Sep 03 2010

The rewards of being a volunteer

Clifford Mitchell

Clifford Mitchell

By Sue Holloman

Many of us who have volunteered at Mount Zion, our neighborhood elementary school, often wonder how much impact our efforts have made over the years.

I have been one of the volunteers at Mount Zion Elementary School for the past 15 years. In the beginning I taught small groups of children one morning a week, and last year I had the opportunity to find out if any of my work made a difference.

If you have been to Newton Farms you may have run across a personable young man named Clifford Mitchell. Clifford is the Assistant Manager there, but also he was also my student when he was in 5th grade. This year I found out what he had been doing since I taught him writing back in 1998. It turns out that he is a recent graduate of Claflin University and won a full scholarship to attend. He graduated with a 3.7 and is now getting a Masters in Business at Charleston Southern. He is working to pay his way through school and Jeff Harrell, Store Operator, said that he is a “a terrific asset.” He has also started a small business of his own.

One of the most impressive things about Clifford is that, on remembering how volunteers helped him in school, he has started to pay it forward. He volunteered in a local elementary school during college and upon graduation received the Community Service and Leadership Award.

I asked him what he remembered about his days learning from me as a volunteer, and he said that the confidence he gained in writing was “very beneficial” and helped make writing more fun for him. He smiled as he remembered the heart-shaped cookies I brought to class on Valentine’s Day.

Do you want to make a difference in a child’s life? You can. Join the volunteers at Mount Zion Elementary School. Many of your friends and neighbors volunteer there and they describe their time at the school as being as rewarding for them as it is helpful to the children.

Come to Mount Zion School and become a part of helping our Johns Island children have a brighter future. Call Sue Holloman, Mount Zion Volunteer Coordinator, at 768-9734 or e mail her at for more information.

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