By Toni Stauffer
April 2, 2019 was National Service Recognition Day, according to a proclamation by Phenix City council members.
“Service is so very, very important in today’s environment,” Mayor Eddie Lowe said. “Service is the overflow into the lives of people with love and compassion, from person to person. That’s what we all need to be doing in some form or fashion. True service is done for the right reasons, and it’s the quickest way for our community to get ahead.”
National service expands economic opportunity by creating more sustainable, resilient communities and providing education, career skills, and leadership abilities for those who serve. They represent a unique public-private partnership that invests in community solutions and leverage non-federal resources to strengthen community impact and increase the return on taxpayer dollars. Participants demonstrate commitment, dedication, and patriotism by making an intensive commitment to service, a commitment that remains with them in their future endeavors.
Bridget Woodyard, Director of the Foster Grandparents Program (FGP) of Lee and Russell counties, and foster grandparent volunteers Patricia Fleming and Elaine Morgan, received the proclamation on behalf of their organization. The Foster Grandparent Program is a Senior Corps Program through the Corporation for National and Community Services.
Woodyard explained that FGP’s sponsor organization, East Alabama Services for the Elderly, Inc (EASE), has a mission to keep individuals active and a vital part of the community for as long as possible.
“It is our belief that seniors have so much to offer, especially to our children, in this ever-changing present by way of morals through mentoring, addressing behavioral and social skills, and/or education through tutoring by addressing literacy and math skills,” Woodyard said. “Our classrooms are increasing in size with little extra help for the teachers due to lack of funding. The volunteers are there for these reasons, to assist and “fill the gap.” Our children are our future and education is important. Service to others is the greatest gift that we can possess and give.”
Woodyard has seen the positive effect of service in her own life and the life of her son.
“This program is personal to me, because had there not been a volunteer to embrace my child, I know he would not have graduated college,” Woodyard said. “He had made up his mind and a very early age that it [college] was not for everyone. He now college-educated and a vital part of his community.”
Lowe and the city council encourage residents to recognize the positive impact of national service on our community, to thank those who serve, and to find ways to give back to their communities.