Carol Poole, a Get Caught recipient, smiles at the camera.

Meet Carol Poole

Carol Poole is a program instructor for the Adult Education Program at Denso Manufacturing. Denso partnered with BCVision’s GED taskforce and Battle Creek Public Schools to offer employees a chance to earn their General Education Degree (GED).

Carol earned her GED in the 1970s. She went on to college and received a teaching certificate in elementary and special education. She also has a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Over the years, Carol has worked as a teacher and even had her own private practice. She then came out of retirement to continue pursuing her passion in education.

Helping Students Succeed

As a program instructor, Carol helps assess each student’s skills individually and then creates a plan for them to reach their goal of earning a GED or high school equivalency. She then teaches the curriculum. Carol even administers the tests that students must pass to earn their degrees. In addition to the academic portion, the students also learn soft skills which help them become better employees.

Carol goes above and beyond when it comes to helping students succeed and reach their goals. She meets students where they are and lets them learn at their own pace. She’s willing to work with students one-on-one and on weekends. She even provides snacks at her lessons!

Carol strives to change the perspective about learning. She believes education should be fun and exciting. She tells her students, “If you’re not having fun, I’m doing it wrong.” Her sense of humor and compassion helps her build relationships and figure out each student’s learning style.

Carol says the fear of failure can sometimes hold students back. She believes that with grit and commitment, anyone can earn their GED, no matter how long it takes. “The first step is the hardest and if you can dream it, we can help you do it,” Carol said.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Getting a GED can help elevate and enrich students’ lives in many ways. Carol believes it has a ripple effect, but it begins with education. She says education builds pride and self-esteem. As people develop a sense of pride in themselves, they also begin to develop a sense of pride in where they live.

The Adult Education Program at Denso Manufacturing impacts the lives of the students but also the lives of their children, grandchildren and eventually the community as a whole.

Many students come in with the goal to just get their GEDs. Over time, the students learn the value of education and that leads to curiosity and interest in other things like politics, financial literacy, skill trades, pursuing a college degree, etc. Carol’s goal is for the program to grow and encompass all the manufacturing companies in the Fort Custer area, so that employees at each company have this opportunity to earn their GED. “The more the program grows, the more lives we change,” Carol said.

The Best Part

Carol says the best part of her position is working with her team and the students she serves. Carol loves the relationships she builds with the students.

Getting her GED changed Carol’s life. “[Adult Education] is my passion, and I think it’s because I’m a GED grad, and I know all the doors that it opens to life.” Carol says she feels privileged to be a part of the students’ journey and success and she appreciates that they remember her down the line. Many students have reached out to her after graduation to thank her for helping them reach their goal. 

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Nominate someone today by emailing us at Make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Cherise Buchanan, Priscilla Dieguez, and so many more!




Giving Back to the Battle Creek Community

We love being a part of the Battle Creek community. This is a place where everyone can live, work and play. That’s thanks to the people who make up our community and the volunteers who give back.

In order to foster a culture of vitality, it’s important to have people who are passionate about giving back to the community around and want to celebrate our city.

That’s why our team put together a list of some of the best ways to give back in the Battle Creek community. Keep reading to find out about some awesome opportunities.

Offer to Help

One of the easiest ways to give back to your community is to volunteer when opportunity comes knocking. If you’re a part of an organization, club, or other group, make it a point to volunteer the next time they ask.

You can also keep an eye out on the people around you. If you see someone struggling with groceries or if a classmate needs a ride, offer to help out. That helps to spread a feeling of community among all of us in Battle Creek.

Look for Opportunities

Keep an eye out for larger opportunities in the community. Some neighborhoods may have associations that you can join. Other groups in the community focus on different cultures or interests. Find one that you like, and then start asking how you can help them out.

You can also try asking teachers, supervisors, or other role models if they know of any opportunities to give back. If you can’t find any, try hosting a food drive with your friends or coworkers. Then drop the collected items off at a local charity.

Make sure to check out our blog about the simple ways you can improve Battle Creek for more ideas. There are also a lot of local resources available to you. Check out Neighborhood Planning Councils, United Way, and BCCF if you need a good place to start.

Sign Up to Volunteer

When in doubt, you can always volunteer to give back. Depending on where you volunteer, you can commit to a one-time experience or to a recurring position.

If you’re interested in flexible volunteer work, try getting involved in our Street Team or one of our other volunteer opportunities. We’re always looking for a dedicated volunteer base to help promote a culture of vitality.

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in our community. Even if an organization doesn’t say that they are actively looking for volunteers, many will still gladly take your help. Try reaching out to causes that you’re passionate about. After all, when you volunteer for something you care about, you’re more likely to enjoy yourself and make a real impact.

Our team is dedicated to creating a culture of vitality in the Battle Creek community and ensuring that Battle Creek is a city where everyone can live, work, and play. Want to learn more? Visit our website to learn about how we are moving Battle Creek forward.

When to Start Looking at Colleges

We know that college isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in pursuing a higher education, it can be hard to decide when is the right time to start looking at colleges to attend.

Our team wants you to feel prepared as you begin your college exploration, so we’ve put together some tips on when to start looking into higher education and what your next steps should be.

Getting Started

Most high school students take the SATs during their junior year. Even if you aren’t a junior, it might be worth thinking about where you want to go. If you’re not sure what your first step should be, try reaching out to your guidance counselors, an advisor, or career coach to help get you started.

If college sounds like the right fit for you, you might want to start asking the people in your life where they went to school. You’ll probably get a wide range of suggestions, from large universities to local community colleges like our own Kellogg Community College. Be sure to ask your family and friends if they have any advice from their own search and experiences too! That can help you if you need help finding a good place to start.

If you’re a junior or have already graduated, that’s okay! It’s never too late to start exploring a college or university education as an option. If you’ve been out of high school for a few years, you may qualify as a non-traditional student, which could even mean that you qualify for additional grants or scholarships, too.

What to Look For

Once you have a few colleges you’re interested in it might be time to start looking for key factors that can contribute to your success. If a college or university catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this college or university offer a degree that I would like to pursue?
  • What are the admission requirements, including required test scores, essays, and application fees?
  • How expensive is tuition at this college or university?
  • Does this college or university offer financial aid? What about scholarships?
  • Will I feel welcomed and inspired at this college or university?

If you find that the answers to these questions match your expectations, or if you can’t find enough information to know the answers, you might want to arrange a college tour. That way you can explore the grounds and talk one-on-one with someone who can answer your questions directly.

Start Preparing

If you find a college that you want to attend, it’s time to start preparing. Ask around at your school to find out if there are any scholarship opportunities that you could apply for. You can also typically find scholarship contests online that offer small but useful boosts to your education fund. Check out BCCF and BCCAN for great resources for local available scholarship opportunities.

Some universities may require letters of reference. If you’re thinking of attending college, it’s never too early to start asking people in your network for letters. Check out our blog on how to get started.

Remember that everyone’s educational experience is different. It isn’t a race to the finish, so keep your head up and do your best. After all, every step you take to further your education can help you change your future for the better.

The BCVision team is dedicated to fostering talent development in Battle Creek. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.

Meet Priscila Dieguez

Priscila Dieguez is a Career Coach for Workforce Solutions at Kellogg Community College. She coaches students in the Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training (iACT) program. iACT offers free accelerated training to prepare adults for the workforce in the manufacturing and nursing fields.

Priscila is a licensed mental health therapist and has worked in the field for over 20 years. Prior to being a career coach, she worked with senior citizens to help them get the resources they needed. Priscila says the career coach role is totally different, but she likes it because it’s hands-on. Plus, she can really connect to the students.

A Culture of Vitality

As a career coach for iACT, Priscila recruits students for the program. She also supports and provides resources to them while they are in the program and follows up with them after graduation to see how they are utilizing their training.

The coaches also try to help remove barriers for students so that they can focus on their studies and receive their certification from the program. From food assistance to transportation, the career coaches try to do what they can to help the students succeed.

Priscila believes this program is a way to really invest in people in the community. Students are trained to have the skills they need to be hired locally. This contributes to the overall success of Battle Creek businesses and our community.

Priscila also says the program is a way for students to invest in themselves. It is a stepping stone that opens doors and gives students an opportunity to shape their own future.

In addition to the job training, iACT includes a resume building and interview skills course. The program then helps connect students to employers to get job opportunities. iACT even provides students with professional clothing for interviews if it’s needed.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Priscila hopes the grant-funded program will continue, and she wants to keep helping students believe in themselves.

The students earn college credit in the iACT program and after graduation, some continue in their pursuit of furthering their education.

“The other day, we were on the main campus and I saw one of the girls [from the program] and she’s continuing to study nursing. She was going to class and we stopped to chat, and she said, ‘Thank you for everything because now I have a great foundation for my classes,’” Priscila said.

The Best Part

Priscila loves to see the progress the students make over the course of the program. She says some students come into the program timid and unsure of themselves. According to Priscila, the best part is “giving them the opportunity and seeing them kind of blossom…assisting them not only academically, but also giving them the emotional support that they need.” Her biggest reward is knowing she is making a difference in people’s lives.

Priscila is originally from Argentina and has lived in Battle Creek for thirteen years. She said the best part about Battle Creek is that it’s a caring community that is made up of so many nationalities. Even though she wasn’t born and raised here, she says she doesn’t feel like an outsider and feels like she belongs.

Click here to apply to the iACT program.

Do you know someone who is helping to move our community forward? Learn more about how to nominate someone today. Make sure to read about our past “Get Caught” recipients like Cherise Buchanan, Chris Jones, and so many more!

Meet the BCVision Team: Emirrora Austin

BCVision is a community-led movement for change here in Battle Creek, Michigan. That’s why we have an awesome team of individuals who help us create a community where everyone can live, work and play.

We’d love to introduce one of our team members to you. Keep reading to get to know about our Community Initiatives Assistant, Emirrora Austin, and how she helps BCVision achieve our goals for Battle Creek.

A Battle Creek Background

If you recognize Emirrora, it might be because she’s lived here nearly all her life. Emirrora left briefly to attend Central Michigan University, but she returned home for a position at WWMT Newschannel 3.

After returning to Battle Creek, Emirrora got involved with Operation Fit and was even part of the delegation that traveled to Denver for the All-America City Awards. While she was on that trip she learned more about BCVision, and it wasn’t long after that trip that she joined our team.

Part of the Team

In her position at BCVision, Emirrora works closely with the marketing team to produce content for the website and social media platforms. She also emcees events, schedules appointments, takes meeting notes, greets guests, and maintains the office space. Simply put, there’s never a dull moment for Emirrora!

She’s also involved with the Communication Collaborative, which is designed to better align on promoting Battle Creek through campaigns, events, and media. This group brings together different organizations from across Battle Creek to collaborate on fun events for the community.

Her favorite part of working alongside and with BCVision was her trip to the All-America City competition. She says, “The anticipation was high at the awards ceremony. When we were finally announced as one of ten winners who were named an All-America City, we all started cheering and jumping up and down! It was great to come together for a common goal and accomplish it as a team!”

Dedication to Change

Emirrora loves being part of the BCVision team because she enjoys driving change in our community. In fact, one of the things she most looks forward to is continuing to spread the word about all of the positive work that’s being done in the Battle Creek community.

She loves highlighting the people who are doing a lot to make Battle Creek a better place but are often underrepresented. In time, she hopes that she can help change the negative perception that some people have about Battle Creek and help people focus on the positive things happening in the community.

Enjoying Battle Creek

When Emirrora isn’t at work, she’s still finding ways to enjoy the Battle Creek community. She loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and taking Zumba classes at the YMCA. When she gets the opportunity, she also loves traveling, especially to the beach.

Emirrora loves Battle Creek because she has a great support system in the community, which makes it feel like home. Plus, she has a soft spot for Binder Park Zoo.

Our team is passionate about making Battle Creek a great place to live, work, and play! Do you want to help out? Contact us today to become a part of our volunteer network.