By Kay S. PedrottiTrish Henry, founder of Lamar County’s Conservatory for the Arts, is forming an auxiliary of retired educators, grandparents and others who are interested in being volunteers for enrichment programs at several locations.’In our first year we served more than 160 students in several programs at Lamar County schools, the Lamar County Activity Center and Rock Springs Christian Academy,’ said Henry. ‘As a new organization we’ve grown rapidly, beyond what I can personally manage. Because the primary focus of the conservatory is mentoring, we want individuals who are interested in spending quality time with our students.There are several programs where volunteers would be a big help and I’m working toward having more paid part-time staff so I can be sure of having someone available consistently.’Henry said volunteers dealing with students need to have background checks. Maj. Craig Cooper at the Barnesville police department has offered to reduce the fee for background checking from $15 to $5 to support this effort, she added.’I haven’t taken a paycheck yet — establishing a solid foundation first has been my goal,’ she noted.Her work this summer has included writing two more grants to help support the programs in ballet, fencing, karate and other ‘life-affirming activities,’ said Henry. Hiring more staff is difficult because the conservatory is ‘an underfunded non-profit.’Fees for programs are very reasonable, Henry said, and those students unable to pay are supported by grants, local service organizations and individual sponsors.’I’m writing more grants and actively pursuing sponsors for next school year, especially for special needs students and children in foster care,’ she said. ‘Volunteers can really make a difference in all the students’ lives and the more we have the better. It allows time for one-on-one help for those who need it.’Henry may be reached at 770-344-9210 or via email at email@example.com to get more information on times and locations for volunteers.
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