 4251 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Both Delta State University and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to bring some southern hospitality to Teach For America members coming to the Delta this summer.

Teach For America is a national organization that recruits talented recent college graduates and professionals to move to a part of the country that needs teachers.

This is the fifth year DSU will host Teach For America.

This year, Leigh Emerson, coordinator of executive services at Delta State, said 600 members from all across the United States are coming to Delta.

Emerson said 185 members, who are part of the corps group, would stay in Mississippi to teach in the school districts for the next two years.

The official arrival day for TFA members is will be Sunday.

But the 185 corps group members arrived on Tuesday, Emerson said.

Delta Hospitality Night will be at the Delta Arts Alliance on Friday at 6:30 p.m. to welcome those corps members.

Delta Hospitality night was the “brainchild of Ed Kossman Jr. and Jo Parker,” said Judson Thigpen, executive director of the chamber.

Delta Hospitality Night is an event the chamber does, and Thigpen said they have about 40 volunteers who will participate.

Previously, community members served as hosts welcoming TFA members in their homes for a home-cooked meal, but this year, with a decline in the number of corps members, hospitality night will be held at one location.

Emerson said they would still have hosts provide food for Delta Hospitality Night.

Registration Day will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday near Wyatt Gym. Emerson said about 40 DSU faculty and staff members will be on hand to welcome TFA.

The chamber will join DSU in helping to register the TFA members.

Volunteers will pass out snow cones and drinks and greet the TFA members upon their arrival. The Boy Scouts will help move them into the residence halls.

“(We) help them carry things into the dorms and give them a packet of information of the community and include discount cards,” said Lisa Cooley, director of Team Cleveland/Main Street for the Chamber.

The discount cards encourage students to spend money at local businesses, Cooley said.

Sunday will also be the first “Sunday Fun Day,” Cooley said.

“Some restaurants will be open, and there will be games and live music on the green strip downtown,” Cooley said.

She added Fun Day is open to everyone and will occur each Sunday throughout the duration of June.

June 13 will be “Catfish on the Quad” from 6-9 p.m. on the Quadrangle at Delta State.

As catfish is part of traditional Southern cuisine, Emerson said they wanted to give the TFA members a Southern meal with catfish to welcome them to DSU.

She said 34 DSU faculty and staff members and the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department would serve as volunteers for the event.

On July 3, the chamber will host a barbeque cookout with a fireworks show at Statesmen Park.

The fireworks show, is open to the public, Thigpen said, but the cookout is something special for TFA members.

Cooley said the chamber and sponsors help pay for the fireworks.

While the city is in full force working to bring out the welcome wagon this weekend, TFA does benefit the community and Delta State by bringing tourism and business.

“Economically, it helps businesses,” Emerson said

“We get revenue from hosting them,” Emerson said. “Delta State offers graduate credit hours for those who attend, and in turn, they get IHL credit. It’s kind of a win-win.”