Volunteer spotlight on… Mike Vigunas

Mike-Vigunas--ColorJob: President, MAX International/MAXStick Products

Family: Wife Pam; son Matt, married to Katie; son Jason, engaged to Natalie; daughter Adrienne, married to Jim; and one granddaughter, Julianna.

What do you do for the Warwick Education Foundation? Over the years, I’ve had a few different positions, always engaged in raising awareness of the Foundation and what the Warwick Education Foundation is all about.  Currently, I chair the Development Committee.

How did you get involved, and why do you continue to volunteer? Back in 1997, Dr. Bonfield, superintendent at the time, asked a few people if we would be interested in starting an education foundation.  He wanted the Foundation to be independent from the school district so we would not be viewed as an “arm” of the district.  Dr. Bonfield made a compelling case that we could fund innovative educational experiences for students that could not be financed through the regular school funding channels.  I think we all believed that education is the great equalizer in our world, and if we could do something to help all the students in the Warwick School District, they could have the best educational experience possible.  In the beginning, we spent the first year or so just trying to put the structure of the Foundation together so it would be sustainable for years to come.  We started with “mini” grants for teachers who had submitted proposals for unique programs or teaching lessons.  We called them “mini” because we didn’t have much money at the time to donate.  We joked among ourselves that the first grant money just came out of our pockets since we were too embarrassed to not fund any programs.   We’ve come a long way since that time and in 2015-16, we will donate more than $150,000 to the Warwick School District for innovative educational programs and cutting edge technology.  Virtually 100% of the money we raise goes into funding these unique educational opportunities.

What are some of your favorite moments? Family Fun Day and Family Movie Night are my favorite activities with the WEF as they really give families a time to be together and just have fun and share time with each other.  These two activities were never meant to be “fundraisers”, but there is tremendous support from the community and businesses so that they don’t really cost the WEF anything.  However, my favorite moments are when we can donate money for programs that will have a real positive impact for as many students as we can in their educational experience.

What else would you like to share about WEF? At the beginning of 2015, the WEF reached $1,000,000 in money given to the Warwick School District to fund innovative educational experiences for the students and teachers of the District.  We’re looking to a sort of “celebration” as a thank you for the support the community has given the WEF over the years with the Lit Fest coming up this November.  Now we’re off to work on our second million and anyone who would like to volunteer their time and talent is always welcome.

By Katie Grisbacher

Volunteer spotlight on… Sandy Bock

Sandy-BockThree years ago, when the Warwick Education Foundation started to plan its first For the Love of Education gala, the committee needed help preparing an auction display. So they turned to Sandy Bock, merchandiser.

Bock at first intended simply to offer pointers on how to showcase each auction item to draw the highest bid. But she soon became the WEF’s new auction display designer.

“I have always been very creative,” admits Bock. “I’ll try anything artsy and fun, from sewing, calligraphy, and cooking to painting, designing and decorating.

“The Mad Men side of me loves the creativity in marketing and merchandising. I always feel like I can make something look more appealing to a customer.”

Having spent 25 years as owner and operator of a retail craft business in, Bock knows firsthand that creativity in display can add value to merchandise.

“Seeing a beautiful scarf lying on a table is one thing,” explained Bock. “But a beautiful scarf cascading over a colorful display helps you imagine all the possibilities it can bring to your own wardrobe.”

Bock likes to tell a story. For instance, a movie theater gift card could be overlooked. “But a bucket of popcorn spilling over, some movie theater candy and a coke will make you want to go to the movies!”

She likes the challenge of the unknown – having to be resourceful, working with what she has on hand, evaluating available space and traffic flow issues.

“Pulling it all together aesthetically takes a while,” explained Bock. “I can redo and rearrange forever until I’m happy … even then, when I show up at the event later on, I’m still critiquing my work and inconspicuously straightening things.”

Barb Mobley, WEF executive director, appreciates the unique talent Bock brings to the gala.

“This year there were 162 items and it took the better part of the day to prepare all of them,” said Mobley. “She does a marvelous job creating attractive displays!”

“From the beginning, I could see that this was a very ambitious, hard-working committee,” said Bock. “I was so impressed with all the grants the WEF provides to fund extra programs and teaching aids.

“We live in an amazing town, made truly outstanding by the willingness of so many selfless volunteers. I think most people who live in Lititz realize that a community like this doesn’t just happen on its own.”

Sandy Bock her husband, James, have lived in Lititz for 38 years. They have three grown sons – Chris, Ryan, and Jamie – and six grandchildren.

Spotlight on… Barbara Mobley, Executive Director

MobleyBarbara Mobley likes that Warwick Education Foundation (WEF) brings our community together.

“The Foundation is about people,” explains Mobley, “Employees, parents, grandparents, alumni, friends, teachers, students, and everyone who gives their time, energy, and funds to empower young people with education and make our community stronger.”

In her 4 years with the WEF, Mobley has seen elementary students care for trout in the classroom, play the ukulele, and learn how to tell stories from an expert storyteller.  She has watched middle schoolers meet Holocaust survivors and experience live Shakespearean performances.  She has been amazed by high school students programming robots and using state of the art broadcasting equipment.

“Students and their teachers are genuinely excited about programs like these,” says Mobley, “and it’s especially inspiring to know they are made possible by a community that cares.”

Mobley loves to see and hear how WEF programs impact students. One of her favorite stories came from Mrs. Reeny Morell, a teacher at John R. Bonfield Elementary School, who spoke of young student learning to read using an iPad provided by the WEF (over 240 have been provided to date).  When asked how he felt about it, he replied, “I’m a genius!”

To Mobley, that says it all.  “How wonderful it would be for every child from kindergarten to twelfth grade to feel like a genius – to have greater self confidence, skills, and opportunity as a result of WEF-funded programs.  That’s exciting, enriching, and a worthwhile investment!”

In 2015, WEF will achieve the $1 million dollar mark in contributions to education, a tremendous community milestone Mobley celebrates and sees as a launch point for a multitude of possibilities.

“One never knows what will spark a child’s interest in learning or where that learning could take a child in the future,” says Mobley.  She invites volunteers and contributors who believe in our children’s and community’s future and are willing to step forward to join the WEF efforts to contact her at info@WarwickEF.org.

Barbara Mobley has served as Executive Director of the Warwick Education Foundation since 2011. She and her husband, Ken, and have been married for 26 years and have two children – Kate, Warwick class of 2014, and Will, a sophomore at Warwick High School. She enjoys fitness, travel, cooking, camping, hiking, and the great outdoors (an interest kindled by a winter outdoor experience at her own high school many years ago).

Volunteer Spotlight on… Dan Doremus

warwick-ed3Dan Doremus wants to make sure students get excellent programs. That’s why he makes a great chair of the Allocations Committee, the group that decides how to award Warwick Education Foundation grants.

Through the leadership of Doremus, the WEF modified its grant application last year to include new incentives for educators to apply for grants as a team. Teams of applicants may now apply for grants up to $3,000, double the grants up to $1,500 available to individual applicants.

“We decided to encourage teachers to collaborate,” explained Doremus. “It could be a group of teachers, a department, or a team of teachers from different disciplines,” such as the teachers who received a grant to purchase Weather Bug software for use in both math and science classes at Warwick Middle school.”

From his years serving as assistant superintendent of Warwick School District (1986-2004), Doremus understands the importance of funding programs that fit well into the overall educational picture at Warwick. “All of the requests are reviewed by the principal and the superintendent. We want to make sure that the grants are consistent with the instructional direction of the school.”

For example, the play My Heart in a Suitcase, which the WEF has funded several times, corresponds with the 7th grade language arts curriculum, in which students read The Diary of Anne Frank. The play recounts the true story of Anne Lehman Fox, sent from Nazi Germany to Great Britain for adoption by a Jewish family during World War II.
“The year that I attended,” remembers Doremus, “Anne Lehman Fox herself also came to see the play again. What was really educational was that students asked her questions after the play, and she gave them her first-hand account. That’s the type of learning opportunity we hope to provide for Warwick students that gets them excited and involved about learning in a different way.”

Doremus looks with great respect on those who share his passion for youth and education, including his fellow WEF board members and former Warwick Superintendant John Bonfield, whose legacy continues to inspire him.

“John Bonfield had a phrase during new staff orientation: ‘We’re good but we can be better.’ That’s our philosophy for the WEF. We’ve done a good job and we have expanded our reach within the community, but we want to do more.”

Dan Doremus retired from his post as Assistant Superintendent of Warwick School District in 2004 after 18 years of service. He joined the board of the Warwick Education Foundation in 2005 and was elected Vice President in 2007, a role he continues to this day. He currently chairs the Allocations Committee and the Educational Impact Committee.

Since retirement, Dan has been “bitten by the golf bug,” especially after having to put aside favorite activities of ski and SCUBA. Dan is active with his home church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Ephrata, where he serves on the capital campaign committee.

Dan has been married 12 years to Cathy, who serves the community through the Lititz Womans Club, Heart of Lancaster Hospital, Lancaster Historical Society, and First Methodist Church of Lancaster. He has a step-son, Chad, living with his wife in Asheville NC, and a step-daughter, Claudia, who lives in Baltimore.

Volunteer Spotlight on… Grant Hummer

IMG_7946They don’t call him Grant for nothing.

Grant Hummer, president of the Warwick Education Foundation, expects to see the Foundation reach a funding milestone of one million dollars in grants to Warwick School District within the coming year. But he’s not stopping there.

“I look forward to the challenge of getting the next million in funding to the school district,” said Hummer. “When I first joined the board, WEF was offering mini grants with a $1000 limit.”

Since that time, the Foundation has expanded its offerings to include larger Innovative Education and Expert in Residence Grants, this year ranging from $100 to $7000, with a total of $177,214 to Warwick School District in 2014 alone.

The hiring of Executive Director Barbara Mobley has allowed the WEF to accomplish more, including the completion of a strategic plan, further development of business partnerships, and bonus funding for community programs such as Lititz Run Watershed Days.

Hummer helps to spearhead fundraising and visibility events such as the Family Movie Night, Family Fun Day, and “For the Love of Education” auction and gala celebration.

Hummer’s favorite programs include a blend of modern technology and the timeless focus on teaching kids to read.

Grant Hummer is president of the ELA Group, Inc. He has served on the board of the Warwick Education Foundation for nine years, and as board president for seven years. He and his wife, Judi, have three sons, two daughters-in-law, three grandchildren, and two dogs. In his spare time, Grant enjoys golf, gardening, hunting and fishing.

Volunteer Spotlight on… Lisa Gleason

Lisa-GleasonThis past summer, the Warwick Education Foundation (WEF) spoke with Lisa Gleason about the goal to involve more high school and middle school students in WEF’s Family Fun Day.

Gleason knew just where to go. As faculty advisor for Warwick High School’s Interact club, a youth extension of Rotary International, Gleason knows her students have a heart for service.

So, while Interact members have been volunteering for Family Fun Day for several years as ticket takers and general “hands on deck,” this year they stepped up their support with sponsorship of a new mechanical bull competition. For only two dollars (and a signed parent waiver), teens can compete to stay astride the bull.

Gleason was pleased and surprised with the opportunity for a student group to sponsor a game at Family Fun Day. As a reading and support teacher at Warwick, Gleason has received WEF grants to purchase books for her class library and to take students to Barnes & Noble to select their own books for purchase. “I believe (WEF) is a really important resource in our community.”

Warwick’s Interact club meets the first Friday of each month. “Any student can join at any time,” explained Gleason. “We just do community service.” Students volunteer to collect clothing donations, wrap holiday gifts, and support local fundraising and community events.

Members of the club may request to be placed into Mrs. Gleason’s homeroom, and the interest is high. “I had to turn away students this year because I only had room for 51 seats!”

Gleason grins ear to ear describing her homeroom of Interact students. “What a great way to start the day! The energy is phenomenal. To come in at 7:50 in the morning to all these kids!”

Gleason also serves as faculty advisor to Aevidum, a club that promotes acts of kindness and awareness about mental health issues.

Warwick Education Foundation salutes Lisa Gleason for her service!

Katie Grisbacher is a freelance writer/editor living in Lititz. She welcomes your comments at kgrisbacher@gmail.com. For more information on the Warwick Education Foundation visit warwickef.org or contact Executive Director Barbara Mobley at info@warwickef.org.

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