Chantel Marsaw’s community center is the “best graduation gift ever”

When Chantel Marsaw enrolled in Alcorn State University’s School of Business program four years ago, she came on a mission to gain knowledge that would allow her to take her “It Still Takes A Village” organization to the next level. After all of the hard work and prayers, Chantel’s dream of catering to more students is finally a reality.

“When I first enrolled at Alcorn, I said to myself that I did not want to be just an ordinary student,” said Chantel. “I stayed focused and refused to let anyone tell me that I cannot do what I set out to do. That was, and still is, to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Chantel held the grand opening of the It Still Takes A Village Community Center Friday, April 15 in Natchez, Mississippi. The center, which is located in the VFW Building on Seargant S. Printiss Drive, provides tutoring, mentoring, support for the grieving, college preparation, employment, internships and much more. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Weekend hours will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Summer hours will be Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As Chantel reflected on the journey leading up to the grand opening of the center, she was overcome with joy and appreciation. She said that opening the center a few weeks before earning a bachelor’s degree is the best graduation gift she could ask for.

It feels amazing to finally have a building for my program,” said Chantel. “Opening the community center a few weeks before graduation is a special graduation gift for me. I worked my entire four years of college for this dream. It has been a long process, but it’s been worth it.”

From the beginning, the students have been the focal point of Chantel’s organization. Her purpose for the center is to offer a place where all students can come and voice their needs and concerns.

“So many of my students needed me and my board members for different reasons. So having a building allows us to know right away what they need when they come to us. We can handle every student’s need now, whether it’s food, clothes, gas money, supplies or just a listening ear. The building provides a safety net for those purposes.”

Thanks to her instructor, Mr. Willie C. Anderson, Chantel has the tools to be a successful businesswoman. She plans to enroll in Alcorn’s Master of Business program so that she can continue to carry out her vision for her organization and community center.

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