School volunteer becomes a father figure
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 28, 2013 1:50 AM
Daniel Weeks, center, the Wayne County Public Schools Volunteer of the Year, is surrounded by the students he has worked with and who have become regular members of his youth group at Bethel Church.
Daniel Weeks has no children of his own at Goldsboro High School.
But for many students there, he has become a father figure.
The youth director at Bethel Church spent more than 375 hours at the school this past year as a volunteer.
"Mr. Weeks is one of those rare individuals who was not recruited, but was simply eager to volunteer," said Tonya Faison, GHS principal. "He saw a need and asked if he could coordinate our mentor program for struggling seniors.
"Since that day, 30 mentors have coached and encouraged more than 30 students to improve grades, attendance and behavior."
In addition to serving as a mentor and recruiting others to do the same, he provides regular support to seniors preparing for the graduation project and serves as club adviser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
And on Thursday afternoon, he was named the school district's recipient of the Terry Pilkington Volunteer of the Year award, named for the man who served for 20 years as volunteer coordinator.
Weeks' reach goes beyond the school walls, officials said, with students participating in community service and projects such as Habitat for Humanity as well as becoming part of his youth group at church.
"He has about 150 kids Wednesday night, the middle school, and Thursday night, the high school," said Barbara Wilkins, graduation coach at GHS. "We hijacked the bus -- they were on their way to church. A lot of the kids get on the van and go to his church."
A contingent of those students was there in full force, lined up across the back row of the auditorium at North Drive Elementary School, as Weeks received his award.
Weeks offered congratulations to the other recipients from the individual schools, then challenged others to become volunteers.
"I just think we can make a difference if well get off our hind parts and do something," he said.
"Thank you to the school system for letting me come in. I really would love to say, if you volunteer, be a leader, recruit people to volunteer."
"Partners in Education" awards were also presented. Since 1995, the program has expanded its role supporting the schools, with more than 170 businesses allowed businesses and organization to contribute to supporting the schools.
J.B. Price, chairman of the PIE steering committee, presented the awards in three categories -- small, for businesses with 1-15 employees; medium, for those with 15-50 employees; and large, with more than 50 employees.
Accu Copy, which has been a partner at Northeast Elementary School for 10 years, has donated time, print and materials to the school, said Price. It received the award in the small business category.
Medium category award went to Fayetteville State University Alumni, which has volunteered at North Drive Elementary School for more than 10 years, engaging in such projects as providing dinner and presents for 125 students at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Garris Chapel United Methodist Church received the award in the large category for its five-year partnership with Spring Creek Elementary School. Among its contributions, Price said, was the establishment of FLOK, For the Love of Kids, providing backpacks with nutritious food for 60 identified students to have food over the weekend.
The following are volunteers of the year for individual schools:
*Brogden Middle, Eleanor Tart
*Brogden Primary, Farritta Phillips
*Carver Elementary, Rachel Vasquez
*Carver Heights Elementary, Zella Taylor
*Charles B. Aycock High, Brenda Paul
*Dillard Middle, Racquel Morton
*Eastern Wayne Elementary, Amber Jenson
*Eastern Wayne High, Elizabeth Dove
*Eastern Wayne Middle, Craig Sembly
*Edgewood, Sam Molinario
*Fremont STARS Elementary, Brandi Waddell
*Grantham, Jeannette Ponce
*Greenwood Middle, Pam Ferrell
*Meadow Lane Elementary, Savannah Goulet
*Mount Olive Middle, Kristal Jones
*North Drive Elementary, Muriel Peters
*Northeast Elementary, Dennis Hill
*Northwest Elementary, Ann Wilson
*Norwayne Middle, Renee Stoneking
*Rosewood Elementary, Carol Henn
*Rosewood High, Sherry Jones
*Rosewood Middle, Alex Hayden
*School Street Elementary, Seymour Johnson AFB Mentoring Team
*Southern Wayne High, Tony Jones
*Spring Creek Elementary, Andrea Gray
*Spring Creek High, Amy Raiford
*Tommy's Road Elementary, Kelsey Kearney
*Wayne Early/Middle College High, Debra Curl
*Wayne Middle High School Academy, Bill Edgerton
*Wayne School of Engineering, Michelle Darden.