Leading by Example

Dickerson Middle School Shares
Nights with Our Families

With creativity, commitment and generosity, Dickerson Middle School used its own 40th anniversary to live up to its motto, lead by example.

Harnessing the momentum of its yearlong celebration, the Cobb County public school reached out in 2019 to help Atlanta RMHC and raised more than $15,000.

Dickerson Middle School“Once we figured out we were both marking 40 years, we liked the connection and decided to celebrate both anniversaries throughout the year,” says Dr. Sunny Williams, Dickerson Middle teacher and Pay It Forward Club sponsor. “It seemed like the perfect thread to tie our efforts together.”

Promoted through the school’s Pay it Forward Club, the Share a Night campaign ran throughout the year and emphasized the House’s commitment to helping families stay together no matter their ability to pay. Share a Night asked Dickerson contributors to donate to help offset the operating cost of guest rooms.

In addition to raising money and awareness for the House’s mission, the campaign galvanized a burgeoning relationship between the school and Atlanta RMHC, says Williams, who has been organizing other ways for students to support the House, including serving meals and collecting pop tabs for the Pop Tabs Program.

“We have always had generous students who donate for our fundraising activities; however, it has been wonderful to see them actually at the House serving,” Williams says, adding that the volunteering opportunities have sparked interest in the House from siblings of students, even if they’re not at Dickerson themselves.

She says it’s helped students recognize need around them and understand that helping others is something that’s well within their grasp and not just an adult endeavor.

“All of us are touched by our interactions with those staying at the House,” Sunny says. “Their stories touch our hearts and make it clear why volunteering is so important.”