Leigh McIntosh

As schools gear up to serve record numbers of students in Gwinnett County, they can always use additional resources to stretch their limited budgets. September is the month that Rotary International has chosen to promote education and literacy.

I shopped with my daughter while we were vacationing at the beach last month so that she could find items for her fifth-grade class to make learning more fun. She used her money and her vacation time because she cares enough about children she doesn’t even know yet to increase their chances of having a successful year. She was also texting with some of her teacher friends to see if they wanted her to pick up special items she had found in order to help the children in their classes too. Even though my daughter has three young children of her own, she was willing to use a portion of her own salary for other people’s children. I am not writing this to say that my daughter is doing anything that most other teachers are not doing. In fact, I would say that the majority of teachers are supplementing class needs with their own money because they have a calling to help children learn.

Congressman Jody Hice, Senator Peter Martin, Marshall BoutwellCongressman Jody Hice, Senator Peter Martin, Marshall BoutwellRotary Club of Lawrenceville realizes that educating students is a responsibility that should be shared with the schools, parents, community leaders and businesses. Throwing money at problems does not solve them. We must be fiscally responsible, and we need to make sure we have appropriate role models for our children. If we encourage more people and groups to get involved with our schools, children will have more opportunities to grow. Children learn so fast and when they are young, the life lessons they learn will stay with them forever. It is much better for adults to look back on positive child-hoods versus negative childhoods. Many times, the painful and negative events from childhood cannot be overcome. When those negative memories determine adult decisions, it can be catastrophic. Childhood is the best time for children to learn to read and to any get the extra attention they need that will help them learn. They are our future. If we are careful with cultivation now, we will have a bountiful harvest later. More important than money is the time we spend with children to help them realize they all have value and worth and they can make a difference for each other and for the planet. When we get out of our own way, magic happens and those are the stories that we can share.

Rotary 6910 District Governor  Bruce AzevedoRotary 6910 District Governor Bruce AzevedoThe busiest people I know can generally find a few minutes to help others. What if we had an expectation that every person in our community needed to invest their time or money into something to help the community. I believe we would solve many of our problems and ultimately all of us would benefit. Rotary Club of Lawrenceville has chosen Lawrenceville Elementary as the school they will collaborate with to increase the likelihood of success for those students. We read to classes, help with school projects, volunteer there for our Great Days of Service project and make needed donations. I encourage you to look for a way you can help in what-ever school is closest to you so that when these children grow up, they will also be willing to give back. Our community has incredible and gifted people. They do not have to spend their own money but if they can volunteer some of their time and talent for others, they will change our community. It means partnering and collaborating with people and being creative about finding a way to help others in need. Our community needs each of you helping now to improve the future for all of us later.

Leigh is a proud Rotarian and CEO of Creative Enterprises, Inc., a not for profit, training, and employment, community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities. A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Leigh divides her time between advocating for people with disabilities, enjoying her children, grandchildren, and friends, helping her doTerra essential oil customers, traveling, and focusing on her spiritual journey to appreciate how we are all connected.