GHC Reflects an American Tradition of Volunteerism

September 27, 2012

Amid much information and statistics about the financial and emotional benefits of higher education to individuals and communities, one fact is mysteriously missing: how much value a college brings to its service area because of the volunteer efforts of its faculty, staff and students.  Imagine how much poorer our community would be without the expertise and volunteerism of the college family.

The efforts are widespread and diverse, from free dental screenings to food pantry donations to soup kitchen service to participation on a wide variety of boards.  College representatives serve in Rotary, Exchange Club, on Chambers of Commerce committees, on boards ranging from Communities in Schools to the Rome Symphony Orchestra.

Students enrolled in the First Year Experience, participate in a service learning project as part of their curriculum.  Dental hygiene students are required to perform a specific amount of community service every year.  Nursing students are required as part of their curriculum to complete 12 hours of community service. If the students are in the LPN/paramedic bridge program, they are required to complete six hours of this service.

Volunteerism is actually embedded in the American DNA.  It dates to the earliest days of the American colonies.  Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer firehouse in Philadelphia in 1736 – a tradition that continues today, especially in smaller townships in the Northeast.  During the Revolutionary War volunteers raised funds for a variety of war efforts, and organized boycotts of British products.

When pioneers began their arduous trek across the continent in the 1800s, the colonists discovered that pulling together and supporting each other were vital survival tools.  There were so many challenges to overcome, not all of them related to the journey alone.  They fought serious illness, equipment failures and unpredictable weather that could make them lose all their crops.

Large charitable organizations that thrive today were founded in the 19th century.  The YMCA started on a college campus in Michigan.  The American Red Cross was founded in 1881.  The United Way was established in Denver, and still coordinates local services for people in need.

In the 20th century volunteer efforts, which had been primarily coordinated through churches, became mainstream.   Probably the first example was the founding of the Rotary Club, followed closely by the Lions ad Kiwanis Clubs.  During the Depression, bread lines literally saved many from starvation.  Those lines were most likely the inspiration for the current soup kitchen and food pantry concepts.  And in World War II the USO and other organizations performed a variety of services toward the war effort.

And so the spirit of giving has been handed down from generation to generation to accommodate the needs of the time.  As a college family we should be extremely proud that our faculty and staff exemplify the spirit of generosity required to come home from work, to leave home and family chores because they see a need and want to extend comfort and solace to fellow human beings.

Below are the efforts of some of the GHC family – and these are only the ones who responded to a survey.  Rest assured that there are many more who volunteer their time and energy who are not listed here (Jon Hershey, for example, one of the most prolific volunteers in the Rome and Floyd County areas).  Also left out of this list are students and their service learning projects, but that’s another story in and of itself.  Imagine our region without this body of work and contribution.

Scott Akemon, Assistant Professor of History, Political Science Advisor:

Teacher for Boy Scouts’ Citizen I the Nation merit badge

Coach, girls’ soccer, YMCA

Volunteer, Armuchee Middle School to restore football and soccer equipment

Sam Baltzer, Professor of Music and Community Liaison:

Volunteer music director for Rome’s Own Musical Ensembles, Inc., or R.O.M.E.

Volunteer, Angel Express, a service organization for children that provides toys at Christmas and activities throughout the year.

Nadia Brown, Graphic Designer:

Nadia Brown and her therapy dog Jilly practicing with their neighbor Savannah Gregg to prepare for the R.E.A.D. program at local schools

A registered Pet Partners volunteer with therapy dog Jilly (Australian shepherd) – Floyd Medical Center, R.E.A.D. program

Graphic designer for the Rome Fine Wine Festival and other special events of the Rome Symphony Orchestra

Board member and graphic designer for the Rome International Festival Committee

Susan Claxton, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Human Services:

Volunteer for the Floyd County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Group facilitator for Floyd County Survivors of Suicide group

Board member of the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia

Board member of Transitions Hospice

Board member of the Floyd County Critical Incidence team

Nancy Compton, Adjunct Instructor, Academic Learning Support:

Volunteer, Silver Creek Methodist Church community dinner

Dana Davis, Director of College Relations:

Volunteer with English Mastiff Rescue organization

Founder, Friends worship group in Rome (Quakers) and coordinator with Atlanta Monthly Meeting

Board member, Rome Symphony Orchestra

Member of campus police/security peer review team, University System of Georgia

Member of Emergency Operations Planning group for USG

Adam Decker, Associate Professor of Biology:

Volunteer at numerous elementary schools in the Cartersville area conducting hands-on science lab for fourth and fifth-graders.  Students use a compound microscope to view blood cells, bone cells and neurons.  They also prepare a wet-mount slide to view their own body cells (from their cheeks) under the microscope.  Decker reviews the major tissues of the human body and the anatomy of an animal cell with these classes.

David Delis, Audio/Visual Technician (IT):

Ombudsman, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves, Department of Defense to negotiate agreements between returning soldiers and employers so that veterans get back to work as quickly as possible.

Allen Dutch, Communications Lecturer:

Board member, Network Day Service Center

Jeanette Eckles, Director of Enterprise Application Services:

Annual volunteer, Atlanta Prosperity Campaign, an organization that connects working families to money-saving programs and benefits that help them save and build for a brighter future.

Works with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance helping elderly and poor with their income tax returns.

Kathryn Garcia, Assistant Professor of Spanish:

Volunteers through the Spanish Activities Club for an after-school program for elementary children called Book Buddies.  Held at the first Presbyterian Church in Cartersville, volunteers help children who speak English as a second language to read more fluently.

Meredith Ginn, Associate Professor of Communication:

Troop leader, Girls Scouts

Volunteer with Mothers of Preschoolers, which undertakes a variety of service projects for crisis centers, food banks and other organizations

Volunteer for Operation Christmas Child, an organization that tries to assure that every child has a Christmas with gifts.  Packages are distributed all over the world.

Volunteer for Living Water for Girls, a shelter for girls who have been the victims of sex trafficking.

Parent leader of children’s church choir

Volunteer for Cobb Education Consortium, which brings K-12, technical college and higher education leaders together.

Libby Gore, Assistant Professor of Learning Support Mathematics:

Yoga instructor for cancer patients and caregivers under the auspices of SpringStone Yoga and Cancer Navigators

Lynn Herman, Associate Professor of Nursing:

Volunteer diver for the Tennessee Aquarium, cleaning tanks, feeding fish and performing dive shows

Chelsea Holley, Admissions Recruiter – Marietta; Matt Davidson, Enrollment Management Specialist – Marietta; Aletha Sykes, Enrollment Management Specialist – Marietta:

Volunteers for participation in Teacher for a Day, Cobb County

Sandra Howell, Administrative Assistant, Mathematics:

Master Gardener, docent volunteer for Rose Lawn rose maintenance and for 4H Clubs.

Paulette Jordan, Lab Technician:

Volunteer, Transitions Hospice of Rome – Reads patients’ mail, takes them shopping, sits with those who have no family

Counselor, Congregation Beth Aliyah

Cathy Ledbetter, Campus Dean – Paulding:

Volunteer judge at art contests in Paulding County community and at area schools

Joan Ledbetter, Director of First Year Experience:

Member of Rome Kiwanis Club

Volunteer reader at South Rome Boys and Girls Club

Works on communication skills, resume development and job/career preparation with high school students at Pepperell High School

Volunteers to help at Students Against Drunk Driving events and the Safe Driving Expo at Pepperell.

Bronson Long, Assistant Professor of History:

Mentor, Communities in Schools

Laura Musselwhite, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs:

Managing director of Rome International Film Festival, 2008 – 2012.

Member of the choir, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (20 years)

Kirk Nooks, Campus Dean Marietta Campus:

Volunteer with Principal for a Day in Cobb County

Carla Patterson, Associate Professor of English:

Volunteer at Trinity United Methodist Church – arranges youth trips, helps organize Jesus in the Park event, develops yearly calendars, chaperones youth activities, organizes parent volunteers

Volunteer with faculty coach at Armuchee High School for academic decathlon team

Volunteer with Jacksonville State University’s Gamecock

Jeff Patty, Chief Information Officer:

Runs Web and podcasts of services at Trinity United Methodist Church, Rome

Dana Pergrem:

Co-creator of the Rise and Shine program that teaches communication skills to young school children.  Makes presentations at a local elementary school on becoming media savvy, speaking in public and communicating persuasively.

Devan Rediger, Biology Lab Coordinator:

Member of the board of directors for Keep Bartow Beautiful.

Volunteer for Relay for Life – Bartow County.

Volunteer, Liberty Kids Choir, the Church at Liberty Square.

Volunteer, Etowah Valley Humane Society.

Volunteer for Rivers Alive for the Coosa River Basin Initiative.

Ocean Life and Special Senses demonstrations at Discovery Academy

Respiratory and cardiovascular demonstrations at Excel Christian Academy

Environmental science activities for fourth grade at Excel Christian Academic

History fair judge, Excel Christian Academy

Volunteer at GHC’s Fabulous Fridays

Advisor to Green Highlands, GHC’s environmental student organization

Oversaw and tended the community garden to benefit Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and Harvest House food pantry

Volunteer for several communities in the annual Great American Clean-Up

John Rogers, Plant Operations Technician:

Volunteer with Grand Lodge of Alabama making child ID kits for elementary schools

Ginni Siler, Chief Human Resource Officer:

Chair, Society for Human Resource Management, Rome Chapter

National conference volunteer, SHRM

Conference chair, University System of Georgia Human Resource Association

Member of Policy Advisory Committee, USG

Member, HR Strategy Committee, USG

Member CBO Talent Management Committee, USG

Lyric Sprinkle, Student Life Coordinator

Program/entertainment chair, Douglas County Relay for Life

Mentor, Douglas County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals program

David Stelts, Instructor of Mathematics:

Leader, Boy Scout Troop 81, Silver Creek

Conservation director for Georgia Appalachian Trail Club

Greg Sumner, Professor of Criminal Justice:

Co-founder and foundation member of Community Criminal Justice Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that helps people in law enforcement.  It provides scholarships to GHC for law enforcement personnel to further their education.

Served as president of the HighPointe Homeowners Association.

Chairman, Great Rome Chamber of Commerce (2011)

Board of directors, Georgia Chamber of Commerce (2011-2012)

Board of directors, Rome Rotary

Chairman, budget committee, First Baptist Church of Rome (also other committees at that church)

Active member of Leadership Georgia

Board member, Rome Downtown Development Authority

Deacon, First Baptist Church of Rome

Advisory board, Northwest Georgia Police Academy

Fund-raiser for United Way of Rome 2012

Chair-elect for Board of Deacons, First Baptist Church

Leslie Terrell-Payne, Senior Student Advisor:

Volunteer, Human Society

Volunteer, PTO at elementary school

John Upton, Director of Campus Safety:

Member of the Exchange club, a civic organization that raises money for and participates in charitable activities.

Eileen Walker, Advising Training Coordinator:

Mentor, Communities in Schools (fifth year with same student)

Volunteer at community kitchen

Rachael Wall, Assistant Professor of English:

Member, board of directors of Wyngate, a housing development of 850 houses in Cherokee County

Renva Watterson, Interim President:

Board member, Network Day Service Center, an organization dedicated to adults with developmental delays, contributing events planning and sponsorship, fundraising, building projects and appreciation efforts

Member, Rotary Club

Board member, Blue Ridge AHEC, dedicated to health education

Board member, Sexual Assault Center serving Floyd and Bartow Counties

Volunteer for Meals on Wheels through First Methodist Church

Member, Rome Exchange Club, coordinating art exhibit/competition for the Coosa Valley Fair

Member, American Association of University Women

Member, AAWCC

George White, Director of Continuing Education:

Ambassador for Bartow-Cartersville Chamber of Commerce

Member, advisory council for Bartow County Schools Work-Based Learning

Member, advisory council for Bartow County College and Career Academy

Member, Department of Labor Employers/Chamber HR Committee

Faculty and staff put a lot of extra time in at the college, too.  Kristie Kemper, professor of communications, famously puts in untold hours advising and working with the 6 Mile Post; Charlene Jablonski, administrative assistant in nursing, has volunteered her time for some of the many, new-student orientations conducted each semester; Alison Lampkin, alumni development specialist, coordinates Fabulous Fridays and is part of the GHC Ambassadors, a group that hosts events inside the college for faculty and staff and performs service projects outside the college.

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