LAKE OCONEE — At the recent Boys & Girls Club Appreciation Luncheon for Donors and Volunteers, Dr. Mardel Kolls received the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by Dr. Barbara Pullium-Davis. Dr. Kolls, who came to Greene County three years ago with her husband, Haven, stepped quickly onto the field as a committed community volunteer. According to Dr. Pulliam-Davis, Greene County Superintendent of Schools, "Dr. Kolls was woman on a mission to get involved, to help and volunteer, especially with the children of our community. Hailing from California, she has brought a rich background of educational service and grant writing to fuel her efforts here on behalf of local kids.
In California, Dr. Kolls was a member of the Mission San Juan Capistrano Preservation Society. She was not only a generous donor to the Mission, but worked tirelessly to promote the organization's mission: "To inspire citizens to give and serve, and to educate the community to maintain and preserve the architecture of the historic site.”
In 1994, she served as President of the California Educational Research Association and has been a presenter to a learned body of researchers--locally, regionally and nationally. In the educational arena, she has been a member of the National association of Test Directors and served as the former Director of Research and Evaluation of the Santa Ana Unified School District.
Dr. Pullium-Davis adds, "Mardel Kolls is highly respected as an educator and researcher, but we must not overlook the heart and mind of this fine woman. When the opportunity came to our county this past year to seek a Georgia 21st Century Grant, she set to work with my staff and me to determine the opportunities we wanted for our local kids." The tremendous and time-consuming effort involved discussion, writing, reading, re-writing and editing, over and over again. This very detailed work also involved lengthy research and spanned hundreds of hours, in addition to meetings with officials from the State Department of Education.
Eventually, the Boys & Girls Club was awarded the 21st Century Grant for around $450,000 per year for five years, in partnership with the Greene County School System. This innovative program, entitled P.E.A.K. (Physical Fitness, Excellence, Academics for Kids), is designed specifically to benefit youth in the sixth and ninth grades. Activities occur both after school and on selected Saturdays during the school year.
The Boys & Girls Club members, staff, volunteers and Advisory Board join Dr. Pullium Davis in expressing thanks to Dr. Mardel Kolls for the generous gift of her time and expertise and for her commitment to our Greene County youth. As Dr. Pullium-Davis presented the award to Dr. Kolls, she stated, "I can think of nothing more appropriate than naming you the Greene County Boys & Girls Club Volunteer of the Year. I am so very pleased and grateful to and for you—because you made this all about the children.”