Let the countdown begin! Tomorrow is the MLK Call to Service presented by Hands On Charlotte. In previous years, Hands On Charlotte has hosted a fun filled day of community service projects on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. This year, we changed not only the day but the structure to meet community’s growing enthusiasm. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 19 we will host a day of service at not one…two… but THREE Mecklenburg locations.
Last year, I had the privilege of helping Crisis Assistance Ministries with the Poverty Simulation. It was a touching experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to interact with the organization but also learned so much about the constituents within my local community. I was so moved by interaction that I continued couldn’t stop spreading the word.
Come out and kick off your 2013 resolutions with service to the Charlotte community. No need to sign up to attend. Just stop by and lend your community an hour or two of your time. If you are lucky, you might catch up with Charlotte’s local blogger from Pure & Simple Organizing or win a US Airways gift card.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. See you on Saturday!
Hands On Charlotte Executive Director Lisa Quisenberry was recently honored with the Unsung Hero Award from Leadership Charlotte.
The Unsung Hero Award is presented annually to an individual who “works quietly behind the scenes for the good of the community, demonstrating leadership through dedication and service to Charlotte.” Quisenberry was nominated for the award by the board of directors of Hands On Charlotte, with support from several HOC partner agencies and corporate partners.
Quisenberry was a co-founder of Hands On Charlotte, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. Under her leadership, HOC built collaborations with more than 150 partner agencies and schools; created volunteer opportunities for more than 7,000 individuals per year; established a premier program for corporate volunteer engagement; and presented signature programs including Hands On Charlotte Day, Martin Luther King Day Service Forum, and 9/11 Week of Service.
“The term ‘unsung hero’ is entirely appropriate for Lisa,” said Sara Collins, chair of the Hands On Charlotte board of directors. “She is a tireless advocate for the betterment of our community, but allows the volunteers and beneficiary organizations to take the spotlight. We are grateful to Leadership Charlotte for recognizing the impact Lisa has had in Charlotte throughout her career with Hands On Charlotte.”
Last year, Quisenberry announced her intention to step down from her position as executive director, following the appointment of her successor. Hands On Charlotte recently announced that the new executive director will be Eric Law, a former HOC board member who most recently served as director of development for Classroom Central. Law assumed the executive director position May 1. Quisenberry will remain active in the Charlotte non-profit and civic community and plans to join the HOC advisory council in 2013.
Spring signifies the winding down of the academic year. As Charlotte -Mecklenburg students begin to prepare for spring break, teachers visit Classroom Central to pick up necessities for their students.
This visit, I had the pleasure to assist Classroom Central with their bi-weekly teacher shopping experience. While this was not my first time volunteering at Classroom Central, it was a unique visit.
On this particular Thursday afternoon, Hands On Charlotte worked side by side with nine Wells Fargo employees. Classroom Central bustled with activity as the two organizations integrated in order to lend assistance to over 90 teachers.
I enjoyed talking briefly to teachers as they checked out to learn about their day and their classrooms. Since this day was “slower” than my previous visit, I had the opportunity to network with Wells Fargo employees and HOC volunteers. Each volunteer had a unique story and what attracted him/her to Hands On Charlotte and or Classroom Central. It was a great opportunity to learn more about my community and yet another great volunteer experience to support education!
Hands On Charlotte
Visit Hands On Charlotte to learn more about volunteering with Classroom Central, as well as other ways to help Charlotte’s schools and educators.
For the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to stock shelves, sort and package items in the warehouse, and assist with drive thru pick-ups. With each task, I am able to interact with educators directly or indirectly. However regardless of the interaction level, my efforts maintain the same reach: to assist Mecklenburg county and surrounding area children.
Now back to my “full circle” moment. Today, I was able to volunteer on a new task which was teacher shopping. My role in the shopping experience was to assist with “checking-out” area teachers with their allotted classroom supplies.
I enjoyed the conversation with various teachers across subjects and grade levels. In particular, I reunited with a teacher I assisted at Elon Home for Children with another Hands On Charlotte project. It was great chatting with her and hearing the school’s library progress from my prior visit two months ago.
Throughout the shopping experience, I was taken back by the number of “Thank You’s” received. My help at Classroom Central pales in comparison to educators’ dedication to today’s youth. So through this blog I not only want to capture my experience, but say “THANK YOU” Educators for your selfless efforts, dedication, and time!
Leticia Foster Hands On Charlotte Volunteer Marketing and Communications Committee Member
[Editor's Note: This blog post is the second in a series of bi-weekly blog posts we'll be featuring from some of our volunteers and volunteer leaders under our "Volunteer Experience" category. This week's post is by Leticia Foster. You can take part in a project like Leticia's and enjoy serving as well by signing up for our 9/11 Week of Service projects today! No orientation or background checks required for projects during this week (unless otherwise noted).]
Volunteers prepare kits for teachers at Classroom Central
I decided to challenge myself to a new project last week. Since relocating, I have volunteered with HandsOn Charlotte for more than a year now and wanted to expand my project horizon. With the upcoming school term around the corner, I felt that it only made sense to help those in the education industry.
HandsOn Charlotte provides volunteering opportunities at Classroom Central at least three times a month. Classroom Central distributes free school supplies to Charlotte-Mecklenburg and surrounding county teachers. A volunteer can choose to either prepare for teachers’ visits — i.e. supply sorting, or assist teachers while they shop. I chose to assist with the warehouse. After a brief orientation and tour of the facility, we began to package booklets for the teachers to use as part of their fall curriculums. Even though this may seem like a small endeavor, we packed almost two pallets worth of materials. This was a great help to Classroom Central given that just days prior they had more than 150 teachers visit their store to shop in one afternoon!
My biggest takeaway from this project was the interaction among volunteers. I was able to interact with individuals from various backgrounds that had a strong affinity to education and teacher dedication. In addition, I was amazed to learn that many teachers purchase necessary supplies for not only themselves but also students out of their own pockets! This is a jaw-dropping fact to learn, given the most recent budget cuts; however, this is a testament to the teachers’ dedication to the community. It is great to be reminded of that dedication our local teachers have for our community’s children.
Classroom Central is an excellent organization here in Charlotte to support. Even if time is of the essence to volunteer at the facility, one can always donate school/office supplies. Donations are accepted at your local Charlotte library as well as through the United States Postal Service. You can leave your donations for the mail courier to pick up and they will deliver to Classroom Central on Monday.