In this volunteer spotlight we want to highlight the work of one particular volunteer who has helped to set the bar for volunteers in Cumberland County and lay the groundwork for others like her. It is our honor to cast a spotlight on Judy Serratore, supporter and volunteer with our Education Department and Teen Connections Peer Ed. Alumni group in Fayetteville.
Judy, affectionately known as “Grandma” to some of our teen health program alumni, originally hails from New York. She moved to Fayetteville nine years ago to be closer to her family. Judy says that “God put her in Fayetteville for a reason.” Not only have her grandchildren completed the Teen Connections teen pregnancy prevention program in Cumberland County, but Judy has also taken part in Parents Matter, a program focused on healthy parental communication for guardians of teens. Judy currently works with the local school system as a substitute teacher and spends any spare time she has with her three and a half year old great-grandson, Anthony. She also serves as a member of the Teen Connection’s Community Advisory Council in Cumberland County.
What brought you to Planned Parenthood and Teen Connections?
Well, a few years back, I was at a festival in downtown [Fayetteville] and I saw a booth that you all were at. I came up and spoke to the volunteer at the booth and she encouraged me to take a look into the Teen Connections for my grandkids. I looked it up and talked to a few people and it seemed like a good thing to try. I’ve been coming out and supporting you all for about five or six years now, and I still enjoy it.
What was it about Teen Connections that caught your attention the most?
Monika, without question. [Monika Thigpen is Director of Education at PPCNC and was the original lead educator for Teen Connections in Cumberland County when the program first began nearly ten years ago.] I admired that she was so down to earth and put together. She’s highly educated, but can also get on the kids level to talk to them about important stuff about their sexual health, whether they choose abstinence or are sexually active. I know that she was someone I wanted my grandkids around because she was a good influence.
You know, kids don’t always want to listen to their parents or grandma about this stuff. They wouldn’t take me seriously, but I liked that you all provided a place for them to come together and get the correct information to keep them safe and healthy.