Marilyn Whitehurst, a native of Atlanta, GA retired as a pediatric nurse patrioncer and resides in Alexandria, VA. Living within walking distance from one of our after-school program locations, Marilyn did not know Community Lodgings existed. Since discovering the organization, she has been a dedicated volunteer at our after-school programs and summer camp.
Learn why Marilyn enjoys working with the students in the interview!
Q: How did you become involved with Community Lodgings?
A: I learned about the organization from the former mayor of Alexandria, Alison Silberberg. I was shocked that the organization has been around for more than 30 years and I never knew about it; I’ve been living in Alexandria for 30 years. Community Lodgings is a hidden gem. People in the community need to know about the organization and support its efforts. I started volunteering one hour a week and since I’ve retired, I volunteer at multiple after-school locations.
Q: How have you seen the students grow since volunteering?
A: They are really great students. I’m impressed with the students. When they come in from school, they know to get their homework done first. They have a lot of discipline and commitment to their studies. They are excited about learning. During the field trips in the summer, they are very well behaved. I’ve seen them grow and learn over the years since helping them.
Q: What have you learned from volunteering at Community Lodgings?
A: I participate in medical missions in Haiti every year for the past seven years. I realize that I do not have to go to Haiti or India or any countries that I’ve been to help people in need. I’ve learned that all you have to do is look around and there is always someone close by that will need your assistance.
Q:Would you recommend anyone to volunteer at Community Lodgings? If so, why?
A: I have friends who are retiring and it will be really easy for them to volunteer two or three hours a week. I always mention Community Lodgings to them. The schedule is flexible and you get more than you give. When I come in, the students give me hugs and are excited to see me. Spending a few hours a week with the children leaves a lifetime impression and strengthens their academic and social skills. It’s just a good feeling because you know that you’ve helped them. Many of the students cannot get help with their homework at home because their parents speak spanish. By helping them with their homework, we make an impact on the next generation of leaders.
Q:What words of encouragement would you give to the students?
A: Focus on your homework and if you have any questions, ask us but also ask your teachers. Be serious about learning so that when you get through grade school and high school, and go to college or trade school, you will have a strong foundation and be successful in whatever career path you choose.