Volunteer of the Week: Sandy NeldonPublished 10:18am Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sandy Neldon, of Niles, has been volunteering at Brandywine Community Schools since 1996. In 2012, she was recognized as the district’s volunteer of the year.
Q: What do you do as a volunteer for Brandywine?
A lot. When my children started there — they are lifelong Bobcats — that’s when I began volunteering, from kindergarten on. I got very involved with the school, volunteering as head room mother, popping popcorn for the kids each week, reading with kids each week.
As all three of my kids grew and went on in the school, I stayed completely involved in their education. I did whatever needed to be done as they were in school.
When we needed a millage passed, I went around and talked to the community for weeks to explain what the millage was really about.
When my girls moved up to seventh grade, I started volunteering at the concession stands. That was about 12 years ago.
We’ve had golf outings for the Brandywine Improvement Foundation. I’ve gotten sponsors out in the community — I’m just one of many very involved parents.
Q: Why do you devote so much of your time to Brandywine?
Well, I am a lifelong Bobcat. I went to Brandywine. When I looked for a home, I looked for one in the Brandywine district so my kids would go there. I didn’t want them in a big school district. I wanted them in a smaller one where everybody knew everybody so they could make lifelong friends.
My whole goal in life, when I had children, was to see them succeed. I never went to college. I never even finished high school. I wanted my kids to have better. I was raised that your success comes from having your parents there side-by-side with you through your education. That means a lot of volunteering and showing your kids that you care, that you are there and you know their teachers. I wanted to know who was taking care of my kids and who the teachers were that were leading my kids. That’s what got me into volunteering.
Q: How long do you plan to continue volunteering there?
As long as I live in the Brandywine school district I will be involved and do whatever I can do to make Brandywine successful. I own a home in the community and I am a true believer that the school that is in your community is a place to volunteer and give your time — to make something of the community.
Volunteers are very hard to get anymore. Everyone works two jobs, so it’s hard to find the time to volunteer. But it’s important. The kids are our future.