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    Posted March 22, 2013 by
    Houston, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Impact Your World

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    Remarkable 84-Year-Old Dedicates Her Life to Volunteering and Helping Others

    Once a volunteer, you are always a volunteer who believes in making a difference. That is what 84-year-old Parkway Place resident Beverly Jones proves every day. A lifelong volunteer, Jones spent 25 years in education and she currently mentors an eighth grade student each week at West Briar Middle School. She previously mentored a young woman in the Spring Branch school district from seventh grade through high school graduation. Jones also facilitates an exhilarating learning experience at Parkway Place. She started a woman’s discussion group and coordinates the speakers and activities including opportunities for fellow residents to bag rice at Parkway Place that goes to the Houston food bank. She is also part of a sewing group that makes nursing capes for mothers in need.

    “I find such satisfaction in volunteering and helping out,” said Jones. “It has always been very much a part of my life. I especially enjoy mentoring and building a relationship with a child who needs some support. I am not there to be a teacher. I am a mentor. The girl I am mentoring now considers me to be like a grandmother, and she enjoys when I read to her. I have 200 children’s books, and I bring them with me when I visit the school. I have noticed improvements in her reading and writing because of our time together. It is not about what I am getting out of it. This is a chance for me to help a child become a part of the world.”

    Jones taught at the University of Houston and Dominican College. She also was an early childhood consultant for the Harris County Department of Education where she worked with 24 school districts. She started the department’s Early Childhood Winter conference in the 1970s. It grew from 250 to 1,000 teachers and the department still holds the conference every year. At Parkway Place, Jones noticed there was a men’s discussion group and no women’s group, so it was natural for her to organize a group herself. Her women’s discussion group has grown from three to 30 participants and meets twice a month.

    “Our group gives people a chance to learn and be with others,” said Jones. “We want to get involved and contribute. I enjoy it because it’s my nature to get things started and going. We did a series on diversity in Houston, and we had the Houston Food Bank come out and the manager of the energy corridor recently spoke at our meeting. We will feature Autism, human trafficking, the Port of Houston and kids in the ‘sandwich generation’ at upcoming meetings.”

    Jones expects to continue volunteering as long as she can. She believes it is a calling, and she will always look for ways to impact fellow residents and children in Houston. After all, Jones is a survivor. She recovered from two falls and cancer.

    “Beverly inspires us all to do more, and I think it is fabulous that she is bringing the
    residents together to learn and grow,” said Jimmy Johnson, executive director of Parkway Place. “She shows us that we all have the ability to give of ourselves to improve the world around us.”
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