April 22, 2013 9:19:32 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
For Roberta Weeks, volunteering is not some great philosophical issue. Instead, it's pretty simple: Find a need and fill it.
For her efforts, the woman who is known around New Hope Middle School for her boundless energy has been chosen as the Lowndes County School District's Parent of the Year for 2012-13.
Weeks is a mother of four and has volunteered in the New Hope schools since her children were small.
A native of southwest Texas, Weeks descends from Hispanic heritage. She uses her fluency in Spanish and English to connect with local Hispanic families who are having a difficult time coping with the language barrier in an area where bilingual services are limited.
Weeks meets the children of those families at school every morning and helps translate their tasks for the day. She also takes their families to the doctor, the grocery store and high school football games. While those in the district are amazed at her generous heart, Weeks brushes off the compliments with sincere modesty.
"I'm very honored for the awards that I've received and I'm just thankful that God has given me the ability to do what I've been able to do," she said. "There was a need and I could meet that need without it being an expense to the district."
Weeks doesn't simply serve as a translator for the students. She has bought work books and language CD's to help the young teens learn English. Weeks has a full-time job at local daycare, ABC and Me, but says she volunteers her time out of necessity for the students.
"The school doesn't have a translator available 24/7," she said.
In addition to her work with bilingual students, Weeks has also been involved in helping plan Joy Prom, a prom for special needs children, and volunteering at Hannah House, a home for at-risk teenage girls.
She is also involved with the Parent Teacher Organization, the Touchdown Club, Cheerleader Booster Club, Merit Parent Organization and Field Day. Outside of the school, Weeks and her family help organize a Salvation Army Angel Tree each Christmas. They have also served as bell ringers for the Salvation Army every year since 2005.
In 2004, Weeks was awarded the Teaching Family Model Award.
New Hope Middle School teacher Liza Miley said having Weeks volunteer at the school has been a huge help to the teachers as well as the students.
"Roberta Weeks is a real life superhero," Miley said. " She has saved the day for me many times. She is the type of person that shows up when a need arises -- before you even have to ask for help. She has made a difference in my life and especially in the lives of the students that I teach."
Weeks encouraged other parents to volunteer within the district.
"It is not time wasted," she said. " It is very rewarding."
Other parents awarded Parent of the Year are: Heather Robison (Caledonia Elementary), Mike Dodson (Caledonia Middle School), Michael Miller (West Lowndes Elementary), Anthony Colom (West Lowndes Middle School), Erika Allison (New Hope Elementary) and Aimee Bradley (New Hope High School).
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.