After 21 years of dedicated service, Ann Sprouse, Prevention Services Coordinator, Drop-In Center North retired on December 31, 2020, from the Council of Community Services. Ann started with us in 1999 and advanced her career as the Council continued to grow in various departments and programming. Before her departure, we captured a bit of her journey with 5 questions:
How did you first learn about the Council of Community Services?
Not sure I remember! I believe an opening was listed in the newspaper. I had some experience in Human Services, so I thought it would be a good fit! And I believe the ad was for a general position in Human Services.
You’ve had many roles at the Council, can you explain your journey?
My first role at the Council was answering calls for Information & Referral, Child Care Resources and Referral, and the Volunteer Center. Three part-time roles, so to speak! The phones were not as busy as now, and I don’t think it was a state-wide service yet.
The child care program did just that, helped parents find child care, including home care providers. (A great service!)
The Volunteer Center (Volunteer Roanoke Valley) worked to assist nonprofits in finding volunteers. I would have to say that was my favorite position! I loved working with other agencies and helping to place volunteers. I always loved working with volunteers when I worked at Carilion, so I guess it was a natural fit.
Somewhere along the line, funding streams changed, and I was moved from Child Care Resources and Referral to staff the Family Violence Coordinating Council. I’m so glad that is still going! I really enjoyed that time as well.
I did a short stint on the Trust House hotline when we had that for a while. (That was an eye-opening experience!)
Then things really changed when I was asked to go to the AIDS program, which was called Health, Outreach, and Wellness back then. That was a whole new ballgame, and at first, I was not very happy about that change. It was difficult to leave the Volunteer Center behind, but I could leave it in very capable hands with Alison.
Around 2005, I went to the Drop-In Center. I found testing to be an enriching experience, and I had the opportunity to oversee our LGBT library. Being a lover of books, that role made me very happy! What a learning experience that has been. Not knowing much about HIV or the struggles of the LGBT community opened my eyes and became one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at the Council. Working with clients living with HIV and getting out in the community to do education became my passion. I loved it! And now….having the opportunity to help get the Harm Reduction program going has been inspiring! The testing program at the Center was obviously the great need for this program and seemed a natural outreach for the Drop-In Center. Watching the Hepatitis C numbers grow and experiencing this opioid epidemic’s power has brought me into a new passion. Our community’s pain and heartache due to the power of substance use disorder are sometimes overwhelming. I am so grateful that we now have the opportunity to be a resource for help and a place for those suffering to not only get connected to recovery but to avoid disease and possibly death.
So that is my “short story” of my long history at the Council of Community Services.
What was your favorite part about working at the Council of Community Services? Best memories?
This is a hard one! I will say one of my best memories are of the Red Ribbon Affair! It was a lot of work to put together, but it was great fun!! And I always felt like it was a wonderful event for our clients! Plus, a chance to get all dressed up!!
I really enjoyed all the folks I’ve had the chance to work with, of course! Many of whom are gone, but many who are still around! I guess my favorite times were the holiday parties! It was always nice to be together with everyone! I sure missed that this year!
What makes the Council of Community Services special?
We are such a unique agency! And probably Roanoke’s best-kept secret! We do so many good things and have started so many good programs! There aren’t many agencies that offer such a wide variety of support!
What’s next for you?
Well, once this horrible virus goes on its way…hoping to do lots of volunteer work! And travel!!!! And spend lots of time with kids and grandkids!
Congratulations and THANK YOU!
Please join us in congratulating Ann on her retirement and thanking her for her 20+ years of service in our community!
“Some people make more than a career out of their work…they make a difference.”