Thumbs Up! - Nov. 4, 2013

EDITORIAL: See who deserves a Thumbs Up! this week

Celebrating a 50th anniversary of just about anything is a big deal. It is easy to pat one’s self on the back and declare a job well done. Administrators, teachers, students and parents at Deerfield-Windsor School took a different approach to marking the school’s half-century mark. Each class at the lower campus chose a fundraiser project, a way to give back to community which has supported the school over five decades. On the 50th day of school, students and staff, as well as some of the beneficiaries of the projects’ success, gathered to mark the big event. The idea of the 50/50 Project came from a 1975 DWS alumna and former teacher, Mariruth Whittle Thomas. Lower school Director Cary Stoudemire and Headmaster Dave Davies bought the idea wholeheartedly. One kindergarten class collected more than 50 books for the Dougherty County Family Literacy Center while another raised more than $2,000 for the Flint RiverQuarium. Other grades collected hats and gloves for the homeless, cat food for the animal shelter, hygiene items for GraceWay and much more than can be listed here. Davies put it this way, “What better way to celebrate 50 years than to do 50 things for others?” Imagine what this community would be like if everyone thought that way.

Easter Seals Southern Georgia offers a wide variety of programs for folks, children and adults, with disabilities and special needs. Services are designed to meet their individual needs, not the least of which is vocational training. These programs include sheltered employment, transition services, work adjustment and work evaluation. Sheltered employment is designed to provide long-term employment in a structured environment for those individuals who need maximum supervision to be productive. Employees are paid commensurate wages and receive benefits as well as a sense of worth and dignity. Like every non-profit, Easter Seals relies upon community support. One way citizens can assist is by utilizing the drop-off laundry service. That is correct. Clothes, towels, sheets and even comforters can be left at 1906 Palmyra Road for workers to wash, dry fold and, upon request, even iron. As the rush toward the holidays hits (and beyond), let Easter Seals handle laundry chores freeing up time so scarce in our busy lives.

Little did Jimmy Cross know what was in store for him when he arrived at the semi-annual Turner Job Corps Center Industry Council Meeting. As the Flint River Habitat for Humanity construction manager, it was just a regular meeting for Cross. Much to his surprise, and delight of others in attendance, The day that started so normally took a spin when Cross found himself the recipient of the prestigious Partner of the Year Award from TJC. On Habitat job sites, Cross does more than construct houses. He is a teacher and mentor to the young people that come his way. Job skills and life skills go hand-in-hand under his direction. The humbled Cross has offered many a young person just what he or she needed to move on in life, both professionally and personally. Congratulations!

Few would argue that the veterans of America’s armed forces do not always get the honor and glory deserved. Not so will be the case at Lee County Middle Schools, East and West campuses on Veterans Day 2013. The students will perform musical pieces expressing respect for America, its symbols, its patriotic music and most of all, its veterans and families. The tributes are of great importance, to the veterans and those young people performing, some of which will surely be vets one day themselves. Both campuses will be accepting donations of greeting cards, letters, CDs and DVDs that day and through Nov. 22. Care packages will be sent to active military personnel who have family connections to the schools and shipped in time for Christmas. The cards and letters will be mailed to those in the VA Hospital in Dublin. To every man and woman that has helped preserve freedom in this country, we thank you and wish you health and happiness.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board