2016 Year In Review

2016 Year In Review

In 2016, Friends in Focus completed its fourth year as a non-profit organization, focused on its mission of advancing the educational opportunities of students in Montgomery County, North Carolina, plus improving and increasing programs and activities for senior citizens in Mount Gilead and the surrounding area. We are pleased with our accomplishments, but more pleased to provide assistance to those we serve and thankful to those of you who supported us in 2016.

Below are some of the initiatives and accomplishments of Friends In Focus in 2016:

  • our mentoring program (Gator’s Good Guys) at Mt. Gilead Elementary School completed its fourth year. We continued to emphasis the value of a top-shelf (quality) education and the role of the student as a citizen in the community. This year we introduced etiquette and why it is important through our “manners matter” series. The fourth and fifth grade young men who completed the year long course were given opportunities to improve their presentation skills, gaining confidence and exposure to what it means to be accountable for one’s own actions.
  • Saturday Academy, our tutoring program, at Highland Community Center also completed four years and continues to grow. We worked monthly with an average of 20 students, (girls and guys), with concentration on reading, math and etiquette. The students traveled to Charlotte, NC, for a cultural experience at the Museum of the New South, as well as an entertaining movie at Discovery Place. Although the goal is grade level proficiency for these students, we also work to foster enthusiasm for learning and a thirst for knowledge.
  • sponsored and produced the Fourth Annual Community Appreciation Gala in Mt. Gilead, honoring Mr. Earl Poplin with the Milfred F. Greene Outstanding Achievement Award. Considered to be Mt. Gilead’s “Ultimate Advocate”, Mr. Poplin, the former mayor, was recognized for his many contributions to the town and the inclusive manner in which he achieved his objectives. It was a great evening with approximately 200 guests and friends.
  • awarded nine (9) college scholarships for minority seniors in the Montgomery County School System, to help encourage more minorities attend college. These scholarships were presented to the students at the schools’ senior day awards programs. The scholarship program continues to grow.
  • entered into the second year of the ‘Reading For Success!!!’ program at Mount Gilead Elementary School designed to provide assistance to students who need help to become more proficient in reading. Volunteers are assigned to classes and work individually with the students to improve their reading skills. This year two local businesses agreed to permit their employees to volunteer during regular business hours to help with this program. We are on target to double our volunteers for the current school year.
  • for the third year, co-sponsored and conducted a three-week summer enrichment program at Highland Community Center focused on reading skills and preventing ‘summer slide’. One of the goals is to help students retain what was learned during the previous school year. We expanded this program and included middle schoolers and collaborated with the Montgomery County School System to help provide transportation for the students. Pre and post assessments showed 67 % of the students increased at least one grade level in reading and 92% maintained their current level. Activities included a trip to Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • for the fourth year, participated in the summer reading enrichment program (Give 5, Read 5) at Mt. Gilead Elementary School and donated 519 books for students to read over the summer to help prevent ‘summer slide’. In four years, we have donated over 1000 books in support of this program.
  • working with the faith community and other volunteers to create a common purpose around education and community pride, helped sponsor and coordinate the first ever inclusive back to school rally and picnic in Mt. Gilead, providing book bags and other school supplies for 150 students. Over 200 citizens attended.
  • accepted representation on the Montgomery Community College Foundation Board of Trustees, the Montgomery Fund Board of Directors and the Montgomery County School System’s Teacher Retention/Recruitment Committee to foster partnerships and teamwork and improve Friends In Focus’ opportunities to be more effective in its mission.
  • for the third year, helped sponsor the trip for West Montgomery High School AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students to attend the Fourth Annual AVID Day for North and South Carolina students, in Charlotte, NC. This program is focused on bridging the achievement gap and encouraging students to attend college.

Thank you to all who have helped Friends In Focus grow in its mission in 2016. For more information about the organization and support opportunities, please see friendsinfocus.org or call (704) 905-9201.

“we serve, not because of what we give, but why we give.”


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