Igniting Change: Georgia Verdier
She may not have known how, but even at a young age, Georgia Verdier knew she wanted to make a difference in the world.
“I practiced working [smarter], not [harder],” she recalls of her time in school “I concentrated on a journey that would provide me a seat at the policy tables so I could help plan the menus.”
Now President of the NAACP Elmira-Corning. Georgia says it was this same early mindset that she brought with her to Corning Community College. Despite already being a mother of two, she took the challenge of additionally balancing school head-on.
“I became action oriented, developed self-confidence and learned how to turn limitations into opportunities. I realized that self-confidence was the main key to my future doors,” Georgia says.
As a result, Georgia earned her AS degree from SUNY CCC in 1974. She’d then go on Elmira College, where she received her Master’s in Education with a concentration in Psychology. In 1991, she graduated from Alfred State University with her MPS.
After a successful thirty-year career with the New York State Department of Mental Health, Georgia has now been a community activist for years. In addition to leading the Elmira-Corning branch of the NAACP, she is also a member of the State Board of Directors. Georgia’s accomplishments also include being a Certified Diversity Trainer, and a member of numerous local and national boards and committees including the Chemung County League of Women Voters and the Equal Opportunity Program Board of Directors.
Yet despite all of these things, Georgia says she chooses to put much of her focus on investing in youth in our local communities.
“Human behavior fascinates me, and my degrees served as a great support system,” Georgia says, who focused much of her collegiate studies on behavior analysis. “I learned the importance of meeting people where they were, how to seek methods to cultivate their soil, thereby enhancing their growth.”
It’s this mindset and her dedication to our local communities that may have inspired an anonymous donor to fund a scholarship in honor of Georgia Verdier. The recently announced award will help support and invest in future social justice leaders.
“When I received that call, I was speechless,” Georgia recalls. “In addition to being thankful and honored, I’m thrilled that this will [help] and hopefully encourage [recipients] to pay it forward and help others.”
The scholarship announcement comes as SUNY Corning Community College works to increase efforts in support of racial equity—an effort Georgia hopes will encourage others to follow suit.
“I believe we are experiencing a period in history where people all across America are saying the time for change is now,” she says. “We need to seize the moment and continue the movement. I challenge individuals from all walks of life to do self-inventory and ask the question, what can I do to make a difference, in my home, community and the world?”
For more information on Georgia’s work with the NAACP or to get involved, you can visit the Elmira/Corning Branch’s website here.