"The greatest resource that any country can have is its children. My passion and commitment are our children. I envision a community where no child is alone, hurt, hungry, or rejected and where every child is treated with dignity and respect. All children must receive equitable opportunities to a solid public education in order to succeed in life.
"I was a teacher and principal for 48 years and have devoted my life to helping children develop into productive citizens. Upon retirement in 2000, my commitment compelled me to continue giving time, effort, service, and support to make a difference in the lives of children. At age 72, I continue to volunteer for children in Jarrell Independent School District (JISD), in Georgetown Independent School District (GISD), and across Williamson County.
"When I was a principal, I encountered many children with obstacles that impeded their academic success: poverty, homelessness, abuse, hunger, dysfunctional relationships, and inadequate medical care. These children were without the comforts that I knew as a child. All children deserve to develop emotionally, socially, physically, and academically so that they are able to experience success and productivity.
"I truly feel that children in our schools need all of us as they grow through life’s experiences. One of my most important contributions was seeing my dream for a community clinic with pediatric services become a reality. One Sunday afternoon five years ago, I invited several doctors and their wives for a get-together after church. I shared with them how important children’s health and welfare are to their academic success. Many underprivileged kids do not have adequate health care or insurance. In Georgetown and across Williamson County, there were no providers for children on Medicaid. The closest services were in south Austin and often transportation was unavailable. After that initial meeting I investigated options and developed a community team that could help me realize the dream of a community clinic. My mission was to mobilize our community to provide adequate health care for our kids in Georgetown. A hungry child can’t focus on learning; a child without glasses can’t learn to read.
"After two years of planning, the clinic opened to serve underprivileged children and their families. The Georgetown Community Clinic has dental, medical, pediatric, and psychiatric services and an on-site pharmacy. In its second year of operation (2004) The Community Clinic had served 25,000 children and their families from Georgetown and surrounding areas and served more this year.
"Understanding that children’s health impacts academic success, I have engineered the Mission of Mercy for the past two years. Through Mission of Mercy over 50 physicians, dentists, and optometrists provide free medical care to over 2000 in Georgetown, Jarrell, and Williamson County children. This year, over 550 received glasses, hearing aids, and treatment for glaucoma and diabetes. In addition, I organized educational programs at all nine Georgetown elementary campuses where local physicians have conducted dental check-ups and drug/alcohol prevention activities in every class for the past several years.
"Another rewarding contribution was becoming a mentor. After the first visit with my mentee, I knew that we were a perfect match. We both have much in common; we are both legally blind. I mentored Lacey from 5th grade until she graduated from Georgetown High School. I was so proud of her…off to college ready to meet the world head-on. Our friendship continues to grow every day. A mentor can positively impact and truly make a difference in a child’s life—a relationship that can last a lifetime.
"Through my personal experience as a mentor, I realized the positive impact that an adult role model can have in the academic, social, and civic development of a child. Therefore, I helped to establish a mentor program in Jarrell schools this year. I called upon my many friends, my church family, and my neighbors in Sun City retirement community to become mentors. And I don’t take no for an answer.
"I believe that excellence in education is the key to our nation’s future. We must empower all our children with the best schools and guidance possible if we are truly to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. At a time when we face stark choices about how best to strengthen the future of our great nation, our commitment to education and to children must stand absolutely firm. We have a sacred obligation to put children’s needs first and to make the essential investments that will help them to succeed."