Employees serve as Mystery Readers
This past school year, Ward Black Law "adopted" two local elementary schools and helped collect school supplies for the classes. As a continuation of this, employees volunteered throughout the year at Vandalia Elementary School in Greensboro to participate in their mystery reader program. Once a month several employees read to selected classes from books chosen by the teachers. One of the volunteers also read a book over the intercom and the children would try to figure out which person read to them, thus the Mystery Reader. The children were excited to see new faces and to have someone new read to them. Everyone who participated enjoyed the opportunity to help out at the school.
Greensboro ALS Walk 2011
A team of Ward Black Law employees, family and friends walked to raise money and awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Greensboro walk was held on April 9 on a cool, misty morning, but the weather did not deter the walkers as a record crowd of over 1000 walkers took to the streets and raised over $170,000 just that day. One of the employees, Sherry Hensley enthusiastically collected over $600 alone. The team had a great time and walked in memory of family and friends who had passed away with the disease.
Habitat for Humanity 2011 - Santa Rosa, Honduras
Ward Black Law participated once again in a Habitat for Humanity trip to Honduras. This year the group returned to Santa Rosa where they have worked several times. Employees Jan Green and Summer Harpold with the others on the trip including Janet Ward's husband, Gerard Davidson, organizer of the trip, dug foundations and made significant progress on the walls of a new home for a hard-working single dad and his son. The weather was wet and hot, but everyone persevered especially the future homeowner who was there everyday working side-by-side with the Habitat folks.
Toys for Tots 2010 a Growing Success
Operation Santa’s Helper 2010 was a resounding success for the Marines and for Ward Black Law. On Friday, December 3, the collection kickoff for Toys for Tots was held at the offices of Ward Black Law on Wendover Avenue in Greensboro. During the day, over twelve boxes of new toys and $1500 was collected for the children of the Triad who would otherwise receive no Christmas presents.
The Marines were on hand all day, greeting passers-by and accepting donations for the charity. The employees of Ward Black Law joined in the festivities by handing out free food and beverages to the people who stopped by to donate toys or cash.
For anyone bringing in a gift, there was free food and drink all day. In the morning, Starbucks on New Garden Road contributed free coffee to go with a Chick Fil A biscuit or donut to anyone who came by. Coca Cola provided free beverages all day. At lunch time, Grill for God prepared delicious barbequed chicken to accompany the sides that Golden Corral provided to the cause.
Donors brought in toys and gave them in honor of men and women serving in the military and in some cases in memory of individuals who had lost their lives serving for their country. People came by to shake the hands of the Marines and to thank them for their service. It was a heart-warming day as kids and adults of all ages brought in donations.
WTQR broadcast live from the Ward Black Law parking lot during the lunch hour. Channel 14 Cable and Channel 12 news both covered the event. Later in the day, Guilford the Grasshopper paid a visit as did some firemen from the Guilford County fire department who brought along one of their trucks for the kids to see.
Special thanks also to A Bolder Image, Bravosigns, and Maxie B’s made donations of printed materials, signs and promotional items for Operation Santa’s Helper. Channel 14 contributed free air time to promote the event and to cover the festivities.
Tools for Schools
Ward Black Law along with several business partners and numerous friends supported Channel 2's campaign for supplies for area schools called Tools for Schools. With budget shortfalls and trimmed budgets, schools and their teachers and finding empty stock rooms and sparce classrooms. Teachers spend on average $500 per year of their own money to provide the bare necessities to their students. Although all students receive supply lists at the beginning of the school year, in many neighborhoods, the parents are just not able to pay for the supplies and have to send their children to school empty-handed.
Contributors brought school supplies to Ward Black Law and employees helped with the shopping during the tax free weekend in August. Because of personal connections with teachers at Vandalia Elementary and Montlieu Elementary Schools, we made special purchases based on the teachers's wishlists at those schools. A van filled to the roof with supplies made deliveries to each school with much fanfare. The teachers and staff at each were amazed at the quantity of much needed materials. The following week we delivered another carload to the Teacher Supply Warehouse which is open to all Guilford County school teachers.
What a rewarding way to help our local community.
Habitat for Humanity 2010 - La Ceiba, Honduras
For the third year, Ward Black Law sponsored individuals on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Honduras. This year the group, lead by Gerard Davidson, Janet Ward Black’s husband, went to La Ceiba, a large port city and tourist destination on the Honduran Gulf coast. The group of eleven also included Janet Ward’s sister-in-law, Jan Green, Kerri Sigler, attorney and Roland Russoli, friend of Gerard and Janet Ward.
The Greensboro team assisted Habitat Honduras in building a new home for a couple and their children and grandchildren. The family currently lives in a two room home constructed of scrap block, cardboard and tin. Before the team arrived in La Ceiba, the foundation had been poured and materials were waiting for the walls to go up. Along with the family and the local Habitat team, the home team mixed mortar, tied rebar, laid block and back filled the foundation. By the end of the week, the walls for the home were head high. This work was completed in spite of the near 100 degree temperatures and 100% humidity. Just breathing was a challenge, but they persevered and made real progress on the home.
The itinerary wasn’t entirely work though. The group took a short boat trip from La Ceiba to a tiny undeveloped island off the coast to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of a coral reef. Later in the week the brave at heart (or foolish, we aren’t sure) travelled a zip line through the jungle canopy of a nearby park. Those who preferred their feet on terra firma, explored beautiful botanical gardens. Honduras is a country of indescribable beauty and hard working people.
As is usually the case, the people of Honduras and the beautiful terrain of mountains, forests and coastlines themselves made the biggest impression on the group. The people as a whole live in poverty, but are happy and optimistic in an environment that we would find depressing and hopeless. Habitat team members from the U.S. characteristically return home with a new sense of appreciation and enthusiasm for mission work among the poor at home and overseas.
International Cooperating Ministries (ICM) – A Passion for Janet Ward Black
Within the last twelve months, Janet Ward Black has made trips to China and India with International Cooperating Ministries, serving as an ambassador for this Christian non-profit based out of Hampton, Virginia. She has shared her experiences and her excitement for the work done by ICM in these fascinating countries in speeches with groups across North Carolina.
International Cooperating Ministries, or ICM, was founded in 1988 by Dois Rosser and his wife for the purpose of coming along side indigenous pastors with congregations in developing countries whose infant congregations do not have the funds to build a church in which to worship. Since its founding, ICM has built over 3500 churches in 53 countries and currently has approximately 400 churches under construction.
ICM’s mission then has two distinct parts. One is the church building mission and the other is the Mini-Bible College, which is a devotion-based Bible study, from Genesis to Revelation, translated into 26 languages. Both are funded by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. A unique fact about ICM is that 100% of donations to it go directly to support the projects themselves. All administrative costs for the ministry are paid for by the Rosser Family Foundation so that donors can be assured that every dollar they give goes to the projects they are supporting in these developing countries.
The Church Building Program secures building materials for its churches at extraordinarily low prices, using its long experience and expertise in construction and international trade to get the very best value for the church. For example, the building materials for a church with a 200 person congregation cost only $6500 in rural India. Some congregations may want not only a church, but an orphanage and a residence for the pastor. The materials for a church in India that will seat 200 on one floor, with a second floor serving as an orphanage for ten children and a residence for the pastor’s family, costs $18,000. In China, some of the churches serve congregations of 1000 members; the materials for that size church cost about $25,000. The labor and the land for each church is supplied by the congregations themselves-- ICM supplies the building materials and the business know-how to help the church build a long-lasting and functional church for its congregation. Compare these figures to what it would cost to build such buildings in the US!
The Mini-Bible College is a free resource of Bible study in 26 languages, authored by Pastor Dick Woodward. The entire program is a two year long study written in such a way that it is understandable irrespective of background and education or literacy level. What a fantastic resource for any budding congregation whether or not they are affiliated with ICM! The materials in the various translations are available on line and are also broadcast on radio in many countries. The Mini-Bible College is also available on hand-held, solar-powered “Mega Voice” units, similar to Ipods, for rural congregations that might not have access to radio or internet.
For more information about ICM’s mission worldwide or to make a donation toward a church or Bible study, go to www.icm.org or www.minibiblecollege.org . Janet Ward is a frequent speaker to civic and church groups about ICM’s work. To schedule her for a speaking engagement, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toys for Tots a Huge Success
Ward Black Law along with their neighbor, Lambeth-Troxler Funeral and Cremation Service sponsored the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s 2009 Toys for Tots campaign. The was the second year for the two businesses to team up for the toy drive. The event took place in the parking lot of both businesses, beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing until 5 p.m. on December 4. There were give-aways and food available all day to those stopping by to make toy or monetary contributions. In all, nine boxes were filled to overflowing during the kick off. Also appearances were made by Gunny Claus, Greensboro Firefighters and some of our wonderful US Marines.
The event was part of a larger Toys for Tots drive, “Brother Bill’s Toy Hill,” a multi-weekend event promoted by WTQR radio personality Brother Bill. All toys collected at the Ward Black Law/Lambeth-Troxler drop location were taken to Wal-Mart in Kernersville on Saturday, Dec. 12, the culmination of Brother Bill’s Toy Hill.
Janet Ward Black, the attorneys and staff of WBL counted it an honor to participate alongside the Marines to assist with collecting the donations for this event. “Toys for Tots is really a double blessing,” said Janet Ward Black, Greensboro attorney and former president of the North Carolina Bar Association. “Donors are not only reaching out to needy families in our community, but they’re also supporting the men and women in our military. Isn’t that a cool way to celebrate Christmas?”
Toys for Tots hopes to bring smiles to the faces of some 40,000 to 50,000 Triad families this year and WBL was honored to participate in such a worthy project that will make a tremendous impact in the community. (12/04/2009)
Hot Dish and Hope
Ward Black Law volunteers were busy this fall working at the First Presbyterian Church “Hot Dish and Hope” program. This program feeds the homeless and hungry every Tuesday and Thursday evening. The program has been ongoing for many years and has provided thousands of meals to the needy in Greensboro. Volunteers helped do everything from setting tables to serving meals. This program is very dear to Janet Ward’s heart and not only does she volunteer at the meals, she asked the WBL employees to volunteer instead of buying her a Christmas gift. There is great need in our own community and this was one way to serve others and make a difference—one meal at a time. (Fall 2009)
Operation Christmas Child
As their Christmas project, employees of WBL elected, for a second year, to participate in Operation Christmas Child.
By filling shoe boxes with small toys, school supplies, toiletries and other items, WBL employees joined others all over the United States in hopes that their “simple gifts” will help to bring joy and hope to precious children in desperate situations throughout the world. This year more than 7.6 million boys and girls in some 100 nations will be receiving these expressions of love.
During National Collection Week (November 17 – 21) the shoe boxes filled by WBL employees were delivered locally to a drop-off location and sent from there to a regional warehouse location for distribution.
If you would like to know more about this worthwhile project, please visit the Operation Christmas Child website at www.samaritanspurse.org. (2008)
WBL Employees Volunteer for VITA
Ward Black Law staff and attorneys, including Principal, Janet Ward Black, volunteered to help qualified clients with the preparation of their federal taxes. The VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income people with incomes of $40,000 and below and who cannot prepare their own tax returns.
To qualify as a volunteer for this program, each person had to dedicate several hours of pre-work and a day of training before taking an exam to certify them as volunteer tax preparers for this group of clients. Twelve employees took the training to assist Legal Aid of Greensboro and Camille Payton even traveled to Pittsboro one Saturday to help out another Legal Aid office whose demand for preparers exceeded supply.
This program was another way in which Ward Black Law supports assistance to that portion of the population that does not have the resources to take advantage of the government programs in place to help them. Many of the people who came in to receive help in filing their taxes were already clients of Legal Aid and were invited to take part. Legal Aid Services provides free legal assistance in civil matters to eligible low income people with their basic needs.
This year the North Carolina Bar Association through their initiative, 4ALL, has been raising funds and support for Legal Aid in North Carolina through fund raisers and volunteer programs. For more information about the 4ALL initiative go to www.4allnc.ncbar.org/. (2008)
Back to Honduras, Habitat for Humanity 2008
February 2008 once again found Ward Black Law employees leaving their desks and computers behind and traveling to Honduras with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing “simple, decent and affordable” housing for families who never owned a home.
Using their personal time off, Myra Hines, Patricia Cairnes and David Rhodes joined 20 others for the trip to Santa Rosa de Copan. Jan Green returned with them for a second year. While February in North Carolina was still cold and rainy, the group arrived in Honduras to sunny skies and warm tropical temperatures. Honduras is a beautiful country with breathtaking mountains, tropical beaches and vast areas of jungle. The mountains of Copan are famous for fresh bananas, watermelon, and oranges which were daily fare at the work site.
Returning to last year’s site where 18 houses have been completed except for water and electric service, the Ward Black Law group spent the week using pick axes and shovels to dig trenches and run pipe for water and sewer lines. Although the work was very hard, the participants agreed that each member received much more than they gave.
The group returned to Greensboro, tired and sore, but fulfilled and grateful to Ward Black Law for the opportunity to continue serving others in a different capacity.
"FILL THE BUS" A SUCCESS FOR SECOND YEAR
For the second year in a row, the staff at Ward Black Law enthusiastically raised over $500 to purchase school supplies for the students at Southern Elementary School in Guilford County. The law firm held several raffles, which included a day off with pay and a gas gift card. Also, a breakfast was prepared by the staff and area businesses were invited to a takeout meal at a reasonable price.
Three teachers provided wish lists for their classrooms and the staff was able to fulfill those requests. Additional funds were used for purchasing general supplies for the entire school to use.
A small group from Ward Black, led by S. Camille Payton, delivered the supplies to the lucky teachers soon after school began in September. As before, the experience was rewarding to the staff who participated as well as the students who will benefit from the gifts throughout the school year.
Spare Time for Service
Driving nails without breaking a nail: Janet Ward proves that good things start with a strong foundation. That’s how she’s built her career and her law firm. She puts that same motto in motion each year when she leaves Greensboro and travels to third world countries to build houses with Habitat for Humanity and helps Not yet availableprovide medical services through Mercy Mission Teams. In the past nine years she’s done this mission work in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras. She doesn’t just leave the country to serve her fellow man -- Janet Ward has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Volunteer Center, the Women’s Resource Center and Hood Theological Seminary.
An Emphasis on Education
Camille may be a "Rambo" litigator by day, but in her spare time, she’s president of a group that teaches children how to resolve conflict without fighting: Win-Win Resolutions, Inc. The organization uses puppets to illustrate how to work things out without harsh words and hurt feelings. Every year, the group sponsors the Young Peacemaker Awards, which recognizes middle school students from Greensboro and High Point who are non-violent problem-solvers.
Lost in Translation
Carol Towery’s job at Ward Black Law ties her to a desk, where she reviews medical records, requests radiology and pathology, and documents the information for clients with asbestos claims. But when she breaks loose, you will find her in front of a classroom as a teacher. Carol teaches English to children and adults in the People’s Republic of China. While teaching, she also enjoys learning about the people, their customs – even their vast array of costumes. A member of Piedmont International Church, Carol shares the gospel message to those who have a desire to listen and encourages the body of Christ on her mission journeys.
On the Road Again
Sherry Hensley (top) commutes to work more than an hour each day to and from Rockingham County. Nancy Rudd (bottom) drives two hours roundtrip from Rowan County. But for their volunteer work the women travel half the globe. These two members of Janet Ward’s toxic torts team visited Nicaragua with Mercy Mission Teams, a Greensboro group that provides medical and pharmacy aid to the poor. They may have racked up some frequent flyer miles, but to both of them, it was the children’s warm smiles that made it worth the trip.