At CHCCS, Celebrating Local Volunteers

UNC-Chapel Hill has a well-earned reputation for public service, with thousands of students volunteering in our community every year – and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district is recognizing them during National Volunteer Week.

National Volunteer Week runs from April 10-16. CHCCS volunteer coordinator George Ann McCay says she actively recruits UNC students to help out in the schools every year – and the students respond, working with students all the way from kindergarten to graduation.

McCay brought two volunteers onto WCHL this week to discuss their experiences with Aaron Keck: Mary Whatley, who works with ESL students at Carrboro High School, and Hayden Vick, who works with first and third graders at Estes Hills Elementary.


If you’d like to volunteer in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, visit the district’s volunteer page or stop by the volunteer office above the PTA Thrift Shop on Main Street in Carrboro.

Step Up and Volunteer For Chapel Hill

Volunteering in Chapel Hill.  How many times have you griped about some situation in the town of Chapel Hill?  How many times have you thought about volunteering on one of the 17 standing advisory boards in Chapel Hill?

These two questions go hand in hand.  Currently, there are 17 advisory boards with 175 positions which the Town Council tries to fill every year.

The town has struggled to find people to fill positions on many of these boards including the Storm Water Management Utility Advisory Board, Personnel Appeal Committee, and the Historic District Commission which I currently serve on.  The advisory boards range from the Cemetery Advisory Board to the Planning Commission, to Community Design Commission, and the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board.  And many in between.

Another significant issue with respect to the membership in these advisory boards is a lack of applicants from the black, Hispanic, and Asian communities among others.  This has been a long-term problem which has continually perplexed the Town Council.

Step up and volunteer.  Why this malaise among citizens of Chapel Hill?  I would contend that if more citizens took the time to volunteer, the town would be a better place for it.  With over 60,000 residents, one would think that it would not be difficult to identify 175 people who could volunteer.

So, get off your proverbial backside and search for Chapel Hill advisory board applications on the web.  There you will find an application for any of the various boards.  Make a difference.  Apply today.


— Alan Rimer

Orange County Early Voting Meeting; Compass Center Volunteers

Now that the primaries are done, it’s time to start planning for the general election in November – and that means figuring out where to locate early voting sites.

The Orange County Board of Elections is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, July 22, to hear from the public on the hours and locations for the 2014 general election. Head to the meet and let officials know where you want to see early-voting sites – and when you want them open.

The meeting will take place at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Board of Elections office at 208 S. Cameron Street in Hillsborough.

If you’re looking to do good in your community, consider volunteering for the Compass Center for Women and Families.

The Compass Center is accepting applications now for people interested in working their 24-hour domestic violence hotline, being First Responders for individuals who walk into the center’s office, or being Community Educators and representing the Compass Center at events and presentations around town.

For more information, you can email – or visit them online at for more details.

White Cross Volunteer Fire Department Set To Expand

CARRBORO – The White Cross Volunteer Fire Department is expanding to better provide safety to the houses in its district.

Currently White Cross plans to renovate its current facility on Old Greensboro Rd. and build a new station on Neville Road.

White Cross Board of Directors president, Tony Blake explains the reason for the expansion.

“We’re out of space and we needed to expand our building, now, we realized that years ago and decided to take advantage of USDA funds at a very low rate” Blake commented.

Blake says White Cross plans to use U.S. Department of Agriculture loans only to renovate their current station, and will use the amount the county allots for building the new station on Neville Road.

On June 4, White Cross had a meeting with the CountyCommissioners to discuss the plans to build the new fire station and hear concerns from people in the area.

“Yes, we believe that it falls within the budget, and that was what we went to talk with the County Commissioners, and showed them our figures; but we believe that there is a good value for the residents here” Blake said.

Some people have expressed concerns over building the new fire station in a residential area. Blake says the White Cross Fire Department heard several of these concerns at the Commissioners’ meeting and responded to the people and commissioners with a letter answering many questions.

He says White Cross plans to hold a community meeting when time permits to address any additional concerns.

The location for the new building took a couple years to find, and Blake says will have positive benefits for more than 500 houses in the White Cross district.

“We looked at several parcels of lands over two years and none of them met the criteria, and so the Neville Road location was by far the best location we could find” Blake said.

One of the benefits for 500 houses in the White Cross district is a lower insurance rating. In North Carolina, houses receive insurance ratings based on how far they are from a fire station, and more than five miles away receives a much higher rate. By building the new station on Neville Road, several houses in the eastern region of their district will now be within five miles and get lower insurance rates.

The new station will hold a tanker that the fire station does not currently have and will allow for its staff to better protect the area.  The current White Cross facility uses an outdoor shed to store some vehicles in winter, making it difficult to use them in an emergency. Also, after building the new facility, White Cross wants to hire two more paid staff members to assist the current single paid staff member for the station.

White Cross is always looking for volunteers to help its cause and assist in any way.  Not all volunteers need to be firefighters; Blake says the station has a need for volunteers with any professional or support services like bookkeeping, electricians, plumbers, legal, and web page maintenance.

“Who ever would like to help us ad contribute, that’s what keeps the cost low and makes it work” Blake says.

For more information, you can visit the White Cross website by clicking here.

The letter that White Cross sent to the Commissioners answers questions that people asked during the meeting is also available click here to view.