This month’s Volunteer Spotlight shines brightly on the gentlemen from the Rocky Mount Cornerstone Lodge! Founded in 2011, the members of the Cornerstone Lodge look for volunteer opportunities in which they can promote and enrich Rocky Mount and the surround communities. We interviewed six of the members, however this was a small group compared the thirty-two volunteers that help out at the Partnership regularly. The members interviewed are Mark Henderson, Steven Mills, Cornell Ranady, Derrik Moore, Joshua Person and Lomond Graham.
Mark Henderson knew about the Down East Partnership for Children (DEPC) through Sonja Person, Family Services Specialist at DEPC. Mark was looking for a place that the Cornerstone Lodge could be involved with underprivileged youth while enriching the community. The Lodge was already actively involved in community activities such as volunteering at the Soup Kitchen, working closely with Abundant Life Ministries to host Spring Fest, a free Spring festival featuring an Easter Egg hunt, making appearances in the Rocky Mount and Christmas Parade, just to name a few activities. The Lodge wants to be a part of anything with children in order that they and be positive examples to influence the youth of Rocky Mount. The Lodge has a passion for enriching the youth of our community and wanted to help in any way they could with DEPC.
The members of the Cornerstone Lodge are most actively involved in assisting with the Circle of Parent, however they communicate with Sonja on a regular basis to inquire about other programs that the Partnership needs volunteers. The members have provided pumpkins, a Valentine’s Day party, and a cookout for the Circle of Parents families. Lomond said that he found it extraordinary to hear from a mother how having the opportunity to carve a pumpkin impact her child with special needs. Hearing a testimony personally and getting to see children smile and have a glow about them, even when they cannot verbally express their opinions, really hits home for the members of the Lodge.
The Lodge sponsored a Family First family for Christmas and were able to provide three truckloads of toys for the family. Even though it was raining, that did not stop the children from riding their new bikes! These men want to provide hope for the future for families who otherwise might not feel like they have any hope. Lomond said that he refers individuals to DEPC for general help as well as asks them if they have every tried DEPC. He also mentions to families that “you will see a love for humanity and society at DEPC.” He also suggests taking the time to donate to DEPC because the more you can put into the Partnership, the less DEPC has to worry about money since they are funded through multiple sources.
Unfortunately, many individuals in the Rocky Mount Community only focus on the bad rather than the good that occurs. According to the Lodge members, “DEPC does a lot of great work and reaches out to the less fortunate. The Partnership sits in the heart of Rocky Mount, making it a prime location to reach out to the community. It is also a great place for young people to volunteer.” Mark loves to see the smiles while doing something out of the goodness of his heart. Seemingly simple, little things can have a profound impact on the children in our community. Mark has set an example for his own sons; they now go to the soup kitchen on Saturday’s to volunteer because they want to, not because they are told to.
In addition to the volunteer work at DEPC, the Cornerstone Lodge is in the process of forming a Brother to Brother group. They are already involved in the Young Knights of the Cornerstone Lodge, drug prevention/intervention and gang prevention. Their goal is to better Rocky Mount because “we love the kids and we love the community.”
Interested in volunteering? Contact Libby Manning at 252-985-4300 or email at LManning@depc.org for more information!