Kansas — Jack Melhorn
Jack Melhorn retired after teaching sociology for 44 years. In retirement, he has stayed extremely active with a variety of volunteer community activities — with his wife, Mary, at his side.
Thanks to a friend, Jack became intrigued with the work of a group in his Kansas community called Children in Need of Care. In 1995, he became more involved with the group by serving on the board. Then in 1998, he went even further in his commitment to the group’s mission by pursuing certification to work as a volunteer for the Juvenile Offenders Citizen Review Board. Appointed by an administrative judge, this board is comprised of community volunteers who review legal cases involving children in the child welfare or juvenile justice system.
Jack’s duties as a volunteer are to:
- Review cases, receive information from all parties about the cases and access information in the court’s case file.
- Determine progress toward acquiring a permanent home for the children.
- Suggest alternative goals for the cases, if progress is insufficient.
- Make recommendations to the presiding judge regarding further actions on the cases.
The role is complex and time-consuming. Jack spends hours reviewing case files, meeting with juveniles, attending hearings and crafting creative solutions that he hopes enable troubled youth to redirect their lives.
In total, Jack has committed more than 1,800 hours of service to the program. More often than not, Jack isn’t informed of the outcomes for the juveniles. Nonetheless, he remains committed to working with as many youth as possible to help them start fresh and maximize their potential. That’s true commitment.
Ohio — Bellvadell Sindlinger
Most of us hope for the gift of longevity. Can you image living to the age of 103? How about being an active volunteer in your community at that age?
Meet Bellvadell Sindlinger. Every Tuesday morning, this retired teacher walks with her cane to Robert F. Schultz Elementary School in Delaware, Ohio. There, she provides one-on-one math tutoring to energetic third-graders.
She retired in 1969, but she still turns to the tried-and-true techniques from her days as a classroom teacher. She uses flash cards and patience to engage students’ intellect and improve their math skills.
Students say she is just amazing. With Belvadell’s assistance, students are improving and keeping up with their goals.
Teachers say they appreciate the extra help in their classroom and report that the children “absolutely love” this retired teacher. Children even have been known to sneak into the classroom where Belvadell is teaching just so they can work with her.
Belvadell has set the bar high. She continues to give back to children and education and to put her talents to use in the classroom.
Pennsylvania — Judith A. Waldron
One of the most exciting parts of the day for many students comes right after the morning bell rings and the morning news starts. Students start their day hearing the latest news from their fellow students. Not only is this approach engaging and informational for viewers, it enables youth to get hands-on experience researching and reporting news.
One retired educator, Judith Waldron, has been instrumental to the success of the journalism program at the Delaware Valley Elementary (DVE) School in Milford, Penn. DVE-TV is the school’s live daily morning broadcast, and it involves every student throughout the course of the school year. The school also provides DVE-News, an after-school newspaper club that produces the monthly school newsletter.
Judith is a trusted and dependable adviser for both the broadcast and newspaper. She lends her time, kindness and talent to give overall guidance and support. Judith is always there to help students successfully interview high profile individuals — authors, musicians, sports figures and even presidents. Judith also travels with the students, chaperoning them wherever the stories take them — across the state, to Boston, Washington, D.C., even Canada. As the widow of a decorated war hero, Judith also helps teach students about the sacrifices of America’s military and veterans.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Judith understands that journalism is essential for a democracy to function. She is providing a deep value by volunteering to help our youth learn the ins and outs of journalism and its importance to their school, community and nation. Thanks to her work, students also are building important skills — researching, writing, interviewing and thinking critically — that will carry them far in life.
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