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Making an art out of giving of oneself

September 7, 2009

Making an art out of giving of oneself

Melinda Cox ’71, has never been shy about volunteering her time to help others. As an art professor at Tacoma Community College and Pierce College, Cox regularly juggles teaching and volunteer work.

“I have always volunteered my time,” said Cox, who graduated from PLU with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. “I spent many years with the Washington State University/Pierce County Clothing and Textile advisors teaching kids to sew, among other activities.”

Cox specifically worked with incarcerated youth at Remann Hall, a Tacoma juvenile detention facility, by helping them use their time in productive ways.

“Working at Remann Hall was an eye opening and very rewarding experience,” Cox said.

Cox also volunteers for the Forgotten Children’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps working families in need during the holiday season. The Gig Harbor, Wash., resident is also training her 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, Lola, to become a therapy dog.

“I am a cancer survivor,” Cox said. “And when I was going through treatment, I was impressed by the therapy dogs comforting patients. Eventually, I’d like to be able to officially take Lola to visit hospitals and nursing homes.”

So far, Lola has only visited patients unofficially. But as soon as Cox and Lola have finished their Canine Good Citizen certification and therapy dog certification, Lola will join Cox in her efforts to serve others in the community.

Meanwhile, Cox spends a large portion of her time teaching students how to excel in and appreciate art.

Cox has taught art courses at TCC for 10 years, and at Pierce College for one. She encourages all potential art majors, and college students in general, to study hard and keep pushing toward their goals.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that might come your way,” Cox said. “Because you never know what connections you will make, what you will learn or how it will be of benefit.”

Story by Hillary Fazzari ’11