Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Working With Kids, One Way Or The Other

Today's entry in "The Red Brick Wall: Building A Legacy" looks back at the service of Mrs. Sybill Presswood, longtime school secretary at Marshall High School who was named Volunteer of the Year in 1986 for her work with abused and neglected children. This article appeared in the Oct. 27, 1986, edition of the Marshall News Messenger.

MARSHALL JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL secretary Sybill Presswood loves young people so much that when she is not surrounded by teenagers at work, she voluntarily spends her time with a group of area children who need attention.

In fact, Mrs. Presswood was recently honored by the Department of Human Services as their volunteer of the year for her work with Child Protective Services.

Mrs. Presswood, who has worked for the Marshall Independent School District for 16 years, said she became involved in helping abused and neglected children several years ago while working at Price T. Young School.

"I really didn't know what was involved, but the longer I stayed on the board, the more I became involved. I've been on the board for 10 years now," she said.

Child Protective Services in Harrison County tries to make sure foster children have as normal a life as any other children, Mrs. Presswood said. Foster parents receive money for the state for basic necessities and some funds from the county commissioners for extras, but Child Protective Services tries to provide things for which the state and county do not pay.

"We help raise money for their school clothes and go outside for Christmas donations. We also help pay doctor and hospital bills when they aren't covered by insurance. We try to give each of the children a birthday allowance and try to give the foster children the same privileges as other children," said Mrs. Presswood.

Mrs. Presswood is president and volunteer coordinator for CPS, and she said volunteers are always needed. One thing the volunteers do is sit with foster children in the hospital so they will not be alone.

"They get so scared when they have to be in the hospital alone," Mrs. Presswood said.

"The most rewarding thing is the direct contact with the children. We show them some love and teach them to trust. It's so rewarding to see those children blossom and start trusting people. Seeing a child go from a little frightened thing and start giving out love is really specials," she said.

Currently, CPS is raising money for the foster children's Christmas. Mrs. Presswood said various organizations and even classes at school will sponsor a child, either by buying gifts or giving money to CPS.