TNCC Instructor Receives FBI’s Community Leadership Award

Published: November 16, 2009

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) instructor Veronica McMillian received the FBI’s 2009 Director’s Community Leadership Award. She was honored last month at the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office and will be formally recognized in March among 50 national recipients at the FBI Office in Washington, D.C. The FBI created the award in 1990 to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs, and violence in America.

Driven by a passion for community service that extends far beyond TNCC, McMillian has 20 years of experience in education, training, program development and counseling, among other specialties. She strives to arm students – adults and teens – with the tools needed to build safer communities. As an adjunct instructor at TNCC, she teaches Student Development courses and conducts seminars pertaining to anger management, depression and more. She uses her counseling experience to reach out to the students. “The college life is not an easy life. Just everyday life is enough to get to you,” McMillian said.

McMillian employs a down-to-earth approach coupled with no-tolerance policies to help students and encourage them to become productive and successful citizens. “That is the heart cry of this generation. They want real people. They want authentic people.”

McMillian applies that approach in the classroom and in the community. Soon after earning a Master’s degree in Counseling from Regent University, she founded

Let’s Talk Inc., a program for young men and women that promotes education and job training and encourages them to refrain from violent activity. She expanded Let’s Talk Inc. with Dream Girls which served 30 teens addressing issues such as teen pregnancy, violence and dating, among other societal stressors many teen girls face. “If you can heal the child, you don’t have to repair the adult,” she said.

Expanding her outreach efforts, McMillian launched the Nutrition, Education and Dance (N.E.D.) program in 2007 which is aimed at reducing youth obesity and raising awareness about healthy practices. N.E.D. promotes a healthy and positive lifestyle through a variety of activities that educate teens about disease prevention, weight management and healthy cooking. The program also exposes young people to fun physical activities. To date, N.E.D. has reached more than 160 teens in the rural areas of Suffolk and Franklin and is now funded by a two-year grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation.

The Boys to Men Program is her latest contribution to the community and serves African American young men ages 12 to 18 with activities designed to deter drug use and gang participation. Mentors and other volunteers reach out to teens. “We as women can’t teach boys how to be men, so we need mentors. To change a boy, you ultimately have to change his way of thinking and patterns of behavior, so we need African American mentors and fathers to do that.”

McMillian’s dedication to molding young community leaders garnered attention from the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.

Through counseling, education and training, she helps local law enforcement personnel keep the communities safe. “My intention was never to get an award. It really isn’t about the accolades. It’s about changing the lives of many. It’s the same with the students. This is a life mission, passion and a calling for me.”


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