On May 6, Communities In Schools of Lexington/Davidson County mentor, Deneesha Edwards was presented with a North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service during the regular meeting of the Lexington City School Board of Education.
Edwards was one of only three volunteers in Davidson County to receive this award, which recognizes individuals, groups and businesses across the state making significant contributions to their community through volunteer service.
Edwards was nominated by Communities In Schools based on her outstanding commitment to being a stable, caring presence in the life of her mentee, Ja’Nia, currently a sixth grade student at Lexington Middle School.
“It is my honor to volunteer for this great cause and to work in partnership with Communities In Schools,” Edwards said in a written statement. “Being a mentor allows me to do something meaningful. Volunteering with CIS gives me a sense of purpose … I have always been a supporter of the organization because I believe volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities.”
“Deneesha is everything we hope to see in our mentors and more. She is committed not only to helping her mentee, Ja’Nia reach her true potential, but to helping CIS achieve our larger goal of preventing dropouts by providing a support system to deserving kids in need of extra attention,” said Ryan Jones, executive director of CIS.
Edwards began working with Ja’Nia at Charles England Elementary School in 2011. Over the last three school years, Edwards has helped Ja’Nia develop positive social habits and understand the importance of setting goals and staying focused.
“Picking up my lunch buddy, Ja’Nia is always one of my favorite days. I like to refer to it as ‘our time’ because we share personal stories, talk about school and life, and have a great time bonding as friends. She truly brings joy to my week,” Edwards said. “I would encourage others to consider being a mentor … It truly makes a difference. There are young people in the community who need a role model, someone to inspire them, and lots of love.”