Hope Mills News

Gray’s Creek NHS raises money for Rick’s Place charity

13 01 Becca CollinsNo one can accuse the officers of the Gray’s Creek chapter of the National Honor Society of cutting corners when it comes to community service projects. Just ask Becca Collins, a Gray’s Creek senior.

Each year, when they apply for membership in the National Honor Society, Gray’s Creek students are required by club sponsor and faculty member Melissa Bishop to submit a detailed plan for their senior project.

Bishop said the plan must include a timeline, a budget and resources among other things. “When they are chosen, they get members of other National Honor Society Members together and pull off the project,’’ Bishop said.

For her project, Collins is following in the footsteps of her former Gray’s Creek softball teammate and fellow National Honor Society member Drew Menscer.
Last year, Menscer took on the project of organizing a fund-raising golf tournament for Rick’s Place.

Rick’s Place is located on 50 acres of land in the western part of Cumberland County. It is named in memory of the late Sgt. Richard J. Herrema, a Fort Bragg soldier who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

He died in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006.

Bishop said the mission of Rick’s Place is to host family events for soldiers and support them before, during and after deployments.
“Becca wanted to carry on the golf tournament that Drew did last year,’’ Bishop said.

Bishop said Gray’s Creek originally chose Rick’s Place as a beneficiary of their charity work after they spent a couple of days on the property. “We love their mission and what they stand for,’’ Bishop said.

Collins, like Bishop, has a strong feeling for the mission of Rick’s Place. “It’s one of the only military places in Fayetteville that really does a lot of hands-on things with military people,’’ she said. “People can bond with their kids. I really feel the golf tournament can be a big thing to help them.’’

Last year’s event raised $5,000 for Rick’s Place. Collins hopes to equal or increase the amount raised at this year’s event. It is scheduled for Saturday, March 21, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

For those who don’t play golf, hole sponsorships are available at $100 per hole. If anyone wants to make a donation in support of the tournament, those can be dropped off for either Collins or Bishop at the front office of Gray’s Creek High School during regular business hours. “We need a lot of help from the community,’’ Collins said.

Bishop said getting people to undertake sponsorship of a golf tournament is a huge undertaking for a high school student, but she’s confident that Collins can make it happen.

“Becca has a wonderful supporting family,’’ Bishop said. “I know her mom (Dawn Collins) has helped her reach out to businesses and make fliers. Becca has been doing a lot on the creative side.’’

Bishop said Becca and her family have been part of the Gray’s Creek community for many years. “I know the community is pitching in around them,’’ she said. “A lot of the community is small business owners. They love to donate to charities that benefit our soldiers right here in Fayetteville.’’

The work of promoting the golf tournament will provide valuable experience to Becca and the members of the committee that will be working with her Bishop said.
“They are often making cold calls to local businesses,’’ Bishop said of the students. “They have to have their pitch for why this is so important and why it would benefit companies to donate. They are learning a lot of real life business and marketing tactics and just how to talk to people in the community.’’

Check-in time for the tournament is at 7:30 a.m., and the tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

There is no limit on how many teams can sign up for the event. The entry fee is $65 per person or $260 for a foursome. The format of the tournament is captain’s choice.

The entry fee includes lunch and a golf cart.

Early bird registration is underway by emailing either Collins or Bishop. Their addresses are rebcol3577@student.ccs.k12.nc.us or melissabishop@ccs.k12.nc.us.

Highland Baptist welcomes Anderson as new pastor

19 Danny Anderson and Wife The Rev. Danny Anderson hails from the state of West Virginia, but his entire preaching career has been spent in North Carolina.He recently added Highland Baptist Church in Hope Mills to his resume as he became the church’s pastor in mid-February.

Anderson and his wife Lisa came to Hope Mills after previously serving Baptist congregations in Carteret County, Havelock and Pollocksville.

He also attended college in North Carolina, studying at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs. He graduated from Newburgh Theological Seminary in southern Indiana near the border with Kentucky.

Anderson said other churches had approached him but he felt the calling of the Lord to choose Highland Baptist. “We took to the people immediately,’’ he said. “As things progressed, the Lord just took care of it.’’

Anderson’s pastorate at Havelock brought him in contact with military personnel at the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He feels that experience will help him connect with both active and retired military from Fort Bragg who live in the Hope Mills area.

“I’ve learned from that how to be in a community that’s military-based, very patriotic and loves their country,’’ he said.

While Anderson doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach to working with each pastorate he’s served, there is a basic order of settling in that he follows.

“I see what the needs are, either being filled or needing to be filled, and take a plan of action from there,’’ he said.

Anderson said the emphasis of his ministry is one-on-one. “Everywhere I’ve been in smaller areas I’ve gone door-to-door,’’ he said. “I made sure my card was in each house.’’

His approach is to find out if they have specific prayer concerns, while at the same time trying to establish a rapport without being too intrusive into their private lives.
“That will be most likely what I’ll do immediately,’’ he said, “get the word out that I’m in the field.’’

As far as working with the staff at the church, Anderson prefers a team effort and reaching out for suggestions on what’s needed to best serve the congregation.

“I do trust the people we have on staff, their calling in different areas,’’ he said. “My managerial approach is not to micromanage. I generally allow people to use their gifts, getting all those talents together, everybody contributing a certain part to the puzzle to meet the needs.’’

Anderson estimates it will take anywhere from six months to a year for him to become comfortably educated about the Hope Mills community, learn all the names and get a feeling for the local culture.

Once that happens, he’ll feel more comfortable about instituting any major changes that might be needed. “I’m not one to change or institute things for the sake of instituting something,’’ he said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’’

Anderson said his main concern will be building relationships. “People are people,’’ he said. “Human nature is human nature.

“Just being there at the time of need and developing that trust is basically the way I approach it.’’

Hope Mills notebook

17 Brower ParkHere are some Hope Mills news odds and ends taken from recent reports compiled by Town Manager Melissa Adams:

Work is getting close to completion on the temporary headquarters for the Hope Mills Police Department located in the former Ace Hardware Building on
Main Street.

It is estimated the construction will be completed by early to midMarch. Moving from the current police station on Rockfish Road to the new location will begin as soon as construction has ended and is expected to be finished by the end of March.

The temporary police headquarters will be known as Main Street Police Station. The temporary location will be used during construction of the new public safety building for the fire and police departments at the current location on Rockfish Road.

The town has again been notified by the Department of the Army that it will be conducting training exercises in Hope Mills. The Army held similar training events in the town last year.

The Special Warfare 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) will be holding exercises March 2-27, June 1-26 and Aug. 10-Sept. 4. All Army personnel involved will be in civilian clothes and display military ID. The training should not draw any attention from the public.

Registration for spring sports with the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department continues through Saturday, Feb. 29.
Available sports include baseball for ages 5-14, softball for ages 7-15 and indoor soccer for ages 5-12. Registration for wrestling has already concluded because that sport opens its season in March.

Youth baseball and softball will conduct drafts the first two weeks of March. The opening day for baseball and softball is Saturday, April 4, at 9 a.m. at Brower Park on Rockfish Road.

Hope Mills will host district baseball and softball tournaments during the upcoming season.

The tournaments include District 6 Dixie Softball, ages 7-15, six divisions, June 19-21 and District 11 Dixie Youth Baseball, 10U and 12U, June 26-30.

Beginning this fall, the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department will add girls’ volleyball for ages 9-17 to the sports program.

The staff is working with the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department and Freedom Christian Academy to coordinate scheduling. Registration for the first season of girls’ volleyball will be held in June.

Because of possible safety issues at the vacant lot where the former Christ Episcopal Church Parish House stood, the Hope Mills Public Works Department has been seeking quotes to install a fence along the parking lot side of the property as well as the rear of the vacant lot.

Prior to the Monday, Feb. 17, meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Adams reported three quotes had been received. After all the quotes have been studied, a decision on who will build the fence is expected soon, with work to install the fence to follow quickly.

In addition to the plans for the fence, the Public Works staff will be grading and seeding the lot when the planting season arrives in the spring.

Parks and Recreation director Lamarco Morrison and Planning and Executive Development Director Chancer McLaughlin will be involved in the process as both have prior experience with landscaping architecture.

Morrison and McLaughlin will work with the town’s Appearance Commission to come up with a basic landscaping design for the vacant lot. The plan is to eventually include the lot in the Heritage Park Master Plan.


The Hope Mills Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc., will hold a Black History Month Oratorical Contest on Saturday, Feb. 29, in the large activity room at Hope Mills Recreation Center.

The competition will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., and high school students from grades 9-12 will be competing. Prizes of $150 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third place will be awarded.

The Special Events and Programs Division of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department recently conducted training for the staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. As a result, the entire full-time staff of the Parks and Recreation Department is certified in CPR.

If you’ve got an important event coming up in Hope Mills or know of a story you’d like us to pursue, we’d love to hear about it. Please share your Hope Mills news with us via email at hopemills@upandcomingweekly.com.

Common Ground seeks to help charities with its music

18 PosterRonnie Holland knows firsthand what a successful organ transplant can mean to someone in need of a second chance at life.

Five years ago, his daughter had a successful liver transplant at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Now, Holland wants to help other people in need of a similar life-saving procedure, or charity for other needs.

After he retired several years ago, he formed a band he named Common Ground. As an outreach ministry of Hope Mills United Methodist Church, Holland’s goal is for his band to help various individuals and charities in need of financial help by holding concerts to raise money.

The first one is scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 7th, at Hope Mills United Methodist Church at 4955 Legion Road. There is no charge for admission but donations will be accepted after the service.

Holland preferred asking for donations rather than having a set admission price. “We want people to feel led to do what they want to do,’’ he said.

The first concert will benefit the Jason Ray Foundation. The foundation was created in memory of Jason Ray, who wore the Rameses mascot costume for the University of North Carolina before he was killed in a traffic accident.

Ray donated his organs to others, and the foundation was started to raise money for the UNC Hospital Comprehensive Transplant Center Foundation.

“This is something that’s near and dear to my heart,’’ Holland said. “I hope it takes off. Whether it’s one person or 100,000, we’re going to sing.’’

Members of Holland’s group include Belinda Davis, Linda Currie, Janet Beaty, Dave Probus, Morrie Turner and Scott Reese. A special guest at the first concert will be guitarist Brad Muffet, who formerly played with nationally-known artist B.J. Thomas.

The group will perform a variety of music during the event, Holland said. Selections will include gospel, 60’s music, beach music, bluegrass and blues.Light refreshments will be served after the concert.

Holland said the sanctuary of the Hope Mills church will hold about 200. If the sanctuary is full, he said they can stream video of the performance into the church family life center. “I hope it gets too big and we have to go somewhere else,’’ he said.

The event is called the Living Water Benefit, which is illustrated in an original painting by one of the group’s members, Linda Currie.
It shows a waterfall flowing underneath a cross.

Holland said the picture symbolizes that Jesus Christ died to free everyone from sin. Water is included because everyone needs water to live, and water is used to baptize believers.

He sees the transplant as being similar since it gives the recipient a new life.

If anyone has questions or would like to make a donation, they can contact Holland at 910-624-4166 or by email at ronnieholland51@gmail.com.

Books N’ Bops program seeks to put fun in learning

13 01 Sharifa Johnson Sharifa Johnson thinks the direction modern education has taken is putting the instruction of children in an unpleasant place.

“We are taking all the fun out of learning,’’ she said. “We are really trying to focus on test-taking and not creating thinkers.’’

That’s why she’s created a program called Books N’ Bops, which she feels will put more fun in the learning process but not overlook the importance of  educating young people at the same time. 

Johnson has scheduled a series of Books N’ Bops sessions at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Center on Rockfish Road.

The next session will be Saturday, Feb. 22, with another session scheduled Saturday, March 21.

13 02 bnb logoThere will be sessions for two different age groups. The first, at 9:30 a.m., will be for children ages 3-5. The second, for children ages 6-8, will be at 10:30 a.m. Each session will last 45 minutes and the cost is $10 per student.

To sign up, parents should come to the recreation center office during normal business hours.

A minimum of five students and a maximum of 15 will be allowed to take part in each class, so parents are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to assure the class can be held.Johnson started Books N’ Bops eight months ago, drawing on her many years of experience as both an educator and a dancer.She’s been a teacher at all levels of education, from pre-kindergarten through the college years, for a total of 15 years in that role.

Her dancing career is even longer. Now 37, she got her first taste of dance when her mother took her to see "The Nutcracker" at age five. “I fell in love, so she took me to dance class,’’ Johnson said.

In the 32 years she’s been a dancer, Johnson said she’s tried just about every discipline there is. “I’ve done ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and African,’’ she said.

She attended North Carolina A&T in Greensboro before graduating in 2005 with degrees in English and secondary education. She returned to earn a masters degree in English and African-American literature.

Johnson sees Books N’ Bops as a way of educating the whole child, but using a simple method to do it. The lesson starts with Johnson reading the children a short book.

13 01 Sharifa Johnson She and the children discuss different aspects of literature. “If it’s fiction, we talk about things that kid will still be tested on, but we do it in a really fun way,’’ she said.

After the reading and discussion are over, Johnson teaches the children an originally choreographed dance that is connected to the story they just finished.

The dance is also a way of instilling confidence in the children as they are given the opportunity to perform. Johnson said connecting the reading element with dance movements creates a long-lasting learning impression. 

“You’ll remember that dance,’’ she said. “If you hear a song, you’ll remember you did that dance to that. You’ll have a connection to the book and you’ll remember what you were talking about.Because it was a fun activity and something you actually enjoyed doing, the movement helps to put it through the whole body, so the whole body understands the story.’’

One of the real strengths of Books N’ Bops, Johnson said, is she can adjust it to work with all kinds of age groups, even age groups that might be a little far apart.

“If you tell me you have a group the ages of five to 12, I can find a book that will engage everyone,’’ Johnson said.

“I’ll make the dance where it’s easy enough for the younger ones, but the older ones can enjoy it as well.’’

Johnson said she’s also working on a writing and dance program for older children.

As for deciding what book to read from, Johnson said she tries to gear it with whatever the popular curriculum is with local teachers in that age group.

“I’ve done a lot of day cares,’’ she said. “If you’re talking about dinosaurs that week, I’m going to go out and find a dinosaur book.’’

Johnson said she typically visits local libraries to choose her books, which can vary from the preferred topics of the day to classic books available for children.

“I have to think about what age group I’m talking to,’’ she said. “That also determines the length of the book I get because their attention span is different.’’

Johnson said her program is flexible and can be adapted to any setting outside of the traditional school environment that is child friendly. “I can make it come together,’’ she said. “I can be everywhere in the community.’’

In addition to doing traditional teaching settings, Johnson recently held a Books N’ Bops birthday party. She said she is also able to do church events.

To find out more about what Books N’ Bops is about, visit Johnson on her Books N’ Bops Facebook and Instagram accounts.

She can be contacted via email at booksnbops@gmail.com or 919-869-0210.

“I love teaching and I love dance and I get to share my joy,’’ Johnson said. “Whether it be a kid who finally performs or they actually get literacy concepts, the lights are going off.

“I just want everyone to love to learn and to love to read and love literacy.’’

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