Friday! Last day of service camp. It is always bittersweet. We are all exhausted from our week-long volunteer activities, so we are happy for the weekend to be here, but we are sad to see our new friends go. Our hope is that after this week of teamwork and camaraderie, we will come back together in fellowship and service in the future. This was definitely reinforced with today’s theme: Reaching Out.
This day was all about getting to know people in our community that we may not typically – to make new friends, share stories and smiles, and end on a truly positive note. Our morning was spent at Southern Pines, a senior living facility, where we made crafts to decorate their bulletin board calendars, made banners with positive images and sayings to hang on the residents’ doors, and helped a few residents get their gardens back under control. But all that activity was just an icebreaker with our ultimate goal to meet new people and brighten their day. We are pretty sure we were successful! And we are pretty sure that our campers felt the same. It is always heartwarming to hear even the youngest or most high-energy kids say that this was one of their favorite volunteer activities.
After lunch, and more rock hiding for Thomas County Rocks at Cherokee Lake, we headed to the Roll-A-Rink. However, this was not just fun time (although it was!), but more volunteer time. We invited a group from the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Clubs to join us as our guests. Our campers’ job was to act as hosts and hostesses and show them a good time…which we did!
We would like to thank all the non-profits we visited this week for allowing us to serve, and all the parents and campers for helping to make it a great week! We hope to see all of you volunteering in the community again soon.
Today’s summer service day focused on food – how it is something most of us take for granted on a daily basis. It is there when we want it – and even when we don’t, we know it is there. For many though, easy access to three meals each day is not a given.
Our morning was spent with Backpack Buddies, a volunteer-run organization which provides weekend food items for students in need at all of our public schools. You see, while they are in school, breakfast and lunch are readily available. But once they get home, dinner may not be. The program has expanded to include summer food bags which ensure these students will have meals even when school is not in session. Our campers completed 337 bags in less than one hour – we think that may be a record!
After lunch and hiding kindness rocks at Balfour Park, we visited Second Harvest of South Georgia, a non-profit which provides low-cost food to partner organizations such as Backpack Buddies. Our task: sort, organize, and pack 1-ton boxes of donated food items from the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive held this past May. Our campers completed more than 10 of these giant boxes, allowing these food items to be available to local hunger relief agencies and their clients.
It was a great day of doing good. It is days like this that make us proud!
Day three of summer service camp – honestly, it wasn’t an easy one. We spent the majority of the day outdoors. It was hot and humid (thank you south Georgia summers). The tasks were physical. We are proud to say, we made it through, and we are ready for a new chance to do good tomorrow!
Our theme was the Environment and Our Community. We discussed the big picture of the environment – from air to water – and how its well-being affects our lives and future. We then whittled down to our very own little community – from citizens to structures – and how its well-being affects our immediate lives.
The day was spent at Birdsong Nature Center, a 500+ nature reserve on the Thomas County line. In the morning, we worked with other volunteers to remove invasive plants, ardisia and privet, which are found in abundance throughout our area (and even in our yards), but negatively affect the growth of native plants that benefit our native wildlife. We also climbed a beautiful magnolia tree and visited the Bird Window.
In the afternoon, we participated in Thomas County Rocks, a community-building event. We painted rocks with messages and positive images that will be hidden in various places around Thomas County (you’ll find quite a few at Birdsong!) for others to find. This simple activity is meant to unite fellow residents through a fun, inexpensive act that anyone of any age can participate in; encourage creativity; get people outdoors and into the community to hunt (and hide some themselves); and hopefully bring a smile to those that find one. Sometimes a simple act of kindness can change your whole day. A happy and involved citizenry makes a happy community!
Today, summer service camp focused on Animal Welfare – how we care for animals, and how animals sometimes care for us. This is typically one of the most popular day with our campers – filled with love, fur, and a bit of sneezing!
Our morning started with Miss Kitty Feline Sanctuary, a no-kill feline rescue. We decorated their cat carriers in the hope that making them more eye-catching would attract attention to the animals inside, and maybe even encourage an adoption or two (or more!). We then visited the Miss Kitty Facility where we donated food, towels and toys; and took turns socializing (loving, petting, playing) with the more than 260 cats currently in residence. Animal socialization not only keeps the kitties purring happily, but also keeps them people-friendly which helps their chances of getting adopted. We also toured the South Georgia Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic, part of the Miss Kitty campus, where we actually witnessed animal surgeries and learned the importance of controlling the dog and cat population – because the truth is, there are only so many loving homes available for all the animals in need.
After lunch at Cherokee Lake Park compliments of Granddaddy’s BBQ, we were off to the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society. There, we again donated blankets, food, and toys; bathed and groomed dogs; socialized with both cats and dogs; and washed the Animal Control truck.
It was a great day for all 2- and 4-legged participants! We are thankful for both organizations for allowing us to be a part of their important work.
We started off day one with the theme of Safe & Sound. We volunteered at a home site out in the county with Habitat For Humanity. The home had been completely destroyed in the devastating storms this past January. Many local residents are not aware that more than 200 homes were damaged, and 11 were completely destroyed during this weather event.
Facing many personal and physical challenges, this homeowner needed a hand up (not a hand out as Habitat Executive Director Ken Manwaring is fond of saying) to get himself and his family back in a safe living situation. Today, campers literally helped to put this house together – donning face masks and work gloves to install insulation (our main task which they completed). They also learned that a clean work site is a safe work site – and despite the muddy conditions, helped clean out and organize the tool trailer; and collected, sorted and stacked building materials.
To tie our Safe & Sound theme together, we volunteered in the afternoon with the Red Cross which, when they are not responding to disasters, teaches people how to be prepared in case of an emergency. We learned about the different ways we can lend a hand (although hopefully we will never need to) from cpr for people and animals to creating bug-out bags. Although not a physical, hands-on volunteer activity like at Habitat, it is no less important a volunteer activity, makes us stronger and more self-reliant as individuals and a community, and helps fulfill an important mission of the Red Cross.
We would like to thank Habitat For Humanity and American Red Cross/South Georgia Chapter for allowing us to be a part of their important work, and Southern Regional Technical College which hosted lunch and our afternoon session.
Student Hands On Thomas County is proud to present Project IMPACT 2017 Summer Service Camp, June 12-16.
Open to rising 6th-9th graders, IMPACT is a week of fun and hands-on volunteer service. We’re currently working on exciting and fun projects for 2017, but this will give you an idea of what we do during camp:
TEACHERS! Help your students get a head start on their community service hours, download a printable camp flyer here to distribute to your class. Click here!
Sign up now; space is limited; first come, first served; and fills up quickly. Click here to print out a REGISTRATION FORM. Application, release and payment must be received to reserve your spot. WE ARE SORRY, 2017 CAMP IS FULL.
We need volunteers to help make this program possible! If you are interested in being a youth (16+) or adult counselor for Project IMPACT, click here for an application.
Thank you to all the donors who help make these programs possible, especially Diamond Level and above Sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Clint Kadel, Mr. & Mrs. Philip C. Watt, Ashley Homestore. The Gift Shop, and the Thomasville Antiques Show Foundation.
More than 75 community members gathered on Tuesday, April 25 to honor local volunteers during Hands On Thomas County’s Cheers for Volunteers Reception & Awards at The Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce. With April being National Volunteer Month, April 19-22 was HOTC Volunteer Week, a celebration of service and volunteers, making it the perfect time to announce Hands On Thomas County’s 4th annual Hands On Heroes. Scroll down for pictures!
Hands On Heroes is an annual program to recognize outstanding volunteer efforts in our community. More than 25 nominations were submitted by non-profit agencies and community leaders in student, individual and group categories. Award winners and honorable mentions were selected by a committee based, not just on hours served, but impact, passion, commitment and inspiration. Winners received handcrafted Hands On Heroes awards, Everfan Super Hero Capes, and a $500 Bobbie Flowers Quiet Leader Scholarship (for the student winner). On behalf of local non-profit partners, HOTC is proud to recognize these very special volunteers who shine brightly in the eyes of local non-profit agencies and community members as Hands On Heroes.
Individual Category (volunteers 18+ who serve independently in Thomas County)
Honorable Mention – Ms. Laura Pike, Ms. Gina Shumake, Ms. Crystal Willis
Hands On Heroes Award Winner – Mr. Marvin Dawson
Mr. Dawson currently serves with Thomas University, United Way and CASA, but his true value to our community comes from his volunteer efforts benefiting local youth at the MNW Boys & Girls Club, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity where he mentors young men and women helping them become proud citizens and leaders in their own right. His commitment to youth, belief in their bright potential, and his model leadership makes him a true Hands On Hero!
Student Category (youth in grades 6-9 in Thomas County)
Honorable Mention – Ms. Kai Frazier, Ms. Katie Wise
Hands On Heroes Award Winner – Ms. Malyce Collins
A Senior at Scholars Academy, not only is Ms. Collins a regular volunteer and vice president of Rose City Strings Interact Club which focuses on community service, but she took it upon herself to create her own service club, EARTH (Environmental Awareness & Relief Touching Humanity) Club which encourages fellow students to volunteer to make the world a better place. Efforts have included Hands & Hearts For Horses, tree planting, and raising funds to order recycle bins for the school. Her goal is to involve not only her school, but the entire community, in making a difference. We recognize and applaud her efforts to engage her peers, and exhibit true leadership qualities.
Group Category (businesses, organizations and civic clubs in Thomas County)
Honorable Mention – Longhorn Steakhouse, Thomas County Central High School Student Ambassadors
Hands On Heroes Award Winner – Thomas University Men’s Soccer Team
If you are a local sports fan or a non-profit, you are familiar with this group. They successfully balance school, work, jobs, practice, and games – yet still manage time to volunteer, as a Team and as individuals, in the community – not once in a while, but year-round – for organizations like HOTC, TASF, Vashti, Humane Society, Lives Without Limits and many more, including disaster relief efforts from the past January’s devastating storms. Most of these players are not originally from Thomasville, the state of Georgia, or even this continent, yet they contribute to this community like it is their home, and make it a better place as a result.
Hands On Heroes Award Winner – Student Group: Thomasville High School Air Force Junior ROTC
The corps cadets have a mission: to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. Although the cadets may change from year to year, their commitment as a unit to service before self does not. They participate regularly in HOTC event days, and they are frequent volunteers for events and organizations that promote patriotism and unity.
Other nominees included: Jerrylene Brown, Glenda Butler, Marc Decosta, Shanna Derby, Katy Garbett, Kirstern James, Ken McKinnis, Rebecca Ramsey, Thomas County Health Department
Hands On Thomas County would like to thank all the nominees, award winners, those who took the time to make a nomination, and all those who volunteer tirelessly and selflessly every day. You are all HEROES!
HOTC is currently accepting resumes for a summer* internship position. If you are motivated and friendly, have great computer skills, and a love for volunteers and non-profits, we’d love to hear from you! Click here for more information.
*Our organization and needs have grown so that we can also consider year-round internship opportunities that coordinate with your school schedule. Please specify your preferred time period in your cover letter.
If you are interested in this unique opportunity, please email us your current resume with a cover letter and references in PDF or Word format. We must receive all three items in order for your application to be considered. No phone calls please.
April is National Volunteer Month. Join us for Thomas County’s very own Volunteer Week, April 22-29, 2017. Volunteer Week is a celebration of service and all the volunteers who help make good things happen in our community. During this annual event (always the week before Rose Festival), we’ll have select volunteer opportunities (of course!), volunteer “shout-outs”, and Appreciation Stations at select businesses around town. THANK YOU to all of our volunteers who make this such a great community to be a part of! Take a look at what we’re planning and check back for updates!
Saturday, April 22
Feeding the hungry in our own back yard. Sign up to volunteer here.
M-F, April 24-28
Care Package Collection Drive
Give back! Local agencies are in need of travel size toiletries for volunteers to make care packages for families displaced from their homes. More details here.
M-F, April 24-28
Stop by Grassroots Coffee at 118 S. Broad St. any time this week, identify yourself as an HOTC Volunteer and receive a free cup of java on the house!
M-F, April 24-28
Come by our office at 120 E. Monroe Street all this week to receive a coupon for a small container of cookies compliments of Quirky Perks. Supplies limited. Coupon must be redeemed AT Quirky Perks by 4/30.
M-W, April 24-26
Volunteers wanted to sort and pack food for local families in need from 3pm – 5:30pm. Come one day, come all! This is a great volunteer opportunity for students. Find out more here!
Tuesday, April 25
Cheers for Volunteers
Help us toast the many volunteers that make a difference in our community as we present our Hands On Heroes award winners. Click here for info!
T,T April 25&27
Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society
Lend a hand to help our furry friends at the Humane Society afternoons from 3-5pm. Cleaning and maintenance, animal socialization, bathing and grooming animals – these are just some of the needs. Click here to learn how to volunteer.
W-F, April 26-28
Keep Thomas County Beautiful
Help keep our community clean and pretty by picking up litter as part of the Great American Clean Up! This flexible volunteer opportunity is great for students and families with busy schedules. Details here!
Friday, April 28,
Rose Show Parade
Adult volunteers needed to help with the Post-Parade Meal for parade participants from 6pm – 9pm. Click here to find out how to help.
Friday, April 28
National Super Hero Day
Another way to recognize our many community heroes – purchase a Hero Recognition Bag from Everfan, and proceeds will be donated to local Backpack Buddies programs. It’s win, win! For information on how you can participate, click here. Hurry, only 100 bags available; deadline is April 17.
Saturday, April 29
Art In The Park
Volunteers will help with oversize Yard Games at this Rose Festival event. Click to learn more.
Come play with us at our 7th Annual Mac Attack Disc Golf Tournament in partnership with HD Supply Waterworks and Red Hills Disc Golf! This is a PDGA sanctioned C-tier event. All ages and skill levels are welcome to this friendly competition benefiting HOTC at MacIntyre Park Disc Golf Course. All players receive lunch, player pack with MA7 tournament disc, plus the chance to win cash and prizes. Want in? Click here for more information and to register.
Want to volunteer to help at this tournament? Email us. Volunteers are needed to help with check-in, lunch, CTP judges, and more. Ages 16+ (or under with adult) welcome!
Want to sponsor this worthwhile cause? Click here. Hole sponsorships are just $100. All proceeds benefit HOTC volunteer and community service programs.
Want to help kids in need? We will be collecting small, individually packaged breakfast and lunch items for local summer backpack food programs for kids. You can drop them by our office at 120 E. Monroe Street prior to May 12, or bring to the tournament on May 13. We appreciate your generosity!