Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Volunteer Knights

- Reprinted from SBISD's STARNews

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. Some cook. Some coach. Some teach. At Northbrook Middle School, home of the Knights, Felipa Munoz and Bruce Rollins check all of the above boxes.

The two have been honored in recent years as district Volunteers of the Month. Felipa and her team make Tacos for Teachers every week; cook up Thanksgiving dinner for adult volunteer mentors at the school; and bake 400 cupcakes for staff and children at Texas Children’s Hospital. “I love to cook,” says longtime volunteer Felipa.

“I love to do this, and I do it from my heart. I love being here every day. To me, all the children here are my children. I want to be here for them.” She began this giving 25 years ago at Shadow Oaks Elementary when her daughter, Guadelupe, was in third grade. She followed grandson Anthony to Northbrook Middle. Granddaughter Jazmine is now an eighth-grader there.

Felipa is supported by up to a dozen other volunteers. Adult mentor Bruce Rollins doesn’t know how to retire. He’s tried to do so three times now. After a successful career in sales and marketing at Proctor & Gamble, he retired a decade ago. He was Mr. Mom at home, but needed more. An All-American college swimmer, he took up the sport again and was soon coaching at St. Thomas High and Duchesne Academy.

He started the student swimming program at Buffalo Creek Elementary School a decade ago, and was later athletic director for five years at Duchesne, which his daughters attended. His wife, Elaine, recruited him three years ago to mentor a Northbrook Middle student.

Since then, he has helped three brothers. He’s at the school most days either early in the morning or after school, working one on one with students, or mentees. Reading, writing and math drills have led to grade-level gains. He teaches adult swimming, too, at the Brenda and John Duncan YMCA on Clay Road.

“I was on my third retirement when I took my first student. I always wanted to be a teacher and a coach. I am retired, but as a mentor, I find that I’m both of these – teacher and a coach,” he says.

“It is unlike anything else I’ve ever done.” To learn how you can mentor a student or volunteer in SBISD’s schools or supporting departments, please call the SBISD Community Relations Department at 713-251- 2286.


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