Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Harvest Foundation awards grant for child care in Martinsville, Henry County

The Harvest Foundation in Martinsville has awarded Smart Beginnings Martinsville Henry County a three-year grant of $1,176,443. This funding focuses on several objectives including increasing local childcare capacity, building a high-quality workforce in early childhood education, and implementing a literacy initiative to increase reading proficiency for students, according to a statement from the foundation.

Harvest is a long-time supporter of early childhood education as we believe the evidence that lifelong learning begins at birth and the earliest years of a child directly impacts how they will thrive the rest of their lives,” said Sheryl Agee, senior operating officer at The Harvest Foundation in a statement. “Building effective systems takes time but that commitment is rewarding when you can look back and see change occurring.”

A decade ago, no early learning programs in Martinsville-Henry County were part of the state rating system that supports early childhood providers, Agee said.

“Today, 89 percent of our dedicated local programs are actively participating, allowing them to get the support needed to deliver quality services, which further empowers parents with information to choose the program that best fits their child’s needs,” Agee added. “The childcare system still has many challenges around access, affordability, and even providing a living wage to those who care for our children. Harvest remains committed to being a partner at the table as we continue the work to build a strong early learning system that develops thriving youth, supports our workforce and ultimately our entire community.”

Smart Beginnings Martinsville Henry is one of 18 regional initiatives in Virginia working to ensure that all children entering kindergarten are healthy, well-cared for, and ready to learn. Find out more by visiting

The Harvest Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2002 by the sale of Memorial Hospital. 

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Bluefield University names athletic director

Corey Mulllins. Courtesy of Bluefield University.

Bluefield University President David Olive has announced that Corey  Mullins will serve as BU’s new director of athletics. Mullins came to Bluefield as head women’s basketball coach. Since his arrival he has also served as assistant  director of athletics, an adjunct professor, and a graduate program academic mentor.  

As head women’s basketball coach at BU, Mullins won more than 100 games. The Rams won back-to-back-to-back NCCAA Mid-East  Regional Championships and participated in the National Tournament in Winona Lake,  Indiana. He has also been named NCCAA Mid-East Region Coach of the Year in 2016,  2017, and 2018.

He succeeds Tonia Walker, who has accepted the position of Assistant Commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

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New River Community College program wins state award

New River Community College medical administrative support specialization associate of applied science degree program was recently selected as the state winner of the 2022 Creating Excellence Postsecondary Exemplary Program Award.  

The honor was awarded to the program by the Virginia Department of Education in partnership with the Virginia Community College System for exceptional and exemplary student career development, according to a release from the school.

NRCC’s medical administrative support specialization program degree supports one of the fastest growing career fields — healthcare. Rigorous coursework, complemented with project-based learning and industry based cooperative education and internships, prepares students to enter the healthcare industry as medical office assistants, medical billing analysts, patient access representatives, medical coding specialists, medical records coordinators, medical records technicians, and many other related occupations. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to take the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam and several Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications. 

For more information about the medical administrative support specialization program at NRCC, visit

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Danville Community College launches virtual tour

Danville Community College has launched the institution’s first ever online ‘Virtual Campus Tour.”

The interactive tour features multimedia touchpoints that viewers will experience as they traverse the DCC campus, including embedded videos introducing some of the College’s instructors, and a fully voiced tour guide. 

The tour is developed in a 360-degree format, which allows viewers to click and drag to look around any space they are exploring, similar to Google Street View. 

The virtual tour covers student-facing areas of the college campus, like admissions, the student center, the library, and a variety of hands-on lab areas, classrooms, outdoor spaces, and more. 

To take the virtual tour, visit

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University of Lynchburg hosts sports day for third through sixth graders

On Saturday, June 25, the University of Lynchburg, in partnership with the Lynchburg Area Youth Sports Initiative and other community partners, will host Lynchburg Play Day. The free event for rising third through sixth graders will be held on campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lynchburg Play Day will include soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, and volleyball clinics taught by University coaching staff and student-athletes and area coaches; a free T-shirt and other giveaways; a movement class led by the YMCA; and free lunch. Transportation to the event is available for those who need it.

Participants also will learn more about the Lynchburg Sports Locker, a new initiative that provides free athletic equipment to local children.

Participants can register here. Those who would like to sponsor, volunteer, or otherwise get involved can sign up here.