Circle of Vision 2012
Past Alumni: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Youth Pastor, Cobbs Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Alum Creek, WV
Graduate, Appalachian Bible College
Majors: Bible/Theology and Missions
Circle of Vision Scholarship: BB&T West Virginia Foundation
Rick Thompson’s Circle of Vision Scholarship served as a catalyst that has multiplied the gifts of generosity and is giving back.
Today, as a youth pastor at Cobbs Creek Missionary Baptist Church, Rick works with rural, disadvantaged children who are enduring everything from extreme poverty to broken homes to incredible despair in their lives. Rick’s wife, Rebecca, is a partner in his ministry service.
“My wife and I had many challenges along the path that eventually brought us to Cobbs Creek,” says Rick. “We weren’t sure where we were going to end up after I graduated and we got married. For now, Rebecca and I know that we are in the right place. It is such a blessing to see the growth in the children we work with.”
Rick has been able to call upon many skills that he gained as a student at Appalachian Bible College (ABC). “I was involved in children’s ministries and schools while at ABC,” he says. “I didn’t realize the degree to which my education was preparing me for where I am today.”
When reflecting upon his Circle of Vision Scholarship, Rick’s gratitude is effusive. “My scholarship allowed me to graduate debt free and then go on to serve underprivileged people. I am not chained by student loan debt and am able to fully devote myself to helping children thrive in a challenging environment.” Rick is grateful that he can focus his energy and time on being an effective youth pastor rather than having to work side jobs to pay off school loans. “What a liberating and empowering feeling,” says Rick.
Rick is thankful for the generosity of the BB&T West Virginia Foundation and knows not to take his gift for granted. “The Circle of Vision Scholarship that I received was a huge blessing and an honor. My wife and I have a long-term vision for our lives that involves working with youth. This scholarship definitely set me off on the right foot.”
Paul D. Daugherty
President & CEO, West Virginia Grantmakers Association
Graduate, West Virginia Wesleyan College, 2000
Majors: Communication Studies and Political Science
Circle of Vision Scholarship: Bernard McDonough Foundation
Paul Daugherty exemplifies the way in which the Circle of Vision scholarship Scholarship program Program gives back to West Virginia. As president and CEO of the West Virginia Grantmakers Association, he tirelessly works to promote philanthropy and address critical issues in the Mountain State.
Paul was drawn to West Virginia Wesleyan College for a number of reasons. Coming from a family of five children, the ability to receive financial aid was a determining factor; he also appreciated Wesleyan’s strong academic programs. But perhaps most influential was the college’s focus on service-learning and volunteer leadership.
“Coming to Wesleyan gave me a broader view of the world and all of the potential career opportunities that were available,” says Paul. The Circle of Vision scholarship and participation in the Bonner Scholars program enabled Paul to explore his passion for service, philanthropy and community leadership. While attending Wesleyan, he took lead roles on a variety of issues, including starting a food pantry and nutritional education program that has now been replicated statewide.
Paul extols the virtue of scholarships like the Circle of Vision program, as they grant students the opportunity to concentrate on such powerful, hands-on service projects. “It’s energizing and transformative for someone young to realize that they can do great things in life,” he says. “The value of the Circle of Vision program is not just in helping students toward career goals. Any investment in a student usually pays an unbelievable amount back. Not just to the institution but to the community. There is power in knowing you are inspiring young leaders.”
According to Paul, his service experiences were instrumental to his learning. They gave him a real world, competitive edge once he entered the job market, and much more. “My internships and volunteer leadership opportunities really put an ethic in me,” he says. “I learned not just to be an effective graduate but to be an engaged citizen that contributes to society.”