From the desk of Robbie Briggs, as seen in Papercity December 2015:
In this issue of PaperCity, we are pleased to shine the light on many of the angels and volunteers who make our neighborhoods better and stronger.
It is our chance to say “thank you” to those who do the heart-felt work of serving our community and, hopefully, inspire others to do the same.
I encourage you to embrace the spirit of the season and carry that faith, hope and joy throughout the New Year.
We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday.
And we hope you enjoy learning about these volunteers in our community.
To flip through the whole insert in Papercity, click here.
At 94 years old, Ms. Watson spends 30 hours a week as a Foster Grandparent at Head Start in South Dallas. Over the course of 30 years, Ms. Watson has mentored hundreds of children, helping them develop the social and academic skills they will need in school.
The Senior Source runs the Dallas Foster Grandparents program and enlists over 100 low-income volunteers to care for kids in local schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters. Helping children to learn gives meaning and purpose to a grandparent’s day and gives kids a much-needed extra dose of love and attention. It’s no wonder Ms. Watson and many other pseudo grannies and grandpas come back year after year, to give of their time and energy to the next generation.
Hockaday graduate Meredith Burke, Troop #603, spent two years working with the Connemara Conservancy to preserve the Blackland Prairie. Concerned that only 1 percent of the original eco-region remains, Meredith developed a system for removing invasive grasses and reseeding native plants and flowers. The Conservancy is now duplicating her method across 72 acres. For her hard work and impact on her local community, Meredith received the highest honor a Girl Scout can: the Gold Award.
2016 marks the 100th year Girl Scouts of America has been honoring Scouts with highest awards, the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Over 2 million girls are involved in Girl Scouts, but only 5 percent receive a Gold Award. Thanks to dedicated women like Meredith, communities are truly being enriched. Two years later, the Blackland Prairie is blooming once again.
Helping Kids Heal Through Play
You don’t have to be retired or a stay-at-home mom to enjoy the blessings of volunteering. Kurt Couch began volunteering at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) when he was a thirty-three-year-old young professional. Twenty-one years later, Kurt has dedicated 2,300 hours of his time to connect with patients and help with special events and summer camps. This past year, Kurt was honored Volunteer of the Year out of eight hundred volunteers at TSRHC.
TSRHC is a leading hospital in pediatric orthopedic conditions. Many volunteers spend time with the patients playing games, watching movies, doing arts and crafts and even venturing to the park. Scottish Rite Hospital is as warm and inviting as it is because of the care and commitment of volunteers like Kurt Couch.
Sock it to the Homeless
When Tia Gibson and her niece Kate Garrett sent out an email in 2007, they never imagined their simple sock drive would eventually donate 24,687 socks to Dallas’ homeless in just nine years. The “Sock It to the Homeless” drive runs throughout the month of October and invites people to drop off socks at five donation boxes scattered throughout the Park Cities.
Gibson and Garrett’s annual email reminds Dallasites that a homeless person’s feet are his main vehicle of transportation and that the most basic way to keep feet healthy is by wearing clean, dry socks. And this year was their biggest year yet: 5,000 socks were donated to the men, women, and children at Austin Street Center and Union Gospel Mission.
The Gift of Service
Virginia Baird wrapped gifts at the St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange until “her poor little fingers got tired.” But her weary fingers didn’t slow her generous spirit: she simply found a different capacity in which to serve. Baird has managed schedules and acted as department head (for three different departments), chairman, treasurer, and head treasurer, and now works for the paper department handling invoices.
The St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange is a charming gift shop located in Highland Park Village operated solely by volunteers. All proceeds are donated to charity, and since opening in 1958, the shop has donated over $4 million dollars. When Baird began volunteering, she knew she wanted to make a difference. By giving 45 years of service to this remarkable shop, she certainly has.
President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Uptown, Lakewood, Ranch and Land, The Ballpark and Southlake.