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Shallotte Middle students ‘Pay it Forward’

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By Sam Hickman

 SHALLOTTE — Shallotte Middle School’s AVID program is not only changing the lives of those students who are part of the course, but also helping the entire community.

Recently, Shallotte Middle hosted a “Pay it Forward” Day, which was initiated by Holly Borden, director of the AVID program at the school and Shallotte Presbyterian Church. Shallotte Presbyterian held a fundraising golf tournament and raised more than $9,000 to aid local community organizations. A remaining amount of $1,500 was given to the AVID program and Shallotte Middle.

Borden said each student in the program was given $50 and had to choose a local organization to which he or she would like to donate the money.

Among the groups rewarded with special donations were Brunswick Family Assistance, Angel Tree Prison Ministry, Paws Ability, Cat Tails, Hope Harbor Homes, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Providence Home, South Brunswick Interfaith Church Council, Camp United Methodist Food Pantry, Brunswick County Special Olympics, New Hanover County Autism Speaks and Relay for Life, among others.

Borden said five students chose Relay for Life as their beneficiary, thus the group received $250.

“It’s so nice to see the kids giving back,” Borden said. “That’s what we hope for.”

Sincere Stevenson chose to give his $50 to the Brunswick County Chapter of the Special Olympics.

“I chose this organization because I like sports and I want people who can’t play on a school team to play on that team,” he wrote in his donation card.

“Overall, this was just an awesome project,” Borden said. “It got the kids to think about others.”

The pay-it-forward theme was one borrowed from the movie “Pay It Forward,” whichstars Haley Joel Osmentas a boy who launches a goodwill movement, Helen Hunt as his single mother, and Kevin Spacey as his social studies teacher.

AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness system for students that is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. Its mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.

Borden said the goal of AVID is to reach out to students “in the middle.”

“Lots of times in our school system, a lot of resources are allocated to the AIG programs and the exceptional children programs, which is a good thing,” she said. “What AVID does is gives those kids in the middle a chance to become successful.”

The AVID program at Shallotte Middle is involved in many aspects of the community because Borden feels if you don’t teach volunteerism, it will disappear.

“A lot of these kids don’t have the chance to participate in community service at home, so it’s something we stress here. It’s a big part of our program,” she said.

Beginning with one high school and 32 students, AVID now involves more than 700,000 students in more than 4,900 schools and 28 postsecondary institutions in 46 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 other countries/territories.

“This program allows kids to advocate for themselves,” Borden said. “A lot of times these kids get lost. AVID gives them the push and support they need to become successful individuals.”

 

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.