Retired school personnel recognized for outreach
Published 6:01 pm Monday, April 25, 2016
A local organization’s work to support the public school system has paid off.
Twenty-two members of the Beaufort County Unit of the North Carolina Retired School Personnel (NCRSP) recently were honored for their volunteer service. The branch was also designated as a Gold Star Unit during a state convention for its extensive outreach. Based on a points system, each unit accumulates points based on activities and programming, and a requirement that at least 25 percent of its volunteerism is dedicated to education, increasing membership and other criteria, according to Cynthia Heath, president of the unit.
“The Gold Star (designation) — that’s very competitive,” Heath said. “We hope to maintain and build on the successes we have.”
The NCRSP is a division of the North Carolina Association of Educators and the National Education Association, which encourage members of the retired division to engage in community participation services, according to Heath. Although the unit members are retired, remaining active is aligned with the state goal of maintaining health, as well as generating recognition in the community through activities that support children and public education and increase public visibility of the division, Heath said.
The group has an incentive and recognition program, in which it provides gifts to students, staff and teachers who excel in a certain area or who have been chosen to represent their school in programs such as Battle of the Books, FBLA and other student organizations and events, Heath said. The group provides items such as school supplies to reward students and faculty for their accomplishments.
“It’s important because everyone likes to feel appreciated,” Heath said. “Let it be noted, someone is aware of what you’re doing. We’re almost like cheerleaders for those in the public school system.”
According to Heath, this year, members reported volunteering for 1,722 hours in various educational activities and 3,014 hours in a variety of other activities, totaling 4,736 hours in volunteer service. The volunteer hours equal a dollar value of $106,118.30, according to Heath.
Christine Davis, chair of the local Health and Wellness Committee who reported 1,097 volunteer hours — a value of $23,080.88 — was the top volunteer for 2015, according to Heath.
“It’s a matter of keeping us active in retirement and being involved in issues pertaining to education, as well as retirement,” Heath said. “It’s been beneficial (to us in our retirement) because of the programs we’ve presented and the information that keeps members up-to-date on local and state issues of concern. We are very pleased with the things we’ve been able to accomplish. We are a small unit, and we’re competing with units that have 500-800 members. We still feel and talk like school employees, and we stay informed with what’s going on in the public school system.”
Moving forward, the unit is preparing to install new leadership, during a time in which the NCRSP program is being revised. Jackie Garner has been elected president of the unit, and her installment is set for May 20 when the group will meet for the last time this year for a fun day of activities.
The unit is always accepting new members, which includes all categories of retired school system employees, both certified and noncertified, according to Heath.
For more information, contact Jackie Garner at 252-946-5304 or Carolyn Ambrose at 252-923-7971.