Communities In Schools of Wilkes County honored its volunteers at an
appreciation luncheon Nov. 4, 2011 at the Stone Center in North
Wilkes Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen Laws thanked the
volunteers for their service, and said they are making a big difference
in the lives of young people. Laws said the mentoring and support
provided by CIS volunteers helped boost Wilkes County’s high school
graduation rate from 62% ten years ago to 80% today.
Thanks to the volunteers, more than 1,200 Wilkes County students get
one-on-one support and encouragement from CIS programs, CIS executive
director Glendora Yarbrough said.
CIS staffers presented awards to the year’s top volunteers:
Josephine Redmon was honored as the Friends of Youth
Program Mentor of the Year. She’s pictured at left with Friends of
Youth Program Coordinator Jettie Walker.
Mrs. Redmon is a mentor to Brianna. They enjoy going to the YMCA,
eating out together and participating in monthly Friends of Youth
activities, Mrs. Walker said.
Mrs. Redmon is retired from Carolina Glove Company. She and her
husband John live in Moravian Falls and are members of Thankful Baptist
Church. They have one son, Thomas.
Mrs. Redmon has been a mentor in the Friends of Youth program for two years.
The Friends of Youth program is a one-on-one mentoring program for
Wilkes County students in grades 4 through 8. Volunteer mentors spend
two to four hours a week with a child doing everyday activities. Monthly
activities are also planned for all youth and mentors to enjoy as a
Barbara Gregory was honored as the Lunch Buddies
Program Volunteer of the Year. She’s pictured on the right with Lunch
Buddies coordinator Amie Rose.
“Barbara is an outstanding volunteer who attends her weekly visits
faithfully and shows great compassion and concern,” Mrs. Rose said.
Mrs. Gregory is retired from Ronda-Clingman Elementary School, where
she worked for 25 years as a teacher assistant. She and her husband
James live in Ronda and are members of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
They have two children and four grandchildren. Mrs. Gregory has been a
Lunch Buddy for five years.
The Lunch Buddies Program pairs adult volunteers with children in
grades K through 3 at eight Wilkes County elementary schools. The
volunteers eat lunch with a child once a week, helping to build
self-esteem, confidence and positive attitudes toward school. The
program currently serves 120 students. Last year, volunteers spent more
than 2,100 hours with their lunch buddies.
Patricia Parks was honored as the Smart Girls
Program Volunteer of the Year. She’s pictured on the right with Smart
Girls coordinator Jettie Walker.
Smart Girls coordinator Jettie Walker praised Mrs. Parks for her
commitment to make a difference in the lives of middle school girls.
Mrs. Parks is retired from Tyson Foods. She is currently pursuing a
degree in Christian Education from Vintage Bible College in
Winston-Salem. She is a member of Grace Kingdom Life Ministries. Mrs.
Parks has six children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Parks has been a CIS volunteer since 2006. She began working with
the Smart Girls program last year.
Smart Girls is a teen pregnancy prevention curriculum facilitated by
trained adult volunteers. In their weekly meetings with middle school
students, Smart Girls instructors build self-esteem and encourage girls
to make healthy choices.
Michael Wood was honored at the Wise Guys Program Volunteer of the Year.
Mr. Wood is retired. He moved to Wilkes County from east Texas two
years ago to be closer to family. Mr. Wood has been a CIS volunteer for
two years. He has served as a tutor and a Wise Guys facilitator.
Wise Guys is a male character development curriculum facilitated by
trained adult volunteers. Wise Guys instructors encourage sound decision
making and responsible sexuality in their weekly sessions with middle
Mr. Wood was unable to attend the award ceremony.
Darrell Groves was honored as the New Century Scholars Program Volunteer of the Year.
New Century Scholars coordinator Melissa Higgins said Mr. Groves has provided financial and hands-on support to the program.
Mr. Groves has also served as a mentor to students. “Last year,
Darrell was instrumental in helping a senior find a mentor that guided
him and helped him finish his project with flying colors,” Mrs. Higgins
“Darrell believes supporting higher education is what matters most in the life of a student,” Mrs. Higgins said.
Mr. Groves is employed by Vulcan Materials. He and his wife Wanda
live in Wilkesboro and are members of Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist
Church. They have one daughter, Samantha. He has worked with the New
Century Scholars program since 2002.
The New Century Scholars program encourages educational achievement
by guaranteeing Wilkes Community College scholarships to select Wilkes
County sixth graders. The scholarships are awarded upon graduation from
high school. Partners in the efforts are: CIS, Wilkes Community College,
Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Education Improvement Committee and local
businesses. CIS tracks the students’ progress and engages the students
in regular service learning projects throughout middle school and high
school. The program enrolls 24 sixth graders each year from across
Betsy Welborn was honored as the CIS-Wilkes Board
Member of the Year. She’s pictured at right with CIS-Wilkes Executive
Director Glendora Yarbrough.
“We love Betsy in our office,” Mrs. Yarbrough said. “She is a marvel for CIS, and a true advocate for us.”
Mrs. Welborn has strongly supported the agency’s efforts to achieve
national accreditation. CIS-Wilkes expects to complete the accreditation
Mrs. Welborn has served as the board’s Programs Chair. She has also taught the Smart Girls curriculum to middle school girls.
Mandy Marxen was honored for her role as a volunteer for DanCIS, the dance program of Communities In Schools.
Mrs. Marxen has served as coordinator and lead instructor for the
program for the past eight years. Thanks to her, hundreds of Wilkes
County girls have been able to discover the joy of dance, Mrs. Yarbrough
DanCIS provides free dance instruction and dance wear to girls whose
families are unable to afford traditional dance training. The program
currently has more than 50 girls enrolled. Classes meet one day a week
from October to March. With two yearly performances, the students get
opportunities to show what they have learned to their family and
Mrs. Marxen was unable to attend the award ceremony.
Zachary Triplett was honored for his service as a CIS Summer Intern. He’s pictured with the CIS staff.
“Zach was a great helper to us this summer,” CIS’s Amie Rose said.
“He was very meticulous as he helped organize donations from the Stuff
the Bus campaign. He’s one of the best students who’s ever helped us.”
Zach is currently a sophomore at West Wilkes High School.
Food Lion store 2582 in Wilkesboro was honored as
CIS Business of the Year. The store organized a drive to collect snacks
for CIS after school programs.
Dave Rhodes of Applebee’s was honored for his role providing food donations for CIS’s Merlefest booth.
Randy Brooks and Petro Kulynych
were honored for providing special support to Communities In Schools.
Neither honoree was able to attend the award ceremony. Mrs. Yarbrough
notes this was the first appreciation luncheon Mr. Kulynych had to miss
over the past ten years. She thanked him for his steadfast support of
For more than 30 years, Communities In Schools of Wilkes County has
worked to surround students with a community of support, empowering them
to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS brings caring adults into
the schools to address children’s unmet needs. CIS also sponsors youth
activities that give students the opportunity to learn, grow and give
back to the community.
Volunteers are currently needed for several CIS programs. To volunteer, please call CIS at 651-7830.
Communities In Schools of Wilkes County is a United Way of Wilkes partner agency.