We celebrate the work that volunteers do year-round. We are proud to honor the CIS volunteers who work so hard in our schools and communities. Our volunteer highlights will give you a look inside why they do what they do, and how important volunteers are to the success of CIS, our programs, and helping Brunswick County students to succeed in school and in life!
Volunteer highlights and pictures will be posted throughout the year highlighting volunteers’ great work with CIS. Check out volunteer stories and pictures below. For more volunteer highlights visit our CIS Facebook page anytime!
Ron Shuster is all in for Communities In Schools of Brunswick County (CIS). He is a dedicated member of the CIS Board of Directors, but also runs the CIS tutoring program at Cedar Grove Middle School with CIS Success Coach Ms. Whitney Franklin. Ron is the only student tutor at the school, meeting with and helping anywhere from 10 to about 30 students weekly. He helps with all homework subjects, but at the same time mentoring the students and also instilling necessary organization skills to students for keeping track of their assignments, completed homework, and other schoolwork in their school binders. Ron encourages and motivates the students to work and do better. He is patient with a down to earth demeanor that goes over well with students. Ron is extremely supportive of the students and is part of the education support team with CIS at Cedar Grove Middle.
He has always been involved giving back to kids. He has volunteered with a homeless organization in Charlotte and an antibullying program in Greensboro. Ron wants to help students have better opportunities and a chance at a better life. He says, “Students are the future and so many fall through the cracks. I always wanted to be involved in an education nonprofit because education is the most critical thing for future success.” One of the most rewarding experiences for Ron volunteering with CIS is seeing students get through a quarter in school. “It’s so satisfying when you help a student that was way behind to get caught up, and at the end of the quarter are on schedule, doing well, and passing!”
Elaine is a tutor in Language Arts and participates in the Lunch Buddy and Peer Court program at Leland Middle School. “You spend lunch with them once a week for 20 minutes and you really form a bond,” Wallace said of her experiences with lunch buddies. She has had a lot of success in connecting with students through the CIS program. “My student going on to early college so far, that was one of the best ones,” Wallace said of her most rewarding moments since becoming involved in CIS.
Barbara is a Southport CIS main office volunteer. She is the past superwoman of a busy high school office environment. Barbara brings her knowledge of databases, office equipment, event preparation, and promotional mailings. She always keeps her calm even when things get hectic! The Southport office can count on Barbara to be flexible and help with whatever is critical each day she volunteers.
Fran volunteers at the Leland CIS Thrift Shop weekly. She sorts, steams, prices and prepare items for sale. She also dresses mannequins and decorates the store for special events. She loves interacting with customers in the shop and decorating the shop and
mannequins to make it look beautiful. I believe in the youth of today and their potential. If volunteering at the shop keeps programs going to provide guidance and mentorship, it’s what I need to do.
Jeff meets weekly with students at SBMS. He is a positive male role model for them, giving them attention and an open ear to listen and support them. In his involvement with students through CIS, Jeff helps with homework, plays games, and offers an open ear to listen. He loves working with CIS and being able to see the students grow stronger every week. Learning how to cope and overcome personal problems.
Douglas Young is a retired attorney that has been volunteering as a judge with CIS Peer Court and a student advisor with CIS-Brunswick County Teen Court for 6 years! He wants to make a difference in students lives and give back to his community. He enjoys seeing the students learn and grow!
Kathy Grimaldi has been volunteering with CIS at Leland Middle School for 3 1/2 years. She has recently started a Just Us Girls club at LMS for building self-esteem, confidence, and to help the young ladies grow up with a positive influence in their life. Her goal is to help kids get a good start in life and feel good about themselves. She loves seeing the smiles on student’s faces and witnessing their personal growth.
Randy Gans is a second-year tutor to 7th and 8th graders with CIS at Leland Middle School. He works every week to make a difference in the life of a child. “Nothing is more valuable than making a difference in a student’s life!” His favorite part of volunteering with CIS is the “lightbulb” moment when students eyes light up and they “get it”.
Mary Anne Crimi, Shallotte Middle School CIS Lunch Buddy, Mentor, and Peer Court Volunteer
As we all know, kids can teach adults many things. Having been a lunch buddy, a mentor, before, and working with Peer Court for the past three years, I have learned much about various topics such as surfing, the Simpsons, and what’s inside that mysterious “Upside Down House” in Myrtle Beach. I have learned about Minecraft, the Stephanie Meyer Twilight series, and interesting features on my smart phone I wasn’t smart enough to know I even had. I am not sure what my lunch buddies have learned from me, but I do hope they are learning that education can be their BFF and that there is an astonishing, astounding life after middle school. I hope they are realizing that Shallotte Middle School is full of wonderful opportunities that will help them to blossom into hard workers, strong leaders, and responsible citizens.
The CIS Program gives much to me and I most appreciative and grateful. I am thankful for the coordination and guidance Ms. Rau provides to all of us so that the CIS activities run smoothly and successfully. I am thankful to the staff, teachers, and administration who work so hard every school day to keep education alive and well. And, of course, I am thankful to the students, each and every one, who add to the joy of my world, just by being their amazing selves.
Why I Volunteer with Communities In Schools by Vinnie Marino
(volunteered with CIS for 2 years and now working with CIS 21st Century Community Learning Center at Shallotte Middle School)
I decided to give my time in the middle school system to help guide children at a very critical period in their young educational lives. This transitional period can be very challenging.
My aim in tutoring and mentoring is to teach the value of establishing goals and working towards them. To build confidence through accomplishments, and to do this in a relaxed atmosphere. I am also attempting to teach the children that the decisions they make today have lifelong implications. Many of the children know me by name and I’m met by warm smiles, high fives, and hand bumps every day. More importantly, most of the children I work with seem to want and appreciate the help, which puts a smile on my face every day. I get more out of it than the children do.
The Shallotte Middle School staff is made up of caring people who work daily to ensure the children entrusted to them are ready to reach higher and are equipped to take on the challenges of high school. Volunteering with CIS has exceeded my personal expectations. I just love it.
One of the most dedicated Sunset Beach CIS Thrift Shop volunteers is Heni. She is in her early 90s and has volunteered every Wednesday in the SB CIS Thrift Shop since its opening in 2009. She is pictured here on the right, with Regina who has volunteered each week for the last five years. They both volunteer to give back to the community students and love working with such an awesome group of people at the SB Thrift Shop!
Volunteer lunch buddies have lunch with students giving them an opportunity to share and have one on one time with someone who cares. Kim and Carolyn Loucks have volunteered for the past five years with CIS at Shallotte Middle School as lunch buddies. The Loucks stated that, “For our middle school lunch buddies, we’re adults that listen; we’re a sounding board for their ideas, and provide a voice of reason to help put them on the right track.”
The Loucks say they also benefit from being lunch buddies. “Being a lunch buddy has allowed us to develop relationships with young people and provide our buddies with a caring, interested adult that will listen to what’s going on in their lives, and provide support and encouragement for whatever they want to do. We love being lunch buddies for our students.”
Ann Brown just started volunteering at the Leland CIS Thrift Shop 2 months ago. She loves coming to volunteer because of her great work mates. She volunteers at CIS because her work helps Brunswick County students to have a better future.
Marsha has been volunteering at the Southport CIS Thrift Shop for over 7 years. She loves meeting customers and new volunteers and a great way to give back to her community. She says that education is the most important thing for students in life and CIS helps them achieve a better one.
For the past year, Sandy Johnson has been volunteering at the Southport CIS Thrift Shop. With CIS being a wonderful charity, the great people she works with, and the common purpose of helping students achieve, is what keeps her coming back week after week. Sandy is from New York with an education background herself and has dedicated her life to giving back to others. She knows that children’s education is the best investment.
Recognizing some great main office volunteers for CIS:
Judy Coffey is a CIS main office volunteer with a long history of non-profit work. She welcomes any task we may need an extra hand with at any time. She helps with printing signage, calling potential donors, going through the supply room searching for event materials, whatever is necessary. Judy is dedicated to the CIS mission putting in many hours to help CIS on a weekly basis.
Betty Johnson (no picture available) is one of the longest CIS main office volunteers. She works on scrapbooking, creating folders, gala preparation, answering the phones and anything office related. Her talents help the office staff stay organized, keeping the piles of work to a minimum.
Ann Toohey is a CIS Lunch Buddy at Leland Middle School and also serves as our CIS Counselor at LMS. She has been working with the program since it started at LMS in 2010.
Mr. Richard Reardon is an active volunteer in the CIS Action for Success Program at Waccamaw School. He participates in tutoring groups, Friends of Rachel after-school club, and recently helped to recruit volunteer participation for the “Help a Cause Save the Paws” community event. Mr. Reardon has been volunteering with Communities In Schools for the past four years. He is a member of Crow Creek and often advocates for students at Waccamaw to the local community members.
Mrs. Kathleen MacDonald has been volunteering with the CIS Action for Success Program at Waccamaw School for almost the entire 2016-2017 school year. She is the representative between the CIS program at Waccamaw and the South Brunswick Island Rotary. She has helped recruit volunteers for Peer Court, tutoring, and helping with clerical work. Mrs. MacDonald’s assistance during the start-up of CIS Action for Success at Waccamaw has been a priceless and positive element of program success.
Bob Harper is a Leland Middle School CIS math tutor and has been working with students for the last two years. He has helped out tremendously with CIS math tutoring for the past two years.
Kathy Vagell has volunteered at the Southport CIS Thrift Shop for over five years. As a retired school teacher, helping the students in schools is very important to her. She loves getting to work with other great volunteers in a very cohesive team. Kathy volunteers at the Southport CIS Thrift Shop because it is so well regarded and respected in the community. She sees a lot of the same repeat customers because they keep coming back to shop and she gets to build a relationship with them.
Raelyn Oliver has been volunteering at the BSL CIS Thrift Shop for a little over a month. She actually worked for the BSL thrift shop a few years ago as a retail sales associate. She volunteers in the shop because it is a friendly place and she loves the programs that CIS offers. Supporting students is a priority to Raelyn. She enjoys working with the other volunteers and staff in the shop because of the positive attitude and environment at BSL thrift shop.
Joanne Tortorice has been volunteer regularly at the Southport CIS Thrift Shop for 1 ½ years. She is partially retired and achieving her dream of part time work, to exercise, and to give back through volunteering. Her favorite part about volunteer at the SPT thrift shop is taking the steamed and prepped clothes out to place on the sales floor and interacting with customers. She loves helping customers find those unique items they might be looking for and mingling on the sales floor with customers.
Marie Danco is a Southport office volunteer with an extensive background in budget data control, she is our very own Excel Guru. Marie also comes to us with a history in research, writing and sports, so she can come up with new ideas for reaching out to golf resorts and sports teams for assistance. While organizing the information, editing text and printing beautiful pictures for event promos…all at the same time! Marie keeps things fresh with an exciting look at CIS materials.
Chris Stitcher volunteers at the Southport office sharing her amazing skills with graphics. She has an artistic eye and helps with designing Gala signage, invitations and brochures throughout the year. Chris puts the “pretty” in our outreach materials.
Adie Rossi is a CIS lunch buddy and has volunteered for over 4 years. She also helps out with the LMS Garden Club. Adie is in the North Brunswick Kiwanis Club.
Donna Cowan has volunteered in the Leland CIS Thrift Shop since it opened. She is excited about CIS’s mission to help Brunswick County students and loves helping Leland shoppers to find hidden treasures in the shop. “I love working with the friendly staff and the ability to give back to the community through volunteering. There is no better use of time than to invest in our young people.”
CIS volunteer Marilyn Mills from Long Island, NY has been helping out at the Boiling Spring Lakes (BSL) thrift shop before it even opened in 2010, over seven years ago.
Marilyn is a regular volunteer at BSL and is responsible for organizing and stocking the housewares section. She keeps a watchful eye on the glassware, pots, and other kitchen and dining items. However, she admits that she does “a little bit of everything” depending on what is necessary. This volunteering keeps her busy, but she enjoys all the time she donates to CIS and other organizations, “I just love helping others,” Marilyn says.
Tim Watkins is a CIS lunch buddy at Leland Middle School. He also helps out in CIS Action for Success with the Garden Club. He is in the North Brunswick Kiwanis Club.
Hank Orejuela, Shallotte Middle School CIS Spanish/English language helper, volunteers 3 hours a week. Helping students with Spanish to English mostly in reading and understanding, but also tutors in math and science. He has been a SMS CIS volunteer for about 2 years and got into tutoring kids through the Kiwanis Club. The students are at a good point in their life to be influenced and a positive influence can change their life. “I have other community involvements, but this is the most important thing I’m doing, period. Changing lives.”
Bill Mackey, a retired reading and special needs teacher, volunteers his time with CIS at South Brunswick Middle School five days a week teaching 6th grade students to read and understand words better. He volunteers every day helping three students through the evidence-based Wilson Reading program. Wilson Reading is a three-year program involving interactive worksheets, verbal, written, and reading comprehension to teach students. Bill works with the same students during the three years to help them become sufficient readers, to make a difference in their lives and help them be successful for moving forward to high school.
Miss Janie is a South Brunswick Middle School CIS mentor. She meets weekly with students to give them a positive adult influence in their life and help them with school work, school issues, personal issues, or just to catch up and talk. She likes being able to directly influence students lives each week and creating a positive outcome for them.
Jeff, a South Brunswick Middle School mentor volunteer, really enjoys mentoring students through CIS. “I enjoy talking to the students and getting to know them and help to build up their confidence. We get to hang out talk, play games and get to know each other.”
-Meet Cheryl Lubinsky a volunteer at the Boiling Springs Lake CIS Thrift Shop.
Tell us about your volunteer work with CIS. They call me the “Book Lady” and I volunteer at Boiling Springs Lake thrift shop working with toys and books. I also volunteer at the Southport library and my church library.
What is your favorite thing about CIS? All donations and money help children in Brunswick County. I also enjoy the other volunteers and staff at BSL.
What is your favorite thing to do in Brunswick County? I love the beach, and hanging around quaint Southport with all the unique areas we have.
What inspires you to continue giving back to CIS and the students of Brunswick County? Any help that we can give to the future generation is important.
Tell us one of your most rewarding experiences as a CIS volunteer. When a customer comes looking for a specific book or toy, and I have that item. I especially like to see a child’s eyes light up when they find that special toy or book! Then my efforts have been rewarded.
-Bob Demuro is a volunteer with the CIS Action for Success program at Shallotte Middle School.
Tell us about your volunteer work with CIS. I volunteer as a lunch buddy and in Peer Court at Shallotte Middle School.
What is your favorite thing about CIS? Working with young students to help guide them in their respective pursuits of education.
What is your favorite thing to do in Brunswick County? My wife and I enjoy the mild weather, playing a lot of golf, and going to the beach.
What inspires you to continue giving back to CIS and the students of Brunswick County? My desire to give back to the community and the opportunity to work with young people and change lives.
Tell us one of your most rewarding experiences as a CIS volunteer. To work with young people and have an impact on their individual growth.
– Leslie Johnson, a CIS math tutor at Shallotte Middle School shares her story: I am retired from the federal government. I used to tutor adults in math and learned many of them didn’t make it out of junior high, so I wanted to help out and address this problem earlier for kids. I started tutoring in the middle schools to help kids build a good foundation and prepare them for higher mathematics learning. “The best thing about volunteering is when a student ‘gets it’ and you see the light bulb come on – that’s when you make the connection with the student and you know you are having a direct impact.”
Welcome the newest Communities In Schools (CIS) Boiling Spring Lakes (BSL) thrift shop volunteer. His name is Sam Thacker and at just 18 years old, he already has a desire to help his community and give back as much as he can.
Originally, from Goldsboro, NC, just outside of Mount Olive, Sam has been in the Boiling Springs area for about a year. He graduated from his homeschool program and now has aspirations to become a writer of books, movies, or short stories. At 18, he has already written and published about 50 short stories on a website he operates. His stories have developed quite the following receiving regular comments and feedback from fans all over the world.
Volunteering comes naturally to Sam. When he was just 12 years old, he organized a volunteer food drive that brought in enough food to benefit a local women’s shelter, a soup kitchen and other community organizations! Then at 15 he spent time doing volunteer farm work. Sam got involved with CIS because it is an amazing cause. “I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t helping earlier,” he says. He feels a true calling to volunteer at CIS helping students to stay in school and be successful in life.
Sam always promotes education and the CIS mission to customers and other volunteers in the thrift shop. He feels education is the most important thing to achieve, “because you can’t get anywhere without it.” Sam says that the staff and volunteers working in the BSL shop are patient and kind and always available to help him with answering any questions. It makes him feel good to be able to give back to his community and know that his work is benefitting Brunswick County students at the same time. “Education is the path to the future and I want to help the young people in Brunswick County to get prepared and be successful.”
“People in the BSL thrift shop are great. The shop staff teach me new things every day,” said Sam. He says he wants to help and give back because it’s the right thing to do. Sam has a heart for volunteering and has been regularly giving back since his youth. Once he finishes a task, he immediately is seeking the shop manager and asking for more things to do. He is always ready to help, even offering to come in to volunteer on additional days if needed. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity to volunteer in the thrift shop and help students in Brunswick County.” Welcome to the Boiling Spring Lakes CIS Thrift Shop Sam and thank you for helping to make it a more successful and even better shopping experience.
Fran Croson, Shallotte Middle School CIS lunch buddy – Fran is using conversation cards to spur more discussion between herself as a lunch buddy mentor and students.
5 Questions in 5 Minutes – highlighting CIS volunteers
Beth Strickland has been a long time CIS Action for Success volunteer at South Brunswick Middle School. She is passionate about helping students and changing their lives for the better!
1. What influenced your decision to work with CIS?
I enjoy working with teens and CIS is the only organization in the area
serving those students.
2. What would you like to be
The positive impact I make on people’s lives. I don’t need to be remembered as long as the positive impact is made.
3. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I am the person you want on your trivia team (just not sports).
4. What advice do you have for kids who are struggling in school?
Ask questions and ask for help. If you don’t understand, someone else probably doesn’t either. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s the bravest thing you can do and it will inspire others.
5. What is your favorite thing about working with CIS?
I love working with and fostering relationships with students. I’ve worked with some for two years, and it’s great to look and see how far we’ve come.
Donna Cowan has volunteered in the Leland CIS Thrift Shop since it opened. She is excited about CIS’s mission to help Brunswick County students and loves helping Leland shoppers to find hidden treasures in the shop.
1. What influenced your decision to work with CIS?
I wanted to give back to the community.
2. What would you like to be
That I gave as much as I could and enjoyed life the best I could.
3. Tell us something that might
surprise us about you.
I worked for a building products company and rose to Tax Administrator in the corporate tax department. I was selected for the company’s president’s award for outstanding work in cost savings.
4. What advice do you have for kids who are struggling in school?
Set goals and continue to work toward them. Don’t give up. There are many different avenues to success!
5. What is your favorite thing about working with CIS?
I love working with the friendly staff and the ability to give back to the community through volunteering. There is no better use of time than to invest in our young people.
Joseph Raiti has been a CIS Southport Thrift Shop volunteer for almost a year. But he makes up for his short time in the position by volunteering three days each week at the shop.
1.What three traits define you?
I am helpful, very organized and always willing to lend a hand.
2.What would you like to be remembered for?
I love my work, and love helping customers and staff with any needs.
3.What is your favorite thing to do?
Going to the beach.
4.What are you listening to/reading these days?
I’m not a big book or music person.
5.Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Disney World is the best place I’ve visited because it makes you feel like a kid again!
6.What influenced your decision to work with CIS?
When I was in high school, I did volunteer work at the high school and also volunteered at some elementary schools. I want to help struggling kids and families. I liked it so much in school that I wanted to continue doing that work and CIS is the perfect fit.
7.What’s the most important trend you see today in education or retail?
Today’s kids have so much school work and are involved in so many activities, I think that they need to focus more on their school academics to prepare them for life.
8.What advice do you have for kids who are struggling in school?
I think students should seek out their teachers and counselors for extra help with school work. Just ask and they will help.
9.Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I’m 21 years old and already dedicated to helping younger students succeed. I care about CIS and its mission.
10.What is your favorite thing about working with CIS?
I love working with the other volunteers and have good managers to work for when I am in the thrift shop.
Diane, Sunset Beach thrift shop volunteer – “I feel appreciated for my work with CIS thrift shops. The managers at the Sunset Beach thrift shop are very kind to us. I love volunteering with CIS and giving back to the kids in schools.”
Helen, Sunset Beach thrift shop volunteer – “I like volunteering at CIS and doing something helpful for the community. I enjoy the camaraderie of the thrift shop team of volunteers and loves the customer interaction she gets. Volunteering at CIS Sunset Beach thrift shops is not work at all, I look forward to coming to the shop every Friday. Volunteering for CIS is a way to give back and feel part of the community.”
Lisa Rothe has been volunteering in our 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) after school program since October 2015. She is a small business owner and dedicated mother. She decided to volunteer in the program to ensure her son’s social and academic success, but quickly became a part of our program’s overall success serving over sixty children daily! She loves helping others and volunteers in the Jesse Mae CCLC program almost every day.
She is always full of ideas and willing to help with anything the program needs. She is an asset to teacher assistants in the homework room, as well as a great help for school staff during special events and family academies! Thank you Lisa for your dedication to helping students succeed!
Two regular Shallotte Middle School volunteers, Katherine Mohr and Linda Weller, are leading a Red Bow Club that focuses on boosting self-esteem with a small group of sixth grade girls. They meet with students over five weeks teaching the girls to feel more confident and appreciate the talents that make them unique and special.
CIS SMS volunteers help students grow academically and feel proud of their accomplishments. They are dedicated to students and offer guidance and wisdom. CIS volunteers give of their time and in return they make a difference in a student’s life. We are so grateful for all they contribute and for sharing their time and talent with CIS students at SMS.
Jo Ann, retired teacher, – “I volunteer in CIS Southport thrift shop because I want to help contribute to give students the extra help they need in our school system.” “I picked CIS to volunteer because they help so many kids in schools and with education barriers.”
Joan, retired teacher, – “I volunteer in CIS Southport thrift shop because I was a teacher and I know how much the students need help.”
Lester Horowitz and Jerry Linnell have volunteered their time in the STEM Program with CIS at Shallotte Middle School since September 2015. Lester and Jerry have helped students with projects involving soldering, serving food, guest speaking, and assisting students making frames for a paper-making project. Lester finds it extremely rewarding to give back to the community by sharing his expertise in the area of hands-on-learning. One of his goals is to demonstrate to CIS middle school students the importance of safety procedures. Students recently learned to use a table saw and drill to cut wood for frames they needed in a STEM papermaking project at the middle school.
The men work with each student individually to demonstrate the various safety precautions involved in the entire construction process. Lester is motivated to give back by volunteering because it is a way for him “to carry on his father’s gift of teaching skills to the young learners in a caring and supportive environment.” Jerry says that the children have shown enthusiasm in working with in-class volunteers and have been very courteous and respectful of both men in their attempts to help them. “It is very rewarding to work with these students who sometimes do not have the role models to positively back them in their extracurricular efforts,” Jerry said.
A Brunswick County middle school student completed the CIS Peer Court program and began in the CIS Action for Success Program. The student has matured and grown through the CIS program with grades and behaviors improving. The student has a strong relationship with their volunteer CIS tutor and with the counselor and looks forward to sharing with them. The student wants to graduate school and go to college to become a physical therapist. With the support of CIS and our dedicated volunteers, the student’s goals are on the way to becoming reality!
Volunteer lunch buddies have lunch with students giving them an opportunity to share and have one on one time with someone who cares. Kim and Carolyn Loucks have volunteered for the past five years with CIS at Shallotte Middle School as lunch buddies. The Loucks stated that, “For our middle school lunch buddies, we’re adults that listen; we’re a sounding board for their ideas, and provide a voice of reason to help put them on the right track.” Since completing orientation for CIS they have been lunch buddies for seven different students. “Being a lunch buddy allows us to develop strong relationships with our middle schoolers. During our time together we have seen our lunch buddies mature and grow.”
The Loucks say they also benefit from being lunch buddies. “For us, our time with students reminds us of what it’s like to be a preteen and teen – very dramatic, exciting, and funny. Being a lunch buddy has allowed us to develop relationships with young people and provide our buddies with a caring, interested adult that will listen to what’s going on in their lives, and provide support and encouragement for whatever they want to do. We love being lunch buddies for our students.”
April 14 week: CIS Brunswick County Teen Court – making a difference in student lives
For many years the Brunswick County Teen Court program has provided an alternative to Juvenile and District Court to teenagers who are first-time offenders. It has proven to be a highly successful diversion program that has made a positive difference in the lives of many Brunswick County teens. It is important to note that Teen Court is facilitated almost entirely by volunteers. Teens from all of the county high schools volunteer to fill the roles of prosecuting and defense attorneys, court clerks, bailiffs, and jurors. They are assisted by adult mentors, many of whom are members of the Southport/Oak Island Kiwanis club. Local attorneys, both active and retired, as well as sitting judges, also volunteer their time to help the teen volunteers and ensure success of the program.
The Teen Court program could not exist without dedicated volunteers. The student volunteers carve time out of their busy school schedules and extracurricular activities to help peers by providing them with constructive sentences to point them in a more positive direction. They do so because they recognize the value of their contribution in the lives of their fellow students. They also understand the value of giving back to their community and the personal satisfaction gained by doing so. The adult volunteers, many of whom are retired, are very generous with their time and skills. They enjoy interaction with the students and also feel a sense of gratification in being a positive influence in the lives of so many teens.
It is impossible to express the depth of gratitude for all of the Teen Court volunteers. Their generosity and enthusiasm for the program are unparalleled. They are extremely dedicated volunteers – showing up month after month, prepared to present their cases before the Court – and making Teen Court a priority in their busy lives. They work together to make a difference for their peers, student participants, and for our community as a whole. Communities In Schools extends heartfelt thanks and admiration for all that they do!
Mary Beth Mount
Brunswick County Teen Court Director,
Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office and Communities In Schools
CIS volunteers at Shallotte Middle School tutor weekly small student groups or one-on-one in math and reading. Vincent Marino tutors students in math at SMS.
He said, “I decided to give my time in the middle school system to help guide children at a very critical period in their young educational lives. This transitional period can be very challenging. My aim in tutoring and mentoring is to teach the value of establishing goals and working towards them, building confidence through accomplishments. The children know me by name and I’m met by warm smiles, high fives, and hand bumps every day. Truth be known, I get more out of it than the children do. Volunteering with CIS puts a smile on my face every day and has exceeded my personal expectations. I just love it.”
Patrick, two-day a week volunteer in the CIS BSL thrift shop – “Volunteering in the BSL thrift shop keeps me active and involved with others.” “Other volunteers at the thrift shop are like my family, we take care of each other.”
CIS thrift shop volunteers make a lasting difference
With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right volunteer match can help you find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.
Communities In Schools of Brunswick County (CIS) thrift shops owe a lot to our volunteers for helping with our success. We have volunteers that dedicate hours each week to making our thrift shops look the best and to offer the best customer service to our shoppers. CIS thrift shop volunteers have ownership in the work they do, each having specific jobs and tasks they complete and are responsible for. CIS volunteers are some of the best at doing what they do!
CIS volunteer Marilyn Mills from Long Island, NY has been helping out at the Boiling Spring Lakes (BSL) thrift shop before it even opened in 2010, over six years ago. She met her husband, a native of Brunswick County, in New York while he was in the Air Force, and has been married for 57 years. Retirement allowed them to return to his birthplace of Brunswick County in 1990 where they enjoy their free time and being active in many volunteer activities.
Marilyn is a regular volunteer at BSL and is responsible for organizing and stocking the housewares section. She keeps a watchful eye on the glassware, pots, and other kitchen and dining items. However, she admits that she does “a little bit of everything” depending on what is necessary. Marilyn’s other volunteer activities revolve around her love of animals, growing from when she competed in barrel horse racing and horse shows back on Long Island. Her devotion to animals is evident in her volunteer work at the Animal Control Shelter in Supply. She doesn’t stop there and is also a member of the BSL VFW and participates in the many programs. This volunteering keeps her busy, but she enjoys all the time she donates to CIS and other organizations, “I just love helping others,” Marilyn says.
Mary Lewis is also one of the original volunteers at the BSL thrift shop. She has been involved with CIS since the shop opened in 2010. Her area of expertise in the thrift shop is clothing, and admits that she does “only clothes.” Her clothing skills are very apparent which is evident in the neatly stocked and organized racks of clothing which fill the BSL thrift shop.
Mary was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and met her husband there while he was stationed in the Navy. After moving around in the military, Mary and her husband eventually retired, and headed back to his home of Brunswick County in 1976. Retirement didn’t last long for Mary, being fluent in Spanish, who went to work for the Brunswick County Health Department as a translator for an additional 20 years.
With her husband being an avid gardener, Mary looked for something to fill her free time and give back to the community. She saw a newspaper ad about volunteering with the new BSL thrift shop and answered the call. She has been there ever since and is a mainstay at the BSL shop. She enjoys the company and working with other volunteers. Mary says, “I enjoy my friends here and I especially find joy in donating my time to support the students.” She continues to use her skills as an interpreter and helps in translation for Spanish speaking customers. When Mary is not “thrifting” she enjoys sewing, crocheting, and baking.
Without these and many other volunteers; CIS thrift shops would be very different. Volunteers bring unique skill sets that benefit any organization where they are involved. The countless hours volunteers give to CIS and other organizations greatly impacts the Brunswick County community. Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks makes a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. Volunteering is a two-way street, it benefits you and your family as volunteers as much as the cause you choose to help.
Lorelei Hauptmann has been a volunteer at Town Creek Elementary CIS after school program for five years. She began volunteering by reading and making books come alive for the children. She has even started a Lego Club for students and families where Lorelei reads and talks about book characters and the children create their own story using Legos. The students and staff appreciate and love her efforts as a volunteer!
Diane, Southport thrift shop volunteer – I like to volunteer at CIS because of what CIS stands for and does for the students in Brunswick County. People can shop at our thrift shops and get nice clothes at deep discounted prices. Just knowing that people can come in the shop and find name brand gorgeous items that will change their life and the lives of students from the money CIS raises. I started out volunteering one day a week and now I’m up to three days a week. I love working with the other volunteers. Volunteering at CIS is very addictive!
Beth is a mentor in the CIS Action for Success program and wants to change young lives for the better. She loves working with CIS and the opportunity to be a mentor helping students and teaching them the value of education. She helps students with schoolwork from math to social studies and assists with emotional issues like transitioning from elementary to middle school. “Every day I want to be a positive influence in young people’s lives.” She wants to give the students the best chance available for them to succeed in their education and life choices. Beth wishes more people were aware of CIS, their programs, and took advantage of all the services they provide. “It greatly benefits the students, families, schools, and the mentors, tutors, and volunteers that are involved. CIS helps the communities they serve develop a strong base of educated residents for the future.”
Marsha, Southport thrift shop volunteer – I like to help kids stay in school and get an education. I volunteer in the school classrooms at Brunswick County Academy and also help out on the other side volunteering with CIS providing money to keep kids in schools.
April 7 week: After school volunteers make all the difference
CIS offers a variety of educational programs for Brunswick County students. The elementary after school program allows students to continue their learning and studying after the school day ends. CIS after school programs are blessed to have volunteers contributing their time, energy, and talent to a variety of school locations throughout Brunswick County.
Our dedicated volunteers vary in age, skill, and levels of participation, but every volunteer has one thing in common – a love and desire to see children achieve and grow in learning. Volunteers support and build upon what teachers and assistants do daily in the classroom. CIS after school volunteers assist students with tutoring, learning and exposure to the arts, computer technology, and within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field. Volunteers are aware of key issues students face and work with them to find solutions in a one-on-one environment, creating a comfortable, relaxing learning space.
Volunteers help young minds develop reading, math, and comprehension skills, which directly flows into their daytime schoolwork. CIS after school program staff believe in igniting the love of working with children in our communities’ youth, and can be easily seen in our Early College and High school volunteers. These young adults gain experience and confidence as they mentor students and assist as homework-helpers. CIS after school volunteers bring joy, love, and learning to children. Volunteers become mentors to the students building meaningful bonds of trust that will remain with the children for years to come. A volunteer is not simply a helper, but the heart and soul of CIS after school programs. Our volunteers are immeasurable assets to staff, students, and community. They bring personal attention and commitment to student learning that our students look forward to every day!
Past CIS Director of Elementary Programs