Young people show innovative ways to show respect

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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By Julia Burazer

Davie Respect Initiative

The Davie Respect Initiative (DRI) is entering its sixth year of challenging young adults 12-21 to come up with an idea that will increase the amount of respect in Davie County.

At the DRI celebration on Jan. 31, Mayor Will Marklin said the initiative is having an impact in Davie County and that he has seen respect grow in the community. That celebration was to honor the three newest Ambassadors of Respect.

“When someone is giving respect, it is important to keep in mind inclusivity,” said Tabitha Harry, 20, of Mocksville. “Someone who shows inclusiveness by respecting everyone will not only highlight the individuality of those around them, but also themselves”

Her winning project, “Power to the Pastors,” is an opportunity for the community to show respect for pastors. Church congregations will be contacted and given the opportunity to write cards of appreciation for all the many things a pastor does for the church family and for the community.

This project is especially meaningful to Tabitha because her father is the pastor at Cooleemee Church of God and she remembers how appreciated and respected her father felt when he recieved cards from his congregation.

“This same idea can be used to recognize teachers,” she said. “We can never have too much respect.”

Blake Moore, 13, began volunteering with Fresh Hope, now Serving Our Neighbors (SON) when he was 11.

SON picks up food at local grocery stores and then organizes it in two refrigerated trailers with five freezers; later it is distributed to many of the food insecure in Davie County.

Blake and his younger sister volunteer for SON with their parents whenever possible. Shana, Blake’s mother, believes volunteering as a family is important because it teaches their kids to see she and her husband, Richard, in a new role other than parent. “It creates opportunities for conversation and the possibility of planting seeds.”

Blake has observed a need with SON and is seeking to find a solution.  After the food is picked up from the grocery, it needs to be stored in the trailers.  Many of the boxes are different sizes, making organizing the trailers a challenge.  He has purchased two collapsible crates that should facilitate organization in the small space. He plans to purchase more crates with money he earns from his chores and to use some of the $1,000 award money from DRI for this purpose.

Harper Randleman and her “Cheer to Read with Me!” project is another winner.

Harper, 12,  is dyslexic and has to work hard to keep up her grades and she knows about the struggle and lack of confidence that having learning difficulties can create.

She was fortunate to have support from family and friends and she wants to ensure others have the same assistance and encouragement to not give up.  As a young student, Harper was a couple of grade levels behind in reading.  She tried hard and even with a lot of help she was frustrated and felt left out when her classmates were checking out books and reading them.   

It was not until the fourth grade that she discovered graphic novels and books and according to Harper, “it changed my life.”  It is Harper’s goal for every classroom teacher to have multiple age appropriate graphic novels.

Harper’s confidence increased with having the ability to read and enjoy books. She is now an  A student and is at grade level in reading.

“Cheer to Read with Me” also combines Harper’s love of cheerleading.  Cheerleading has boosted Harper’s confidence and she now has the ability to speak out and use this platform to reach out to students like herself who may be struggling.

Cheering is also a great place to start with raising money. As of Feb. 14, Harper has raised $220 and received 10 books from her Amazon Wish List.  T

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 submitted applications are carefully reviewed by a volunteer selection panel. Up to three  are selected each quarter to receive $1,000 for their well thought out idea or a project already in motion.  T

hose selected become Ambassadors of Respect (AoR) for Davie County.  All of the AoR’s have additional opportunities.