Thumbs Up! - Dec.2, 2013

See who deserves a thumbs up this week.

At least one of Disney World’s biggest fans is old enough to drive herself to the Orlando attraction. Jaelah Smith, a sophomore at Darton State College, has been to Disney World nine times and is far from bored with the place where dreams really do come true. Smith has been chosen as one of just a handful of college students among thousands of applicants from all over the world to hold a full-time, paid internship. A music major, Smith will winter at Disney World as a student intern and one happy person at Disney College as well as continue classes online at Darton. Congratulations, young lady.

Mentors in Action, also known as M.I.A., are Marines who regularly volunteer in the Dougherty County School System. Be it reading or teaching about professionalism or simply listening to the students, M.I.A. volunteers remain with their classrooms throughout the year giving everyone a chance to bond and build trust. This year, families from the schools involved were chosen to receive a Thanksgiving basket, which included a 15-pound turkey. For a struggling family such a generous move may well be the one act of kindness that made the holiday a one for giving thanks.

Retired deputy superintendent of the Dougherty County School System, Carlos Keith, no longer has the work stress and responsibilities he once faced daily. But he has taken his place at a much smaller table with kindergarten and first grade students at Alice Coachman Elementary School. The veteran middle and high school English and language arts teacher knows well how important it is that students jump on the reading habit early. Keith reads to and tutors the young students every week simply because the need is there, he wants to give back to the DCSS, he has the time, and best of all, he enjoys doing it. With that sort of outlook, there’s no doubt the children benefit greatly.

The Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County is preparing for one of its biggest annual fundraisers. On Dec. 7 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, the club will host its all-you-can- eat Pancake Breakfast. Starting at 7:30 a.m. and going until 11:30 a.m., adults can stuff themselves with delicious stakes of pancakes for only $6 while children under the age of six can dine with an adult for free. Proceeds from the breakfast are earmarked for activities and projects benefiting children in Dougherty and Lee counties.

Billy Lemon, widely known by his coworkers at The Albany Herald for his culinary expertise, cooked 18 turkeys beginning at midnight the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Many other members of Hines Memorial CME Church worked together to make sure all the fixins for a grand meal were ready for a hungry crowd Monday afternoon. The line at the church’s social hall began forming at about the time most people are enjoying breakfast. The annual Caring and Sharing holiday meal filled the bellies of more than 250 people. Clothes that were collected throughout the year were also distributed. All the food, all the clothes, all the time and an abundant amount of love was donated entirely by members of the church. Thumbs up, one and all!

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board