Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

May 8, 2012

Volunteering gives Smith skills, confidence

TAHLEQUAH — Volunteering has taught Tonya Smith to use power tools and given her confidence.

A Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity volunteer for about four years, she’s helping construct the 19th home for the organization and hopes to one day use the skills she’s honing to build her own home.

This week celebrates Habitat for Humanity’s fifth annual national “Women Build” week, which helps empower women to learn skills to be self-sufficient as they complete a home for a family.

When her two daughters were younger, Smith and her husband, Robert, spent their volunteer time aiding Girl Scouts.

“It was fun to do stuff with my kids, fun stuff getting them involved in the community,” she said.

After they grew up, she missed having something to do that made a difference. Seeing the announcement in the newspaper about the Habitat’s tool workshop, Smith knew she wanted to get involved.

“I’ve always done community service through Girl Scouts and I like being able to help others,” Smith said.

Serving on the TAHFH board as secretary, Smith takes minutes and sends financial reports to Habitat International. A future goal is to go overseas and build a Habitat house.

Smith also enjoys coordinating fundraising events like next weekend’s Zumbathon, a first-time event for Tahlequah. In addition to volunteering, Smith is a Zumba instructor.

The Zumbathon will be Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to noon, at the NSU Fitness Center. Registration is onsite with a $5 minimum donation.

“All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity,” she said. “All you need for the Latin dance exercise event are a bottle of water, a towel and lots of energy.”

Smith volunteers to get out of the house and meet new people. Habitat provides her with activities and new friends.

“It’s rewarding to see the new homeowner have a good place to live that’s not run down,” she said. “They made me feel very welcome and put me to work right away,” Smith said.

Learning skills also appealed to Smith.

“I like learning the new skills for building and using tools, and hopefully, one day I’ll be able to build my own house,” she said. “Power tools are fun, and I get to do stuff without my husband’s help.”

And she has a lot more confidence.

“They trust me to do more without supervision, and I can help new people. It makes me feel good to share knowledge and skills,” she said.

Habitat is always looking for volunteers and always need donations.

“People don’t have to have skills to help,” she said. “They just have to have a good attitude and be willing to work.”

One of her friends who came to visit a build site now serves on the board.

“We just opened up a resale store and we can take donations of household items, except clothing. We have windows, doors, cabinets, that kind of thing,” she said.

While she calls Tahlequah home, the Wagoner Teacher of the Year has taught middle school native culture for 10 years.

“The kids make me want to teach, and there’s never a dull moment,” she said.

Beadwork is her favorite part of native arts and crafts, especially making jewelry, which she likes to give as gifts.

After school, she works with the 21st Century program, which also offers a summer event.She also works with the Johnson O’Malley Indian Education program.

Next year, she’s hoping to start an archery program.

“I’m always looking for ways to incorporate activities in the native culture for our students,” Smith said. “Like bow shooting. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife has free classes for teachers and competition for students.”

As for Habitat for Humanity, it’s now a family project.

Her daughter Marisa, 23, also volunteers with Habitat.

“We’ve always done stuff together. I taught my daughters to give back to the community,” she said. “My dad taught me if you see something that needs to be done just do it.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • rf-Quilt-1.jpg UKB quilting class touts tribal tradition

    Recently, several women and one man gathered to learn or refresh their sewing skills. They created quilt pieces at the United Keetoowah Band Wellness Center, with instructors Cindy Hair and Ernestine Berry, director of the John Hair Cultural Center and Museum.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Faith-7-29.jpg New opportunity opens door for local pastor

    A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
    The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
    The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Stocks