Good Kids: Helping homeless families; beautifying courthouse property

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Julia Burazer

Davie Respect Initiative

“We really had a tough decision, there were so many thoughtful and creative applications this quarter.”

This volunteer panelist is sharing the sentiment of the four panelists who participated in the interviews of six applicants for the Davie Respect Initiative (DRI) third quarter challenge.

Another panelist shared how doing in-person interviews with the finalists has improved the quality of the applications and increased the liklihood of implementation. In addition, the panelists are able to offer feedback and encouragement to those who are not selected to get the award, so a student may refine their project and re-submit in another quarter.

One of the reasons there were so many quality applications is because of a teacher at William Ellis Middle School. Christie Ruff, the Junior Civitan advisor, asked the students to think of a project or an idea that would spread respect in Davie County.  The result was three applications and now the whole club is considering a group respect project.

Of these three applications, one was a joint project selected to win $1,000 and and the applicants were named as Ambassadors of Respect.

Josiah Warren and Reece Harris teamed to collect supplies for Family Promise of Davie County (FPDC), which serves families with minor children that are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

FPDC addresses tfamily homelessness holistically, providing stabilization programs. Josiah and his family received services from FPDC and he wanted to give back to the organization that had helped and continues to assist his family.

Reece was so inspired by Josiah’s story and wanted to team up with him. They contacted Lisa Reynolds, the executive director of FP, and she was excited they wanted to help. They have collected gift cards, cash and essential items like paper towels and toilet paper.

If you would like to donate to FPDC, visit

“One of the best parts of my job is the relationships built with the families.  It’s always a full circle moment when parents come back and volunteer or donate supplies and it’s even more special when it’s kids doing it,” Reynolds said.

Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin pres

Macey Smith is an exemplary Ambassador of Respect. She has been involved with DRI for almost four years, when as a freshman she won for her creative idea of buying volleyball equipment for Davie County Rec and Parks.  Volleyball has played such a big part in her life that she wanted others to benefit from this team sport.

Since then, Macey has been involved with DRI’s social media and for a little over a year she has served as a volunteer panelist and has taken this position seriously.  Macey was a representative at the All America presentation in Denver.

She is continuing her journey of demonstrating and spreading respect with her latest project: renovating the courtyard at the county courthouse, which is empty and drab.

After Macey and team are finished, newlyweds who have a civil ceremony will have a spot to celebrate and take photos.  Some of her plans include flower boxes and a sitting area with a lattice arch.

Macey will present this idea to the Davie County Board of Commissioners at a monthly meeting, but so far she has gotten positive responses from the city and the county.

As Lisa Reynolds from Family Promise so beautifully stated: “Seeing our young people give back to their community is amazing and I cannot wait to see all they accomplish in life.”

Reynolds, Ruff, panelists: Sonja Ivey and Charles Willard attended the celebration at Mocksville Town Hall where Mayor Will Marklin handed out the $1,000 checks and Ambassador of Respect Certificates.

Town Manager Ken Gamble spoke about the importance of respect and the positive youth programs in Davie County that contributed to Davie County being named All America County in June of this year.

Do You know a young person between 12-21 who has a good idea to bring out even more respect in Davie County? Nominate them or have them fill out an application at All applications are reviewed by a volunteer selection panel. Up to three are selected each quarter to receive $1,000 for their idea or a project already in motion.  Those selected become Ambassadors of Respect (AoR) for Davie County.  All of the AoR’s have additional opportunities.