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CARES helps local kids
By Keith Corum, Enterprise Reporter
SOUTH HILL - "children are really extra special." While the words look good on paper, the compassion and generosity of many in the community bring them to life in a very special way.
The CARES Program is designed to foster the emotional and social needs of area school children and to supplement their academic development in a positive manner. For the agents at CENTURY 21 Clary and Associates, it's a mission they take very seriously.
Here at home, CARES receives a strong boost from the Mecklenburg County Business Education Partnership, which plays a pivotal role in its ongoing success. Nine years ago, 87 children were "adopted" at South Hill Primary School, and the rest is an inspiring piece of local history. Today, those students remain a vital part of the program, as they work toward completion of eight grade at Park View Middle School. Today, CENTURY 21 Clary and Associates, through its three offices in South Hill, Lake Gaston and Emporia, is actively involved in the lives of 287 children at various grade levels. The students reap the benefits of CARES up to an including their college years.
Recently, Southside Virginia Community College received a $10,000 check, earmarked for the Higher Education Tuition Trust Fund. The contribution, made by Carl and Jean Clary Bagley and Team CENTURY 21 and Associates brought the account total to more than $34,000. The ultimate goal is to raise $60,000 for the program. Personal contributions from associates and the community, as well as fund raising initiatives help to augment the funding. CENTURY 21 Clary and Associates and the Virginia College Savings Plan are working in unison to support the model program. Mecklenburg School Superintendent Dr. Frank Polakiewicz praised Team CENTURY 21 for their continued support of area students.
"These funds will make the students eligible for a free year of college at SVCC after they graduate. This is an outstanding effort by Jean, Carl, and each and every associate. It is a tremendous commitment on their part, and we appreciate that so much. This is totally CENTURY 21 Clary and Associates, Rex Roto, and everyone involved. They are an amazing group of people," said Polakiewicz
Team CENTURY 21 Clary and Associates, are equally excited to be continuing driving force in the CARES Program. Jean recently reflected on a particular point of inspiration for her. She cites her mother, Virginia Evans, as a pivotal role model for reaching out to others.
"She was a second grade teacher here for many years. When she taught, a lot of children had very little, and mother genuinely cared for them. She fed many, clothed them, she even gave them haircuts," stated Jean.
"She mentored many of them until they graduated from high school, and today they are wonderful people, really good citizens who make a positive contribution to the community," she added.
Bagley and associates are actively involved with CARES in local schools. She and husband Carl volunteer countless hours, and with the help of area businesses and other benefactors they have watched the outreach flourish since its local inception in 1996. Carl is quick to deflect any praise for him and Jean, and acknowledges others who remain dedicated to CARES, including REx Roto Corporation, who is currently partnering in support of CARES.
"Jean and I, we are just two people, this program is such a success because of all the time and dedication of each and every agent in the company, and all the generous businesses here that have supported us since we started. It really is a team effort and one that everyone thoroughly enjoys," said Carl.
WHile many are involved with the ongoing local success of CARES, everyone agrees that first and foremost, it's all about the children.
"It's an incredible feeling to everybody at Team CENTURY 21 Clark... You can talk to anybody there that works wit the kids. It means so much to all of them. We love these children. We have a special relationship with them. We go to school and have lunch with them... We see them in the store or around town. WE enjoy getting their hugs and being able to do what we do. It really is a wonderful feeling," said Jean.
"Our goal is to give them hope for their future. All they have to do is study hard. Our dream is that each child will have hope for the future, get a high school diploma and continue on to college. We are helping them dream dreams and make those dreams a reality. We tell them you can be what you want and go where you want to go," she added.
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