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For the Animals

March 18, 2016

dogsCindy Dezern, a local animal advocate, is looking for community support in hopes of starting a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs in Kernersville.
Dezern explained that she is planning to start small as she works to gain a non-profit 501(c)3 status.
“On Facebook, I have a model of a state of the art facility,” she said, noting that it was built in another county. “The community came together to help build it with no debt. Something like this would put Kernersville on the map for animals.”
Dezern works as a rescue for cats and dogs at the Carolina Veterinary Assistance and Adoption Group in Reidsville.
“We go around to high kill shelters in the surrounding counties and rescue animals on death row. We then take them out to adoption events at PetSmart to try to get them to a safe home,” she shared. “There is nothing like taking a shy dog that has been abused and seeing them wag their tail for the first time or lick your hand. When they get matched up with a perfect family, and they send you pictures, there is nothing like it.”
As a rescue worker, Dezern said she really listens to her customers.
“I really listen to my customers when they tell me about their past experiences,” she said. “I want to use the feedback from some of their experiences when building the procedures and policies, and I want to make the shelter both people and animal friendly.”
In making the shelter user friendly for both parties, Dezern hopes to make the adoption process easier, while also ensuring that both the animal and pet parent(s) are a good fit for each other. She also hopes to offer fostering through the shelter.
Currently working on earning her master’s degree in social work, Dezern feels she is good at assessing people when it comes to looking at whether they would be a good fit for a certain animal.
“I also think it will help me to work with pet parents on certain issues they might be having, so they can work them out,” she said, when referring to possible issues pet parents might run into when adopting a new cat or dog.
Dezern shared that her love for animals began at an early age.
“I was born on a huge farm in southern Virginia with lots of animals. When I got into rescue, I began to see the huge need,” she said. “I also know the joy, passion and therapy I have received from my two dogs, Junior and Sierra.”
Dezern said she feels it is time to put the animals first.
“I want animals to be the number one priority in this project,” she said. “There is a need because millions of animals are being slaughtered every year and because of the inhumane practices in shelters.”
One business Dezern said has committed in helping her with the venture is SEO Rockets – Search Engine Optimization.
“They are helping me build social media accounts and a website,” she said.
As for the need for building the no-kill shelter, Dezern said she is looking for people interested in helping in anyway, whether volunteering, fundraising, donating, or anything.
“We need more business and community support,” she said. “I want to get people together to see what we can do. I want this to be Kernersville’s community shelter.”
Dezern has started a group page on Facebook, Project “No-Kill” Shelter of Kernersville, where she invites people to join and share both suggestions and comments.
For more information or if you have an interest, contact Dezern at or 336-817-6140.

Mission to Uganda

March 18, 2016

ugandaDuring a trip to Uganda, Beth Gianopulos, a member of Project:Re3, had the chance to empower girls and deliver much needed supplies and hope.
Having returned just last week, Gianopulos was still recovering from the eight-hour time change, but was full of drive and eager to share about the need in Uganda.
“I went with three women from our church: Jessica Church and her mom Penny Apple, and Melissa Edwards,” she said, noting that they went through Fields of Dreams Uganda, a mission that works closely with schools in Uganda. “Mike Warneke, the executive director of Fields of Dreams Uganda, had shared with us about his organization at our church a few years ago and what struck me the most is that girls in Uganda do not have feminine hygiene products. They don’t have stores they can go to find these things. They only have outdoor markets.”
Gianopulos explained that the girls often use whatever they can find, and often only own one pair of underwear (knickers) or none, and only have one dress to wear to school.
“Because of this, they miss school. They miss 20 percent of the school year compared to boys,” she remarked. “I feel like I am a pretty informed person having gone on other (mission) trips, but I never thought about this.”
Gianopulos explained that during each trip made by a group, Warneke looks at the skills of the group and then uses that to help the people in Uganda.
“The purpose of our trip was a girls’ empowerment trip, boosting their confidence and doing workshops on human trafficking and sharing with them that they are valued,” she said. “We also gave out hygiene kits, which will last each girl a year.”
Gianopulos explained that each kit includes five washable feminine pads, a bucket, two long bars of soap, a drying rack, three pairs of underwear and a bag to hold everything.
“We had a huge campaign to raise over $17,000. I raised $1,500 just to fund the kits, because each kit is $17,” she explained.
Gianopulos explained that the girls she visited were part of partner schools with Fields of Dreams.
“Fields of Dreams has nine partner schools in two places. They have five in Gulu, a very rural part of Uganda and four in Kampala, a bigger city. Fields of Dreams’ mission is to change the lives of K-6 primary school students through the avenues of education and soccer,” she said. “The kids in Uganda love soccer. They love soccer so much that they will make a soccer ball out of about anything.”
Gianopulos noted that Fields of Dreams carefully selects the schools and gives each one a $3,000 grant each year, which they can use for whatever they need, if they promise to pay their teachers on time, so that they don’t leave, and take care of the things that are given to them, such as soccer equipment, instead of selling it and so it will last.
“One school used the money to buy two pigs in hopes that they would make baby pigs they could sell,” she said.
Gianopulos noted that all partner schools also receive a paid education advocate who visits each school once a week to check in on them, which is important since they have exams in primary schools. They also get two social workers in each city since the children have many problems at home whether violence, rape, or hunger, or kids raising each other. The schools also get both a boys’ and girls’ soccer coach.
While Gianopulos was in Uganda, she said they put on a soccer tournament, something Fields of Dreams often does, which is where students can receive scholarships for secondary school since many students often cannot afford to attend. Gianopulos explained that although the schools are government schools, the students must pay to attend and secondary school is three times the cost of primary school.
Also while she was there, they went around to all of the schools in Gulu and passed out hygiene kits and put on a soccer tournament. She also painted moms’ and girls’ fingernails and spent a lot of time just talking with the girls.
Gianopulos said she struggled seeing the hunger the kids had to endure.
“There is no lunch at school and some of the students may have to walk at least three miles to get to school without shoes. Since school is from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., they are often going about 12 hours with no food and the temperature is 100 degrees,” she said. “The location of the school is also where the city well is, so families are always there.”
Another thing Gianopulos said was a struggle to learn was that many of the children are orphans due to the Lord’s Resistance Army, HIV and AIDs, or malaria.
“A lot of these kids are probably orphans because their parents were killed or they were a product of rape during wartime,” she said. “Everything is stacked against them; it’s such a harsh place and everything is hard.”
Even though these children and adults live in such a harsh world, Gianopulos said they are genuinely nice people.
“They are so genuine in their caring and they have so much hope, despite their hardships and what they have been through. They have resilience and love,” she remarked.
Gianopulos said she and the three other women from Project:Re3 spoke as many words of life into the girls they spoke with .
“We would tell them they are loved, that they are important and that they control their future,” she said.
Now that she has returned from her trip, Gianopulos said her priorities are to figure out how to get lunch for the students in the partner schools, since it is their most important meal, and spreading awareness to the people around her.
“I want to raise awareness that these children aren’t just statistics on the other side of the world. They are actual children who want people to love them and want their basic needs met,” she said.
For more information about Fields of Dreams Uganda, visit For more information about Project:Re3, visit or visit them on Facebook.

Unite the Triad

March 11, 2016

tiffanyWith a goal of uniting the community, Tiffany Capparelli came up with the idea for Unite the Triad.
“That is the ultimate goal, to unite us as a community and as a people,” she said. “I’ve just had a heart to want to help people and reach out.”
Capparelli explained that in the beginning her thoughts were more focused on one avenue for helping people, but now she feels it should be limitless.
“It can be environment, animals, children or the elderly, and it doesn’t matter the person’s background,” she said. “I know in the religious community there is a lot of outreach, but there are probably some people that feel intimidated to seek help. I am hoping for this to be a lasting solution.”
Capparelli said she was in a dark place about 10 months ago.
“If not for a really strong support system, I’m not sure where I would be right now and that’s another area where people might need help; people battling depression,” she shared.
Capparelli noted that the group is all encompassing and anyone is welcome.
“I’m a firm believer that in your life, if you step out of your comfort zone to help others, you are happier and whatever chaos you are dealing with, you will find a solution in helping others,” she said.
As for the people they will be helping, Capparelli said there are numerous people in the community who need help, whether it’s that they need help paying a light bill or something else.
“If we help people, I want to make it so they will be required, also, to give back and be a part of this,” she said. “I also want to look at the long-term solution as to why they might be struggling to pay their light bill and help them with that as well.”
Capparelli said while the group is all encompassing, the first two projects she wants to focus on are food waste and music therapy.
“The former CEO of Trader Joe’s opened a store called Daily Table. Whatever community they are in, they purchase food that is considered expired from the grocery store, but isn’t actually expired, usually perishable food and sell it,” she said. “I thought the concept was amazing. I had a friend who worked for (a grocery store) and she told me that even if they break one egg in a carton, they have to throw away the entire carton.”
What Capparelli wants to figure out is how to redistribute that often wasted food, and give it to people who might need it.
“There are so many people who are hungry in the world and we are wasting so much food, just in our hometown,” she remarked.
As for music therapy, Capparelli said she has heard of nursing homes using music therapy to help patients, such as those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have a really strong local music scene. I know a good amount of the artists, and I want to gather some of those people and get them into some nursing homes and let these people relive their happy days. I know music will bring them alive again,” she said, noting that she would hope the artists would play some music from the residents’ past.
Capparelli explained when there are other organizations that are already doing things in the community, she would like the group to work through those organizations instead of starting over on their own.
“We’ll just connect and go, and be the hands and feet for some of these organizations,” she said.
Capparelli hopes others will bring their interests and then facilitate a cause that is important to them.
“I think everyone has considered doing for others, stepping outside of themselves and lending a hand and for one reason or another over thought the entire process or weren’t sure where to start, but this will be a place where you can come and there will be a place for your particular interest and skill set,” she said. “I hope to see all forms of skills sets including artists, construction foreman, or anything. I want it to be quite broad and just invite people with compassion and willingness to step outside of themselves.”
The meeting for Unite the Triad will be held on March 8 from 6 – 7 p.m. at Eclection, located at 221 North Main Street in downtown Kernersville.

Joyful Notes

February 16, 2016

dawn“He who sings frightens away his ills.” – Miguel de Cervantes
People who sing with others experience a wide range of joys and benefits. Members of singing groups enjoy meeting new people and feeling more alert and emotionally uplifted. Singing provides a direct and immediate sense of happiness and takes your mind off the stresses of the day. It’s an ageless enjoyment; you’re never too young or too old.
The Joyful Notes, led by Dawn Larkins, is a community choir that was founded in 2005, boasting 22 members whose age ranges from 40 to 100-years-old. Larkins isn’t just the adult senior choir director at Main Street Baptist Church and choir director for the Joyful Notes, she is also a pianist, vocalist, mom and entrepreneur.
The group meets every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. in the common area at Robinwood Senior Living, located on Hopkins Road.
“Being a member of Joyful Notes is inexpensive and brings a real sense of camaraderie, togetherness and happiness. It also helps you to listen, be focused and builds your confidence through teamwork,” noted Phillip Thompson, a Joyful Notes choir member.
Sandy Hunt, a Clemmons native, has been living at Robinwood Senior Living since 2010, and that’s about the time she heard about the Joyful Notes singing group.
“Some of the residents told me about this gleeful singing group, so I took a chance, met everyone at practice one Tuesday morning, and I never looked back,” recalled Hunt. “What I love most about being part of this singing group is the feeling I have. We are all family, everybody knows everybody and we all love being around one another, we just love to have fun and sing.”
Priddy Manor Assisted Living in King is one of their favorite senior centers where the group enjoys performing.
“The Alzheimer patients really respond to us when we go there and sing to them. It is truly remarkable. They join right in just like they know the songs we are singing,” said Hunt. “When we start singing, everyone’s eyes just light up and smiles happen all around.”
Larkins, whose father was in the Navy, was born in Morocco, Africa and moved to Kernersville 33 years ago when she married her husband, Jack. They have three children together.
Music has always played a role in her life. She sang in the church choir as a child and comes from a family with a rich musical background. “I was always drawn to music,” she said.
The theme for their upcoming May show is centered on uplifting Gospel music. Larkins drew from her own experiences as a child. Her father and others started a church in the country when she was a young girl. Her love of music stemmed from her humble church beginnings. She started taking piano lessons at the age of seven. She eventually majored in piano while attending Winthrop University in South Carolina.
“Our group members are very fun loving, and we have a very relaxed atmosphere here. We meet early about once a month to have breakfast together,” said Larkins. “This year we are going to try and write a cookbook together.”
Larkins continued, “The choir seems to be a sanctuary for most of the women. It’s a place to heal, to meditate, to sing about something greater than themselves and to connect with others. They leave refreshed, happy and wanting more in their lives than sitting in their apartments alone.”
Thompson has been singing with the group for two years, and looks forward to coming to their weekly rehearsals. He began singing as a young man, and loves sharing his voice with others in the community.
“I would have to say what I love most about being a part of this singing group is the fellowship and friendship. The joyful notes that others receive from us makes you feel good inside. Everyone that comes to sing here wants to be here and is dedicated to Dawn. They really love Dawn,” shared Thompson.
The Joyful Notes provides a choir experience for all adults, regardless of their talent or experience, by creating a choir open to all in the community who self-identify as lovers of music. No prior singing experience is required. You do not need to read music or audition. The emphasis is on singing for the “joy” of it. The only requirement for joining the Joyful Notes is a desire to sing.
Another member of the group, Cathy Stockman, explained, “Joining the community choir has given us excitement, harmony and a new appreciation of how singing is good for the soul. Being in the choir just lifts our spirits.”
Larkins encourages anyone who loves to sing to come out and join the group at Robinwood Senior Living on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Robinwood Senior Living is located at 230 Hopkins Road.

Archer’s Rest

February 16, 2016

farmWith passions in gardening, sustainable homesteading and competitive archery, Lorelei Elkins encourages others to get out, get their hands dirty and grow something.
Elkins explained that while she didn’t grow up on a farm, she and her family always had chickens, ducks and a goat.
“We only had about an acre of land, but I had friends that had a farm and I’ve always had an interest of the back to earth lifestyle,” she explained.
Elkins noted that she currently has 26 chickens, with another 10 on the way, mostly raising the chickens for their eggs. She also has a pair of Emden geese, all on two acres of land.
“They are organic free range and I close them up in their house at night to roost,” she said about the chickens. “The geese are great watch animals. You can’t get too close to my house without them warning me.”
Elkins noted that her chickens, which are Black Copper Maran, Cuchoo Maran, and Araucana, lay really dark eggs. As for her geese, they lay greenish blue eggs.
“They taste the same as regular eggs. Most people think that the dark eggs taste different, but they don’t,” she said, noting that she gets about four chicken eggs to one goose egg. “We usually let the geese sit on their eggs and we get goslings in the spring and sell those.”
Of all the birds they have, Elkins said her favorite is a chicken named, Clucky.
“She never shuts up and is always underfoot asking for food. She is very broody (wants to sit on her eggs) and gives me a little attitude when she wants to sit on the nest. She has a little personality,” she said, noting that Clucky is a Buff Orpington, the only one of its kind at Archer’s Rest.
When giving advice on raising chickens, Elkins said they are easy to raise.
“I have 26 chickens, but you don’t need to start with that many. If you have two chickens, they provide a lot of fertilizer for the garden and a few eggs,” she said. “You have to make sure you have an area to protect them from predators like red tailed hawks and dogs. It’s a great way to connect with the earth a little bit.”
When it comes to making a connection with the earth, Elkins noted that in today’s society, there is often a big disconnect in that department.
“If you ask a kid where their food comes from, most of the time they won’t say the garden or farm, they will tell you it comes from the grocery store,” she said. “We as an ever increasing urban society are distanced from the process of growing our own food and animals. I think it’s a skill all kids should learn and if the economy gets bad again, it offers a means to supplementing what we buy at the grocery store. I suppose they call it food security. Secondly, I think it is important to maintain our rural atmosphere in Kernersville, and in the Triad region. Our agricultural land is quickly disappearing into commercial development and housing units. Family farms are quickly disappearing and with that, we lose a lifestyle of resilience.”
In her pursuit to connect with the earth, Elkins said that she does a little bit of everything.
“We do everything organically here,” she said, noting that along with the birds, they also have gardens and a beehive. “Same with the bees – we do everything naturally, and we have rain barrels.”
Although she has a full time job, along with a garden, canning, caring for bees, and raising chickens and geese, which she noted is a lot of work, she said she enjoys every minute of it.
“It’s good work. I don’t watch TV, other than Netflix, for about 13 years now and we don’t miss it,” she said. “We do other things and our time is usually spent outside doing something. It’s, I think, worth the reward.”
Along with raising geese, chickens and bees, Elkins is also passionate about gardening and sustainable homesteading as well as competitive archery. She noted that when doing archery, she uses a long bow and a re-curve (hand bow).
“I belong to a group that does archery reenactment. It is The Society for Creative Anachronism. We have archery practice at our house and it’s all traditional,” she said. “We have a variety of events and practice about once a month. You can find a local group at, but we’re always happy to have more people at events.”
Elkins noted that she is an environmental educator, always promoting people to get outside.
“I’m an environmental educator and work for Forsyth County,” she shared, noting that while she is no longer active in it, she is also a Forsyth County Master Gardener. “I participated when my son was young and I fully support their program. It is through the cooperative extension. I try to support people getting their hands dirty at every opportunity.”
At her home, Elkins said they have an edible landscape, where they are able to grow enough food for themselves, as well as the animals that come through their property.
“I have a great neighbor that lets me use some of his property if I want to grow something bigger,” she shared. “I try to use as many native species as possible; it’s more food for the birds and wildlife habitat.”
On their property, Elkins said they have about three or four different varieties of blueberries.
“They seem to like the Triad soil. If anyone wants to start gardening, I recommend trying to plant a blueberry bush,” she said. “We also have an asparagus perennial bed. You plant the roots about two feet deep and they come up every year and supposedly they can last about 100 years. We also have blackberries, raspberries, four apple trees, two peach trees, and pear, plum, and cherry trees. We have grapevines too – once we figured out how to prune them the right way. We get about 100 pounds off of two vines.”
Elkins noted that they were able to make a couple gallons of wine this year, as well as jam. They have one vine with Concord grapes and one with Catawba.
“We also get enough berries and fruit (from our landscape) to do quite a bit of canning and pickling,” she said, noting that they do lacto fermentation style pickling. “That’s the traditional way. You use salt instead of vinegar.”
Elkins recommends for everyone to get back to tradition and planting something in their garden.
“I recommend that even if you have never done gardening before, to consider planting some edibles in a raised bed,” she said. “Nothing beats the taste of fresh tomatoes off the vine or strawberries picked fresh that morning, opposed to having them come from across the country from California. It cuts down on food miles and we live in an area that has a bountiful variety of fruits and vegetables. If you go to one of our local farmers markets you’ll see the diversity of products available. They are healthier and taste better.”
She added, “I just really want to encourage people to get their hands dirty, get outside and grow something you love. You won’t be sorry.”
Elkins noted that with the eggs they have left over, they do sell them for $3/dozen. If interested in eggs, visit “Archer’s Rest” on Facebook.
Elkins noted several classes available in February at the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension including Seed Starting on February 17, Forks on Friday: Plan and Plant Your Spring Vegetable Garden on February 19, Community Garden Mentor Training on February 20 and February 27, and First Aid for a Healthy Yard on February 20.
For more information about these classes, call 336-703-2850 or visit

Technology for the Future

February 9, 2016

adrian?Adrian Martinca, owner of A.M. Technologies, recently started a non-profit community program, Technology for the Future, to offer computers to those in need.
“I started my company as a way to help people have access to the technology they need for everyday life,” Martinca said. “We believe that with people’s current state of dependency on technology that everyone should have access to a computer, no matter their situation.”
Martinca explained that he has been involved in the sales and wholesale distribution for many years and, because of that, understands that affordability is out there.
“It is just a matter of ‘how do you bring that accessibility directly to people without incurring retail level costs?’” he asked. “Since there were many people and organizations for whom technology was seemingly inaccessible, my team and I decided to bridge that gap.”
Martinca explained that after pondering the question, he and his team got the idea of working with the community and sharing their system of technological resources to create accessibility and created a source of funding to make a difference in people’s lives.
“This is not only access, but also serves as a source of continuous funding for our effort,” he said. “Hence the birth of our online outlet,, that serves as a source of funding for our donations. In order for this program to be community oriented and involve the community more directly, our prices are increased by 30 percent across the whole outlet. But, this is used to create incentive for our customers to visit our program,, and attain a 30 percent discount code associated with one of our efforts – in other words, by picking an effort to support, you will save 30 percent on your entire purchase – plus a significant portion of the purchase is used to fund the project you decided to support.”
Martinca noted that if you do not have a specific project you would like to support, you can use their general discount code “community” where the funds go to support all the efforts they are trying to fulfill.
“In addition, for those who believe in our mission and would like to help, we created an affiliate program where you can be our partner, share our mission with your friends, whereby, you help us fulfill our goals and change the community,” Martinca said. “Our affiliate program pays a percentage of all sales directly to you. In this manner, people can make money from home, while supporting a valiant cause.”
Right now, Martinca said their goal is to find individuals and organizations to submit projects on the program’s website.
“It is for anyone in need. It could be kids, churches, or schools. Anyone. They can create a special project and request the number of computers needed,” he explained.
Martinca explained that when submitting a project, you must submit a video of how the technology will help the person or organization, why they feel they need the technology and what it will do for them.
“Once the video is approved, it will be posted to get funded,” he said. “After the resources have been funded and given to the individual or organization, there will be another video.”
A.M. Technologies welcomes donations and also recycle electronics. They offer free advice for technology needs.
If you would like to help be an advocate or know someone that could benefit from the organization, contact Technology for the Future at To help fund the project through the purchase of a computer, visit For more information, call 336-310-9644.

Race for our Heroes

February 1, 2016

soldierAs one of their major service projects for the year, Kernersville Interact clubs have collaborated to host a Wounded Warrior 5K, called Race for Our Heroes, at Fourth of July Park on Saturday, February 13 at 9:30 a.m.
The local Interact Clubs hosting the event include Glenn High School (GHS), East Forsyth High School, and The North Carolina Leadership Academy.
Sunni Lauten, liaison for the GHS Interact Club and a member of the Kernersville Rotary Club, explained that they chose to do a Wounded Warrior 5K because the Interact clubs wanted to do something that involved the community.
“The Interact clubs do two projects each year – one that impacts the community and one that helps people internationally,” she said, noting that they will be holding a bubble soccer game in March or April of this year to help raise money to build a well in Africa. “All of the Interact clubs have their own small projects, but collaborating together shows we can cross those competitive borders.”
Since it isn’t easy to get students from three schools together to plan an event of this magnitude, Lauten said there has been a lot of communication through group texting and emails.
Lauten said because the Town of Kernersville put on a Wounded Warrior 5K in the past, it helped them with a starting point.
Lauten said when holding a Wounded Warrior race, the organization or group holding the race must give it a name, so they decided to name it “Race for Our Heroes” in support of American soldiers.
Lauten said her son is a Marine and is planning to come to the race.
“These soldiers like to support each other,” she remarked.
Lauten said the Interact Club started with a summer camp this past summer at the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. Once school started, Lauten wanted to start a club at GHS.
“We had 147 students join,” she remarked.
Bibiana Torres, a GHS student and project chairman, said she never thought she would have helped plan a 5K.
“I thought it would be a great experience,” she said. “Some students from Glenn are planning to run, and we have asked all the sports teams to participate. Hopefully, our ROTC groups will be up front.”
The race is being hosted by On The Mark and will be chip timed. There will also be trophies for all ages, as well as t-shirts and food trucks.
The 5K run/walk is $35/adults and $15/students until February 12.
The race will begin at Fourth of July Park and run through the neighborhood across the street. Fourth of July Park is located at 701 West Mountain Street. To register for the race, visit

Night to Shine Prom

January 28, 2016

promFirst Christian Church Ministries (FCCM), in conjunction with the Tim Tebow Foundation, is once again offering an unforgettable Night to Shine Prom on February 12 for those with special needs.
The event will be held from 6 – 9 p.m. and is for people with special needs, ages 16 and older.
Tracy Burkhart, media coordinator with FCCM, said last year was a great first year for the event.
“Last year was the first year the Tim Tebow Foundation put the event on. They reached out to mega churches and we jumped on it, realizing what a good outreach it would be,” she said. “There were 44 churches that participated last year in several countries. This year, there are 100 churches and we decided to reapply again.”
She added, “Last year was phenomenal. We planned for 100 guests and ended up with 125 and Tim Tebow showed up. We were really excited that he stopped by to visit.”
Burkhart said People Magazine featured pictures from the Night to Shine Prom last year, with most of the pictures featured from FCCM’s event.
She added that this year, they are accepting 250 guests. FCCM is still looking for both participants and volunteers.
“Anyone 16 and older can volunteer. You have to register on our website by January 31 and go through a background check,” Burkhart said. “I haven’t heard from anyone who said they were not truly blessed by volunteering last year.”
Burkhart added that volunteers fulfill the needs of many different committees during the night, including being a personal buddy to one of the participants.
“The buddy is someone who can help them navigate around the building and someone to encourage them to have fun. It allows their chaperones a night off, whether it’s a parent or guardian,” she said. “The chaperones are invited to a room to watch a movie and relax during the event. Sometimes (caretakers) need a stress free time to relax, so we wanted to give that to them too.”
Other volunteers, such as Dawn Chultz, helped with applying makeup last year.
“I just wanted to help,” Chultz said about volunteering last year. “The participants we had last year were so cheery, happy and grateful. They just wanted to sit and let you pamper them, and they set all their worries aside for the night. This isn’t something they can do very often or ever, so to be able to provide them this experience was a nice feeling and that was the goal. By the end of the night, we were already thinking about how to make it better this year.”
Chultz noted that last year they provided suits and prom dresses to the guests through donations provided by members of the church.
“We are accepting donations again this year of modest prom dresses, men’s suits and ties, shoes and accessories. We will take anything to help them get an outfit together,” she said. “Donations should be dropped off by Monday, February 1.”
Burkhart noted that the event includes limo rides, karaoke, shoe shining, hair and makeup, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, red carpet entrances with photo opportunities, crowns and tiaras, corsages and buttoners, and gift bags.
In sponsoring the event, the Tim Tebow Foundation provides each host church with up to $8,500 in addition to a detailed prom manual and prom kit full of special decorations and gifts for guests.
In the overview for the Night to Shine Prom, Tim Tebow said, “We want to show each and every guest that they are special and they are loved. This is a night to celebrate who they are as a child of God, and to remind them that in God’s eye, we are all kings and queens.”
To volunteer or become a guest, visit and find the link to register. Volunteers must register by Sunday, January 31.

January 21, 2016

100Dorothy Nord turned 100 on January 13. She was born January 13, 1916 in Bessemer, Penn., in Lawrence County. She is currently a resident at Robinwood Senior Living Center in Kernersville. Nord has been living at Robinwood for 20 years now, and knows everyone by name.
Friends from her musical group, Joyful Notes, held a birthday bash for Nord at Robinwood Center on Tuesday, January 12. Nord was joined by family and friends. Nord’s friends say her happiness is the key to her long life.
“I can’t believe that I’m 100,” Dorothy remarked, “There’s just no way in the world I’ve lived that many years.”
Among those greeting Nord was her last living sister Lucille, who flew in from Michigan to celebrate the joyous event. Lucille just turned 93 this past November and is the baby of the family.
Nord grew up in Bessemer, where she was raised by her parents, John Audle and Anna Elizabeth Johnson. John and Anna met and married in Harmony, Penn. in 1909, and then lived in Bessemer to raise their seven children. Nord had three brothers and three sisters, with Nord being the middle child.
Nord’s aunts, uncles and cousins lived close by, and she enjoyed a thoroughly connected life, close to the land and surrounded by family. Her father worked outside of the home at the Bessemer Cement plant and as the superintendent of the local high school. Nord said he was known as a leader within the community. Her mother stayed home and raised the children. Fondly looking back, Nord shared one of her favorite memories as a small child.
“We had an icebox until we got our electric refrigerator, the kind where we had to use chunks of dry ice to keep our food cold, and the farm near us delivered milk to our family on a daily basis. When it was cold weather, we would always try to rush home from school, and whoever got home from school first got the cream that settled on top of the glass milk container. It was so delicious and good.”
The Johnson family was the first in Bessemer to get an electric stove, and her mother was the first woman to drive a Studebaker in her town, Nord said.
“We had a radio in our home and my father loved listening to the famous radio programs, including one show called Amos ‘n’ Andy,” recalled Nord.
In high school, Nord was a standout athlete. She and her sister, Ester, played basketball together, with Nord playing forward.
“Both my sisters played pretty well,” explained Lucille. “Their coach called them Big Johnson and Little Johnson when they played. The irony was they were both quite petite in stature.”
Nord also played the saxophone in the high school band.
“The family grew up with a piano in the home, and everyone had to take piano lessons including me,” noted Lucille.
Nord graduated from Bessemer High School and then went onto Youngstown Business College in Ohio. She graduated from a two-year business course which specialized in secretarial skills. “They taught us to use machines like calculators, Dictaphones, typewriters, and telephones,” Nord explained.
After she graduated college, Nord landed her first job working for the Bessemer State Bank, where she remained for 11 years. It was during this time that she and Paul began to date seriously.
Soon the two were married, and so began a new chapter in Nord’s life. Over the course of the next five years, she dealt with the death of her mother and she gave birth to two healthy children: Kay and Cheryl. Both were born in the early 1940s.
“My dad (Paul Nord) was the baby of nine children. He always wanted to be a doctor, but he had to go to work at a young age to help support the family. He got a job at the Bessemer Cement plant. It was one of the two factories in the town. The town we lived in, everyone was practically related as both my parents came from large families, and we all knew each other,” explained Nord’s daughter, Kay Kinney.
Nord went back to work once her girls were of school age. While raising two daughters, being married and working outside the home, Nord always managed to find time to volunteer; she always made time for giving back to her community. She was a Girl Scout leader for almost 10 years; she delivered food while volunteering for the Meals on Wheels program; at one time she was president of the local women’s club in Bessemer; and she was active in her church, among other things.
“I didn’t know how to say ‘No,’” laughed Nord.
Nord became a widow at the young age of 49, when Paul passed away at the age of 53. She continued to work at the Bessemer Cement plant where she eventually retired at the age of 65.
Once retirement set in, Nord took on traveling. On one of her trips she flew to Jerusalem, to study and learn more about the Holy Land and Cairo. She even had the opportunity to ride a camel.
“I rode a camel at the age of 70; it was a lot of fun,” chuckled Nord.
Her favorite and most memorable trip was to the Holy Land.
“I got to go to the garden of Gethsemane and have communion there as well. I was able to ride on the Sea of Galilee and I watched people being baptized on the river of Jordan.”
Nord has traveled to many different places.
“I traveled with a friend and went on tours to such places as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Hawaii.”
After some years had passed and Nord was living in her home in Penn. by herself and realized she had enough of the cold and ice, she decided to relocate to the South. She followed her daughter and son-in-law to N.C. after Nord’s son in law took a job at Grass America a few years prior.
Many people in the area know Nord from her association with the Joyful Notes, a senior adult choir. She has been singing with the group for about five years. The group is part of the Main Street Baptist Church music program under Dawn Larkins, and meets every Tuesday for practice.
She is also well known at The Shepherd’s Center Senior Center of Kernersville, where she volunteered her time for almost 10 years. It was here that she obtained a counted cross stitch pattern and made a beautiful cross landscape of Körner’s Folly.
Nord said she met Carolyn Lowy at the Senior Center. Lowy was the one who made the pattern of the Folly from the famous 1993 painting that Kernersville artist Richard Hedgecock had painted, entitled “Spring Folly.”
Dorothy explained, “I went to her house to see her cross stitch that was up in her living room, and Carolyn gave me the pattern.”
When asked if she had any tips on living a long, full life, Nord simply recommended, “Get involved in the community and count each day as a blessing.”

Bear Donation

December 15, 2015

bearThanks to the efforts of a local civic group, the Kernersville Police Department will be able to comfort a few more children during traumatic situations.
On Wednesday, several members of the Kernersville Triad Ladies Civitan Club gathered in the lobby of police headquarters to present Chief Scott Cunningham, officers with the department and staff with more than a dozen stuffed bears and puppies they made at the Build-A-Bear store at Hanes Mall.
Chief Cunningham was appreciative of the gift. The stuffed bears and puppies will be distributed to officers within the department and will be stored in their patrol vehicles to be given out to children at any number of scenes to which law enforcement responds.
“We’re really thankful for the Civitan Club for helping out like this,” said Cunningham. “These stuffed animals are going to make life a little bit easier for a child.”
Each year, the KPD receives hundreds of donated stuffed animals that are then given to officers to have on hand at situations where children might be in distress. It could be one where a child’s parent is being arrested and placed into custody or an automobile accident. Each incident might be different, but no less traumatic to a child, said Cunningham.
“Stuffed animals like these take a lot of the edge off the incident. They help a child through that incident and also help foster a positive relationship with that officer,” he continued. “These bears will definitely go to great use and are very appreciated.”
The KPD first began collecting stuffed animals for officers to give to children in 1988 after the department was approached by the late Edith Iddings, a Kernersville resident who had collected hundreds of stuffed animals with her friend, Sarah Ballard. Iddings wanted to know if the KPD would be interested in the collection so that every officer could carry one in his or her patrol car as a way to comfort children who might need it.
At the time of her death in 2010, it was estimated that Iddings had donated more than 5,000 stuffed animals over the course of two decades. Today, the KPD still collects stuffed animals for its officer’s patrol vehicles, with hundreds of donations coming in each year.
According to club President Diana Ross, the Kernersville Triad Ladies Civitan Club is a community-based organization that works with area programs through service projects to “better our community.”
Ross was joined at Wednesday’s presentation by club members Hazel Farley, Barbara Craven, Erline Shelton and Linda Fulk.
In addition to the stuffed animals kept within officers’ patrol vehicles, the KPD also operates the Ted E. Bear program, an initiative where officers distribute donated stuffed animals to children in the community, usually at bus stops during the month of December.