The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, Inc., announces a new partnership with Kroger and Stop In Food Stores to make May the Community College Access Program (CCAP) Month. Throughout the Roanoke Valley, customers will have the opportunity to support CCAP, which helps area high school students who meet program guidelines attend Virginia Western Community College tuition-free.

During May, Kroger and Stop In customers can purchase either a $1 or $5 diploma which can be personalized, or make another donation of any level to CCAP. All the funds raised go directly to assisting students from Roanoke City, Salem and Franklin County attend Virginia Western.  Funds will also support the establishment of programs in Roanoke County, Botetourt County and Craig County.

“The CCAP program gives higher education opportunities to students who may not have otherwise been able to attend college or at least to do so without incurring major debt. Now they can look forward to fulfilling and higher-paying jobs because of their advanced education,” said James W. Arend, president of the Educational Foundation. “We know that at Virginia Western, 85 percent of our graduates stay and work in our valley, so by supporting this program, these companies and their customers are really supporting our community too.”

CCAP supports as many students as possible based on student need and funds available. The program was launched in 2008 with pilot phase in Salem and expanded to Roanoke City in 2009. Beginning this year, graduates of Franklin County High School will also participate in CCAP. The Educational Foundation is seeking additional partners and funds to launch the program in the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, and Craig.

“We are continuing to find public and private partners to expand this program because we see the need is so great,” Arend said. “And we have found that anyone can make a difference. As we like to say, ‘Your change can make a big change in a student’s life.’ ”

In addition to Kroger and Stop In, other local companies like Valley Character, Lamar Advertising Company and Source4 are helping Virginia Western get the word out about CCAP Month by providing support for the campaign.