Charity Angels...Celebrating Those Who Give of Themselves
PINK: Phyllis, tell me about yourself.
Phyllis: I lived in New Jersey most of my life. My husband John and I moved to Sun City about eight years ago—and our dog Cayenne too, of course. My mom also lives in Bluffton. Recently she has moved into assisted living. I am proud to say that she lived independently until she was 91 years old!
PINK: How did you get started with the United Way? I understand you have a long history?
Phyllis: Yes, I do have a long history with United Way. It was my first job. I signed up as a new employee for payroll deductions when I was 18! Throughout my corporate career, my relationship with United Way grew, first as a workplace campaign solicitor, then as a volunteer on the United Way Campaign, and served on the United Way Board of Directors in Morris County, NJ. I later joined the staff of United Way of Morris County, where we created many community impact initiatives to address the most pressing issues like high quality, affordable childcare, caregiver support and affordable housing. When I moved to the Lowcountry in 2007, I reached out to United Way of the Lowcountry to see how I could share my past experiences with my new community. I originally hoped to locate former United Way supporters who had relocated here and lost their connections with United Way in the process. This has proven to be quite a challenge with the rules of many gated communities, but it remains a goal for me.
PINK: What are you currently doing at United Way?
Phyllis: I do many different things. I serve on the United Way Lowcountry Board of Directors. I have helped with fundraising. I have also been a part of volunteer development and community impact. I have specifically worked on and with our early grade reading initiative called Read Indeed. I help recruit volunteer tutors and I am in both Beaufort and Jasper counties. I have been a tutor myself for the last four years. (Phyllis really puts her money where her mouth is. Imagine doing all of this recruiting and training, and also being in the actual trenches, too!)
PINK: What is the satisfaction you get personally from what you do?
Phyllis: As a tutor, I meet with several children (one at a time) either in the classroom or outside the room once a week. They read to me and then we discuss the story. We focus not only on recognizing words, but on fluency and comprehension. First of all, there is the satisfaction of seeing these children improve week to week. These are not the poorest readers. Those kids get extra help provided by the schools. Instead, the kids we tutor are those who, without intervention, are likely to reach fourth grade unable to read at grade level. From K-First grade, children learn to read and from fourth grade they read to learn. These are the children who will begin to fall behind their peers and eventually drop out of school. So, there is great satisfaction in knowing that in helping to improve their reading, our tutors have a life-changing impact on children in our community. There are so many children in this community who could benefit from a volunteer tutor. Also, there is the satisfaction of being a positive adult in a child’s life!
PINK: Talk about some of the other things you do. I know that you are a Mary Kay representative, but you have given that quite a little twist, haven’t you?
Phyllis: Well to be honest, Judith, I am going to do a little commercial for Mary Kay here. Not for the products, mind you, but for what it has meant to me as a woman and in reality, a small business owner. Six years ago I started a Mary Kay business. Today, I lead an amazing group of women. I teach them to be successful independent business owners. I once told my own Mary Kay rep that I would NEVER join Mary Kay, but today I am so glad that I did not pay attention to myself. I, however, wish I had ignored myself sooner. I have found in Mary Kay a company that lives up to its vision to enrich women’s lives. The Foundation invests millions of dollars in two primary areas: Finding cures for cancers that affect women and ending domestic abuse. I love to use my business to help local charities raise money and invite any Lowcountry 501(c)3 organizations that are interested to contact me. I have worked successfully with charities, student groups, sororities and others raising money for a good cause. In 2011, I won a national Mary Kay contest. Mary Kay built a Habitat home for a family in my home town. I always loved to work for United Way because I believe it is an organization that changes people’s lives, but I also have the opportunity to change lives by helping women with finding perhaps a business model that gives them what they need to succeed.
PINK: Anything else about you that we can share with readers, Phyllis?
Phyllis: Yes, Judith there is. I have been involved with Sun City club, fitness and dancing-that kind of thing. I also really enjoy cheering my husband on when he is out with his Dragon Boat team. On another note, I also spend time focusing on my dear mother. Busy life, I guess.
Yes, what a busy life and what a super lady.
Phyllis, I think your middle name should be “Giving.”
Working with heart, patience and flexibility are hallmarks of a dedicated volunteer. Phyllis Doyle has it all. Read on to meet a versatile and talented lady.