She welcomed guests Jane Littlejohn, Al Miller and Connie Yates. Janice Suits opened the program with the devotion. After the luncheon, Carol Guhne introduced Dr. Murl Dirksen, a member of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Lee University, as the guest speaker.
Dirksen serves on the Cleveland City Schools system’s Board of Education and also serves on the board of directors of the local Habitat for Humanity. The local Habitat affiliate was his topic for the teacher program. Dirksen gave a brief history of Habitat dating back to 1942 in South Georgia when Millard Fuller put forth the concept of building houses without charging interest. Since that time more than 600,000 homes have been built across the United States placing more than 3 million people in those homes.
Locally, the Habitat program began in 1992 and has completed 113 homes in the Cleveland area. Of the many reasons Dirksen gave for his conviction in the Habitat philosophy, he stated simply that it gives children a home; it provides stability to families; and it affords people from different walks of life a means to come together to work in the project. He then showed a video of the local Habitat projects titled “A Place Where Hope Lives: Habitat for Humanity.”
Annie Kinworthy, the Community Development coordinator for the local Habitat project, spoke to the group and stated that the success of Habitat is based on dedicated volunteers from all walks of life and skill levels. She then explained some of the current projects in progress at Habitat. During a question-and-answer period, she and Dirksen explained the selection process for families chosen to receive a home, items currently available in the ReStore, how a person can donate items and the ongoing auction at the ReStore.
During the business portion of the meeting, minutes were read by Carolyn Goins, secretary, and approved. Joy Yates, treasurer, presented the treasurer’s report which was approved.
Lois Glass asked all to remember the family of Shirley McIntire and the contribution she made to education. Carolyn Earnest brought a motion from the Scholarship Committee to change to name of the Cleveland-Bradley Retired Teachers’ Association Scholarship to the Ann Guthrie Martin Scholarship. The late Mrs. Martin served as the president of the local RTA for two terms from 1999-2003 and again from 2005-09. No other president has served as many years. She was truly devoted to the children in Bradley County and was very instrumental in the formation of the scholarship presented to a student pursuing a degree in education. She devoted herself to the Cleveland-Bradley Retired Teachers’ Association and the committee felt this would be a way to honor her. The motion was approved.
Gerald Lillard gave a legislative report and stated that all legislators voted for the 25 percent tuition discount for retired teachers’ children in state colleges and universities.
Martha Wattenbarger, Community Participation chairperson, explained the annual Christmas project to new members and reminded all to bring items for teachers who are no longer physically able to attend meetings.
The next scheduled meeting will be Dec. 12 at 11:30 a.m. at Westwood Baptist Church. The program will be presented by the Bradley High School Chorus. The local association meets bimonthly and membership is open to any retired teacher.