Camilla McCoy: 2018 Community Strong Person of the Year

Camilla McCoy has dedicated her career to helping families and children in various settings. She has worked in residential treatment facilities serving children, adolescents, and families for over 12 years.  Presently, Camilla is Director of Clinical Services at Southstone Behavioral Health in South Boston,Virginia. She collaborates with social service agencies, court service units , and community service boards across the state. She is successful in guiding children to improve their behaviors and foster relationships and connections , so they can function safely in their home, school, and community settings. Camilla also has been in private practice for over 6 years at Play TherapyWorks, Inc. & Therapy Works for Adults in Chatham, Virginia. 

Camilla also serves as Chair of SEAS,Suicide Education Awareness & Support coalition serving the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County.  SEAS is dedicated to suicide prevention awareness and education in our community through the understanding that prevention and knowledge are the essential keys to saving the lives of those at risk of death by suicide.

Showcase sat down with Camilla to talk about her desire to make the community a better place.

SC: Why is community involvement so important to you?

CM: When I think about the person I am today, a portion of that is due to the community that took care of me, by providing opportunities to connect with other people in my community through sports, arts, camps, and worship. I have always felt safe and a sense of belonging in my community. Involvement is so important tome because I too want others to have the same experience with feeling a sense of pride and belonging in their community.

SC: What inspires you to volunteer?

CM: The things that inspire me to volunteer are my love and value of people, life, and relationships.  I’m also a mother, and it is important to me that my children see me volunteering in the community I love.

SC: How do you balance life, work, and community involvement?

CM: I have not yet figured this out, and when things appear balanced to me, I tend to see this as an opportunity to do and give more to my community. 

SC: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

CM: I’m being very honest when I say that I have always been blessed to have people who love me enough to share their experiences, wisdom, and advice. A piece of advice that resonates with the season I am in now has a lot to do with how to treat people, how to try to meet people’s needs, and maintain the relationships that are important to me. It consists of always being “Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, and Kind.”

SC: Who are your real-life heroes and why?

CM: My number one real-life hero is my mother, Deanna Carter. Because of my mother I know what it is like to belong, to feel loved, and to feel that someone always has my back and best interest.  My mother is also a survivor of a suicide attempt. I have observed her resilience , determination and dedication towards improving her mental health. This by far has not been an easy journey for her, but one that she considers worth it so she can enjoy time with those who love her and those she loves. 

SC: What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?

CM: I appreciate that I was able to return to my community for employment and building a family, after I completed college. Many perceive that they need togo to other cities or communities, but I am actually honored I was afforded opportunities to provide mental health counseling to people in my community , being one of the many special helpers to bring about healthy changes for adolescents and families. 

SC: Do you have a favorite quote, and if so, what is it? 

CM: My favorite quote is, “In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind.”

SC: How do you recharge. What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?

CM: This question is so funny to me because a lot of my friends would attribute my recharge to Kombucha and pineapples. However, I have several things that recharge me from spending time with my family, to teaching Zumba, and working out with the best trainer in Danville, Kelvin Smith.  After a workout, I feel much like the energizer bunny.

SC: What is your idea of happiness?

CM: I love this question. My idea of happiness has changed and hopefully broadened as I’ve matured but relationships and family are what makes me happy. 

SC: What are your favorite things to do in Danville?

CM: I appreciate the dining in Danville, from Chick-fil-A to San Marcos to Cotton. I also enjoy walks on the trail with my husband. Walks and fundraising events such as , the South-Central Out of the Darkness Walk, the Autism 5K & Zumbathon , are things that I also enjoy.  

SC: What are your visions for the future of Danville?

CM: My vision for the future of Danville is that efforts will continue to be made to revitalize downtown and other areas within the city to continue to make it safe and a place where people feel their exploration and goals are available and supported.  My biggest hope for Danville is that we will continue to advocate for and seek the level of professionals and specialty services that are needed to improve the quality of life and to save the lives of those at risk.