Volunteers make the difference

Published 12:25 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barbara Pugh, the director of R.I.S.E. Educational Tutoring, Inc., in Climax, said she was very “thankful” to the dozens of community volunteers who came out Saturday to work at the Bainbridge-Decatur County United Way’s “Day of Action.”

“I’m excited, because we needed these things done,” said Pugh, who watched as the volunteers repainted the R.I.S.E. building’s exterior and improved landscaping. “I’m thankful that so many in the community came out to help. It’s nice to get those little touch-up jobs that are hard to find the time to do.”

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Pugh said several community organizations also donated new tables for R.I.S.E. (Reaching Individuals Striving for Excellence), which offers tutoring services to local school students. Pugh said the focus is on kindergarten through fifth grade, but she’ll accept any student as long as he or she lives in Decatur County.

“We don’t turn anybody away, regardless of their grade level,” she said.

Pugh began R.I.S.E. seven years ago, and has three volunteers assisting with the tutoring and other duties. She also said parents and other citizens help with supplies throughout the year.

“A lot of parents will donate snacks, or give supplies of paper,” she said. “I don’t know what we’d do without our volunteers and donors.”

Devin Hubbard, a rising senior at Bainbridge High School who is also on the football team, was among the volunteers in Climax on Saturday morning.

“I always like community service and giving back to people,” said Hubbard, who also admitted that Saturday was the first time he had ever painted a building.

Other community members donated to the Salvation Army, which held a drive for needed items like canned goods and other food staples for the Salvation Army pantry. Other needed items accepted were walkers, wheelchairs, and adult and children’s diapers for BAIN, and men’s business attire and Bibles for the Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach Center.

Pugh also noted that R.I.S.E. has been receiving funding from United Way since 2008, and she is appreciative of that funding. Pugh also works for the state Department of Human Resources, where she tutors foster children, usually in their homes. It was through that love of tutoring that she decided to start R.I.S.E.

“In 2005, I had a nephew who failed the CRCT,” she said. “I offered to help tutor him at his house. Then, other kids in the community came over and wanted to be tutored as well. Eventually, it got so big we decided to start R.I.S.E.

“I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the United Way. Their funding definitely helps keep us going.”

Pugh said R.I.S.E. does not charge any fees to parents, but many families give donations to help keep the services going.

The first Day of Action was held in August 2011, when volunteers organized, cleaned and painted the Salvation Army building.