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Why I Love Farmville — Jill Ahmad

HOW LONG HAVE YOU CALLED FARMVILLE “HOME” AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE HERE?

A: I may not “live” in Farmville, but I have been a regular in town since 2015. Of my four children, three graduated from Southside Virginia Community College and two have their degrees from Longwood University. I had no idea how wonderful a town Farmville was until I met Patricia Carter. After a short tour of downtown Farmville (from Uptown Cafe to the Red Door 104), she took me to the Robert Russa Moton Museum. After visiting Moton and learning the history of Prince Edward County, I fell in love with the story of Barbara Rose Johns and the perseverance and survivorship of the residents who helped spearhead the Civil Rights Movement. It’s an honor to know a few families, personally, that were impacted by the school closings and to learn of their significant works in the community. My “why Farmville ” grows from its amazing people, community service, advocacy, hospitality, spirituality, humanity, professionalism and the neighborly way everyone looks out for each other. It makes for the perfect place a “chronic” volunteer like me can contribute and grow!

WHAT MIGHT OUR READERS BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: I can’t imagine what would be too shocking about me or my life. I am 50 years old, married for 30 years, four children (ages 29-21) and I am a grandmother of five (ages eight years old-four months.) I moved to Charlotte County in 2004. My kids were home-schooled until they were old enough to attend Southside Virginia Community College, and I now have three college graduates and one more in the making. I myself have not taken the opportunity to finish college. That would be awesome.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A WEEKEND HERE IN TOWN?

A: If I’m not hosting or facilitating a community event, one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend in town would always include going to the Farmville Marketplace and purchasing fresh foods, baked goods, soaps and jewelry. If I’m lucky, I’d find my way to volunteer at whichever community engagement opportunity that may be going on, be it with the Interfaith Collective, Moton Museum, Friends of the Barbara Rose Johns Library, to name a few. I’d grab a cup of coffee at The Coffee Mill and enjoy the company and Wi-Fi. I love to walk the trail at Wilck’s Lake or chill on the patio of the Farmville Library. After some shop-ping (downtown Farmville has some amazing treasure spots. I love Green Front Accessories, the local health food store), if I have time, I enjoy some culture by visiting the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts or the gift shop at Moton Museum. I’d meet up with friends at one of my favorite restaurants, either North Street Press Club or 119. I’m known to catch a movie at Sunchase if something good is playing. During the week, I am so busy. Farmville has plenty to do or great places to just relax, eat and enjoy the view. Ah, yes — love it!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE FARMVILLE MEMORY.

A: I have so many “favorite Farmville memories.” I’m not sure I can just pick one! From the epic success of our first Boxes of Blessings event, galas, banquets and Longwood graduations, I’d have to say one of my most fondest memories would be the Black Lives Matter March back in June 2020. To have witnessed the diversity, unity, love and bravery of so many folks in the area, come together as ONE on the lawn of the Moton Museum — was simply epic! I’ll never forget that day.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FARMVILLE COMMUNITY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN HERE?

A: I would say that Farmville, albeit a small town, it has big city vibes. It’s an active, two college town that has a healthy mix of good, old-fashioned southern charm and the high energy of city life with its great businesses, entertainment, culture and diversity. You can feel its historic significance and its ongoing, genuine fight against racial stereotypes, inequalities and social injustices by the transparency one witnesses from the local and state government services and outreach efforts. Farmville is a civil society where several religious organizations, nonprofits and social clubs (for adults and youth) are very active in making a real impact on the care of the community. Not to mention it’s a hub for entrepreneurship and creative ways to make a living. I swear it seems like everybody knows every-body! But folks are just that caring, generous and hospitable. I should know, I was once a stranger, and now I feel like an honorary resident of Farmville.

WHAT ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU BELONG TO AND WHY?

A: I’ll start with answering why. I grew up with parents/family who were very socially conscious, they were community activists, educators and preachers. I love to help people in need. My passion is to ensure all have access to programs, services and resources that they may not normally have access to. I am blessed to make friends quite easily, so a strong network can be considered an asset. As I began to meet many who live and work in Farmville, I could relate to how they would consistently dedicate time and resources to the needs of the community. As a “chronic volunteer ” there were plenty of opportunities to serve! Currently, I am the president and owner of Community Engagement and Outreach Services LLC, United Community Nexus, I am the Coalition Lead for the Piedmont Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse Coalition-PAPSA, the Program Chair for the Friends of the Barbara Rose Johns Library, the Services Chair with the Farmville Lions Club, I am a member and volunteer with our local South Central Virginia nonprofit Network-SCVNN, Farmville Interfaith Collective, Moton Museum Banquet Committee, Prince Edward Islamic Center, and I just recently joined the LCVA advisory committee and the Farmville NAACP. See a need, fill a need. I try to do my part best I can. How-ever, I am nothing without the community.