Charlotte Oakley: Dr. Martin, how important, or do you think it is important for the local operators, the people on the line in school nutrition, to understand the concept of working collaboratively within their school and being a part of the educational process?
Josephine Martin: The success of any child nutrition program is where the children are served every day. And in order to have that success, preparing and serving healthy meals is only a small part. An important part of that success comes from working with teachers. It comes from working with parents. It is helping teachers and parents to know the value of the school meal to the health and education, and really, the happiness of children. So it is extremely important in whatever we do, whether it is interpreting a federal regulation, a national mandate, or whatever, it is so important for people to understand the meaning of it. It is important for site-based people – I call them site-based people or school-based people or childcare-based people – for them to understand why they are doing things. Why is the foodservice program in the school in the first place? Why is the federal government serving a meal in a childcare facility and family daycare homes? Why are we doing it? It is to help to have a more productive citizenry in the future, to have a better citizenry. And we don’t do it alone. Just handing the food out is not going to do it. What is going to do it is when we see our roles, whether it is in a school or whether it is in childcare, as being part of a bigger movement than we are. We are part of something that is so big. At every level where we work we have to see we need to work with people to get it done. Parents make a decision – every day practically – every week or every month, “Am I going to provide my child with sufficient funds to buy a school meal? Am I going to encourage my child to select a variety of healthy foods from the school meal?” The children are going to make those same decisions every day. The schools may serve the healthiest food, but it’s the parent and it’s the child and it’s the influence of that teacher. Research has shown that next to parents the teacher has the second greatest influence on what children think and what children believe, of any group of people. That is particularly true in the elementary school where they are still forming their beliefs and their value systems. It is absolutely essential for child nutrition personnel to work with parent groups and teacher groups and oftentimes to work with community groups. I remember working with a training program up in South Carolina where we did a training package for child nutrition personnel. It was a self-paced study where the foodservice employees, the foodservice assistants had to take this big, thick manual and work on their own to study the nutrition and why we do what we do in the child nutrition program, because that is the way that the training program started. It really said, “Why am I important?” The whole focus was, “You are important. You may be the most important person that comes into a child’s life that day. You might be the only person who smiles at that child that day – that calls that child by name. But, you are important.” This program was developed for that purpose, and we emphasized in that course the importance of working with your church groups, with your community groups, to explain the value of the school meal program. After we did the test run of the program we had some of the foodservice workers back in to give us some of their experiences. One of them said, “Let’s look at the chapter on calcium.” We are talking about working with foodservice assistants. We are not talking about managers. These are the people who prepare the food every day. I remember about the one person talking about what she got out of the chapter and she said, “Well, I learned I need to drink more milk just like I need to have my children drinking more milk. And I am buying a lot more milk when I go to the grocery store now.” Another one who talked about the chapter on fat said, “Well, I learned about fat and its relation to heart disease, and my preacher has heart trouble. I just told him he needed to cut down on the fat.” So you know, the influence that these wonderful people have when they understand the meaning of what they are doing is so important. So in everything we do it is important to me when we take time to help them understand the “whys” and not just teach them what to do, but why are you doing what you do and who is getting the benefit out of it. So when they come to work every day they are seeing their role as helping children learn. They are not there just to cook, wash dishes, and serve meals. They are there to help children learn.
CO: Wonderful. I think that is marvelous. Several times you mentioned serving healthy school meals. Tell us how the meals may have changed over the years. Haven’t they always been healthy school meals?
JM: School meals have always been based on tested nutritional research. This is part of the National School Lunch Act. And tested nutritional research varies from time to time. We are constantly learning more about nutrition and how to modify the school meal pattern. For example, when the first school meal pattern lunch was established there were three patterns. One was a Type A lunch, one was a Type B lunch and one was a Type C lunch. These were for different purposes, but basically what was in was a Type A lunch. It was very similar in the pattern we have today. It was very similar, but not exactly by any means. It had five different food items. Those five different food items were: meat or meat alternate, bread, fruits and vegetables, butter, and milk. So you had five different food items. Now the unique thing about that meal pattern with five items was that milk had to be whole milk and the schools had to report to the state agency they had purchased enough whole milk, not flavored milk, but whole unflavored milk to serve every child who had purchased a meal that day. The second thing, the meals had to be planned to include two teaspoons of butter or margarine. And then they had fruits and vegetables and they had bread and they had a meat or meat alternate. Now what has changed over the years is that we still have meat or meat alternate, but now we have nutrition standards in addition to the components. We have meat or meat alternate. We have bread, but we are encouraged to serve whole grain or enriched bread always, preferably whole grain several times a week, or preferably every day in some of the newer recommendations. We have fruits and we have the fruit and vegetable item that must be served in two different things. The butter has been totally eliminated from the meal pattern. And now the milk requirement has been modified so that schools may serve whole milk, but they are required to serve lowfat milk every day. Schools are allowed to serve flavored milk. So the pattern has changed over the years although it has always been based on tested nutritional research because we know more about it. The big modification has been the elimination of whole milk, the elimination of butter, and then the other really significant thing is that the meals must meet the nutrition principles of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which means that the meals should not contain over a five-day period more than 30% of the total calories from fat, and not more than 10% of the total calories from saturated fat. We should serve more of the deep green and yellow vegetables and fruits. And we should be serving whole grain or enriched bread, pasta, and cereals. Those changes have occurred in response to what nutrition has learned about the components of food and the relation of food to health.
CO: Dr. Martin, that reminds me. We didn’t mention Offer vs. Serve earlier in some of that landmark legislation. Can we go back and talk about Offer vs. Serve?
JM: We are relating back to the crisis in the mid-70s, the deficit crisis, the Mid-east oil crisis where the nation was at that particular time. The Chicago Tribune did a study in the Chicago school systems, and they called it “The War on Waste.” They found that children were not eating a lot of the food that was served and it was being dumped. As a result of that some members of the Congress decided that we were doing the wrong thing by requiring that every child take one of each of the five food items on the menu, and that we needed to have a modification. This emanated in the House of Representatives. This congressman did this. Theoretically, the idea was to increase the variety of foods that were offered so that children would have a choice of healthy meals every day. So, if the child did not like carrots, there might be sweet potatoes. Or, if the child did not like carrots, there could be broccoli. But the foods would be comparable in food value. The interpretation also provided that if a child accepted three of the five meal components that it would be considered a full meal. So that is Offer vs. Serve in a very simple interpretation. It was originally established for high schools, because that is where the complaints came from. I did not think it was a healthy idea. I approved that we should be offering more choices. Children should have a choice between fruits and vegetables so that if you had spinach and they did not like spinach, that you would have a food of comparable value that they would enjoy eating, and that was good. When Congress decided that three items out of the five could be anything the child chose, some of us from the nutrition point of view felt like we should have milk as one of the basic components. Now milk is the most nearly perfect single food, and if the child did get a half-pint of milk a day that child is getting a lot of nutrients. We proposed milk as one of the three components. When we proposed this to the members of Congress, this person who was proposing this legislation didn’t think much of it. So the next day at the hearing he said it was nothing but a bunch of fuzzy-headed nutritionists who wanted milk as one of the components. So milk did not get in there as a required component. The intent of the legislation was to encourage schools to offer a variety of foods so that children would have a choice. If they didn’t like spinach there would be something comparable to spinach. In some schools it has worked perfectly. As I said, it was a design indicated for high schools. It has now been made available all the way down to the earliest grades. If there were an educational program going along with it, and the schools were offering menus that included choices for children and children were taught how to make healthy choices, given small bite tests to learn how to taste a new food, if we had a nutrition education program going along with it, this would probably be a great idea. But the way that I see it administered in many schools, it has not been something that has really contributed to the well being of the program.
CO: Dr. Martin, you have obviously developed a strong sense of leadership and have been a great mentor to a lot of us. Recap for us your journey toward becoming a leader in child nutrition.
JM: Becoming a leader just happened, really. And yet, I guess it didn’t just happen. I was blessed with a family, and particularly my mother, who encouraged my brother and me to be very active. She was very active in our little community, and she encouraged us to be active. I was blessed with great teachers in my little high school. My graduating class only had 13 people. And because we only had 13 people there were always 13 parts in everything. So you always had a part in everything. We had great teachers and we had debating clubs and drama, and you always had a part in all of these things. Because I love to do things and I love to be out front I would get invited to have a speaking part. And so I think my leadership skills really began through my encouragement at home, through my church activities, and through my school activities. So that is where it all began. And as I entered my career in child nutrition I have already mentioned my mentors that I had in the State Department of Education and with Thelma Flanagan and with other people. One of the mentors that was so meaningful to me was the Executive Director in Georgia of the Future Homemakers of America. She was a beautiful person inside and out, and I learned so much from Jeanette about being gracious and learning to work with other people and the skills of leadership and the skills of delegation that I had seen in other people, but I learned so much from watching Mrs. Barbara and how she worked with those high school girls from the Future Homemakers of America. So I have had some wonderful mentors. Then I was given because of Mrs. Pryor and Mrs. Flanagan, being led into or being pushed into being active in the Association that I started with the small parts. I was always excited about working with people because I am fascinated in working with people. I am fascinated with results. I want something to happen because of what I do. I don’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it. I wanted to be outcome-oriented. And then with Mrs. Flanagan, she was always looking beyond. She was always happy with the results of today, but she wanted to see where we could go in the future. What are the things we need? How do we centralize? How do we get better funding? What kind of reporting do we need? How do we get better training? How do we get better-qualified people? She was always anticipating the future. One of the things that I learned really early on was to ask “Why not? Why can’t we do it?” For example, when I became State Director, we probably didn’t have more than 10 or 15 system-level food service directors. The managers and the principals were really running the programs, along with the superintendent. I knew that Florida had a foodservice director in every county. I wanted to know why we couldn’t have qualified personnel. And I found out that in order to set up a requirement you had to go through a professional practices group to get that particular education group to establish qualifications and a graduate training program for foodservice directors. So in 1967 we went to the professional practice group and asked them if they would establish a certificate in the State Department of Education for foodservice directors, school nutrition directors. Their first reaction was only teachers and principals are certified. And then, all of a sudden, psychologists got certified. Okay, we would fall into the same category as psychologists. We are not facing children every day. We are providing educational service on a districtwide basis. We submitted a criteria working with a committee of that organization. They did approve an establishment of a certificate that the State Department of Education would grant for a foodservice director. That was the first step. It was a volunteer. That is another thing I found out about being a leader. You start out with a pilot program or you start out with something that is volunteer, and it eventually builds up to a requirement or an established standard. So we started out as a volunteer. The University of Georgia established a graduate program in the College of Education so that those people who wanted to get a certificate from the State Department of Education, because we had a number of foodservice directors by that time who were former Home Ec teachers and they wanted to be paid on the teachers’ salary schedule. Part of our setup in those early days was that if you had a certificate in school nutrition supervision you could be paid on the teachers’ salary schedule at the decision of the local people. So it was still a voluntary thing. It was not until 1980, when we had another new superintendant, and, by that time, I had moved out of being the State Director. We got a new superintendant in 1977, and Dr. McDaniel asked me if I would move up in the Department to a division director. Now, I would still have oversight of the school nutrition program, but I would also have statistical services, and I would have textbooks. Of course, when the superintendant asks you to move, you move. Now that was exciting, and I really did not mind leaving because Annette Bomar at that time, Annette Bomar Hopgood now, had come on as our new Equipment Specialist. And I pretty soon learned that Annette Bomar Hopgood had the making of the greatest director. Annette could take it beyond where I could take it. So Annette was appointed as State Child Nutrition Director. At a superintendents’ meeting one of the local superintendents said to me, “I can’t believe you left school nutrition.” And my response was, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.” And it was time for me to walk away. So I did move into a division director’s job with Special Services. And at that time two things happened. One was that I really wanted to see a qualified supervisors’ requirement. I asked Dr. McDaniel, who had really moved me up in the department, if he would ask the state board to set up a policy to require each local district to have a qualified foodservice director. He was wonderful. He was another mentor. I learned a lot from Dr. Mac. He said, “Jo, I don’t really like to impose requirements on these local systems. I’d rather they do it on their own. So what can you do with the money that you have to provide an incentive for the local systems to hire qualified people? So let’s do this on a volunteer basis. Let’s put it on an incentive basis.” And so I went to USDA and told them that I had a plan that I would like to use our federal money in a way that would retain total support of the intent of the money for feeding kids. But I wanted to distribute the money in a different way. So we set up an incentive for local school districts to hire qualified personnel and to provide required training for managers. And that really worked. And for a number of years that worked. We had a number of changes at the higher level of the department over the years and I was gone, and after Dr. Mac was gone. The incentive was gone, but by that time we had enough local districts that had hired qualified people who had foodservice certificates that you didn’t have to have the incentive anymore. Local districts were hiring them and they were being paid on the teachers’ salary schedule and more. So we did get that in there. But it’s knowing how to get people to do things. Dr. Mac said, “Let’s give them something.” And then they will make the decision. Again, it comes back to teaching meaning. And then people will make the right decision when they understand the meaning of it, and they have incentive to do it. So that happened, and then a few years later Dr. Mac passed away very unexpectedly. A new superintendent came in who was a member of his staff. This was 1987. Dr. Rogers called me into his office one day and I thought, “Ooo, he is going to probably say, ‘you know I am the new superintendent and I am going to reorganize the department and you have been here for a while and…'” He said, “You know, I want to ask you if you will consider something. Would you become an Associate State School Superintendent?” My reaction was, “Why me, Warner? Why me? You know, I practically have enough years in now that with my unused leave I could retire.” He said, “Because I want your management experience on my team.” And so I was made Associate State School Superintendent for Special Services. He said, “It means you would be totally absolved of the school nutrition program. You would be responsible for overseeing three state schools for the deaf and the blind. You would be in charge of teacher certification, seeing that all of the teachers in the state were properly certified. You would be responsible for all of the equal opportunity revisions of the state.” It was sort of a conglomerate. And I thought, “That’s a challenge.” And that was fun, you know? So, I got to be an Associate State Superintendent, and it really meant so much to the people in school nutrition. It was just like the time that I got a doctorate. It was not my doctorate. It was their doctorate. I was the first person in school nutrition that had ever had a doctorate. At it was like, “Hey, look! We get doctorates just like teachers and superintendants and principals.” So, in earning this position, they felt that they had been elevated. What I found out by being on the management team as Associate State Superintendent, what I really had was much or more responsibility over child nutrition than I had ever had when I was in a line position. Because, if a decision came up, if a recommendation came up to the state board for something in child nutrition, they looked to me about if this is something we should do or if this is something we should not do. I really became the advisor to the State Superintendent and the management team and the state board and I had the opportunity to work very closely with the State Board of Education on a number of issues. When the child nutrition program took proposals to the State Board for competitive foods and some of the State Board members who were attorneys for soft drink companies and others didn’t want those because it would infringe on their profit making. So, we could take it and we could disagree politely. I remember going to a national meeting of state boards of education in Savannah and I was in charge of that when I was in that position and I made gift baskets for all of the members of the state boards of education. They were really beautiful gift baskets except for this one state board member, I made his basket of junk food (laughs), and Larry – he got the biggest kick out of that. We had a wonderful collegial relationship. That’s what leadership is, being able to disagree politely and still enjoy and appreciate the position that other people have and not turning them off. So that is part of the leadership. Being the Associate Superintendent was a great experience, but it was one that I did have my years into retirement and was ready to leave when I had the opportunity to go to the National Food Service Management Institute and even though I didn’t want to leave home in Georgia and my family permanently, it was something that I cared about. It was an idea that had been born back in 1973. I had worked on the legislation and the advisory committee, and it was something that I really could not say “No” to. So, that was my progression in leadership. All of the time I was in the state department I was moving up in the professional organization until I was Association president. When I was Association president in 1976-1977 the convention was in Hawaii and that was an interesting experience. At that time Honolulu was much less advanced than it is now. There was no hotel that was large enough for a banquet that would seat all of the people who were in Hawaii for the conference, so we had to have two banquets, and I had to be installed two times because I had to be installed for both parts of the banquet. Then the next year we were in Houston. After Honolulu who would want to go to Houston, Texas? We had put together the most wonderful team of people – a lot of them from Texas – to be chairmen of that committee. We wanted to focus on NASA and the space agency, but my theme was “Excellence: The Greatness in You” because I have always felt that if this program was going to survive it was going to depend on what happens there in the schools with those people, those foodservice workers, those three or four or five hundred thousand people serving those kids every day. It’s not going to happen at the state agency. It’s going to happen because somebody cares enough about the food that they serve children and the people that they work with that something will happen. So my theme for that year was “Excellence: The Greatness in You.” And the “You” was really focused on the site-based nutrition people. That year we started an award of excellence for site-based school people. But Louise Sublett, who was a leader in Tennessee and was very focused on site-based personnel died that year, and the Association named the award the Louise Sublett Award of Excellence. The first person to get that award was at the Houston convention and I was privileged to give that award to a wonderful school nutrition manager from Minnesota. But at the same time, another kind of funny thing happened. We were really focusing on the future, and at one of the opening sessions I was dressed in an astronaut’s suit and had on a helmet. I put the helmet on and Hexer Holliday, who was foodservice director in Houston, Texas, at the time was there in his astronaut suit and the chairman of the industry advisory committee – we were all dressed up to go out into space. We had dry ice for the clouds. We were really going out into space. And all of a sudden Hexer looked at me and I had my helmet on backwards. And Hexer said to the audience, “I can see that this flight is in trouble already. The director doesn’t even know which way to put her helmet on.” (laughs)
CO: That’s a great story.
JM: So, there were wonderful experiences through the Association the year that I was president.
CO: Dr. Martin, thank you for sharing your leadership experience with us and your experience as president of the School Nutrition Association. I notice that you have a memento there. Please talk to us about that.
JM: At the close of my year as president of the Association at the last executive board meeting the board presented me with this book called “A Record of Excellence.” The book contains letters from some very special members of Congress with whom I had worked during those years of 1968 through 1975. It also contains a copy of all of the legislation that was worked on during those years. Perhaps they could say it better than I could say it. Senator McGovern said it like this: “Without your effort and wise counsel we could not have improved and expanded the nation’s feeding programs to the point at which they stand today.” And Senator Humphrey made this statement: “As a senator, I have many issues to deal with. I wish I could be as expert on every one of them as I would like to be, but it simply isn’t possible. I depend on dedicated people like yourself to fill in the gaps in my own experience. You have done that for me and I know for many other members of Congress as well.”
So working with members of Congress and getting legislation that helped provide meals to needy children was probably the cornerstone of my career. Because without funding and without provisions whatever we do at the local or state level can’t be done. But the Congress helps to make it get done. It is up to us as leaders of the Association to be committed and to provide the best kind of service to them that we can.
CO: But I also know that there are a lot of people at the local level in the state of Georgia and across the nation who feel exactly the same way that Senator McGovern and Senator Hubert Humphrey felt about your leadership. Let’s talk about the future of child nutrition programs in the United States and maybe even beyond and give us your insight and your vision for those programs in the future.
JM: The future is now. The future is today. It is what we do today that will determine where we go tomorrow. Those decisions made in the school and the school district and the state agency, at the federal level, at the Institute level, determine what the program will be in the future. I can share my thoughts with you, but I know it’s the people who will determine the future – whatever the future holds. We will have hungry children out there. We will have a new generation of children. We will have children who need to be educated. We will have problems with our agricultural community where we will need to grow more healthy food products so that the whole citizenry will have access to healthy foods. If we are going to succeed in the future, and I truly believe that we will, that we will have a comprehensive nutrition education program tied in with a wellness program so that nutrition and physical activity will be seen as one total unit where children are learning to live healthy and productive lives. There is going to be more emphasis on the preventive aspects of healthcare. And certainly the program that we are in, child nutrition, is a program of prevention. It is promoting healthy habits, but it is also preventing some of the diseases and problems that adults of today, and even children of today face. So the future is very bright. There will be changes. But in my opinion, the basic purpose of the program will not change. It is here as a matter of national security. It was a matter of national security with World War II. It was a matter of national security with 9/11. It was a matter of national security with Katrina. We will continue to have those issues where we need to have people who are trained and physically able to take care of the country. So, it is a matter of national security whether we are looking at the big, big picture of the entire nation or if we are looking at individual school communities or more importantly, the individual child. It is a matter of our continuing to keep focused in whatever we do as being aligned with the basic purpose of the national child nutrition program, and that is to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s children, and all that it means. It also means that we need to continue to support nutritious agricultural commodities, because we cannot achieve our goal of serving healthy meals unless we have access to a nutritious and accessible food supply that is being produced. One of the most promising things I think has happened in this decade, it did happen some in the 90s, it is almost like going back to the beginning – we are seeing more and more farm to school programs being organized. And we are seeing more emphasis on families growing their own gardens wherever they have space to do that. Many, many schools across the country are participating in school gardens, and many, many schools across the nation are now buying a lot of produce from the local farmers. So we are going back and focusing on those healthy foods that are grown on our American soil. And we need those healthy foods in order to meet this basic purpose of safeguarding the health and well-being of the nation’s children, because what is good for children is good for our country. And that’s what we are all about. We want to continue to make this nation the best nation that is absolutely possible. It is a great nation, but it is going to take all of us working together, keeping focus on what we are all about in order to have that happen. It can happen and it will happen because it’s in the hands of the people out there who are serving the children in the schools and in the childcare facilities and the Summer Food Service Programs wherever they may be – at the school level, at the district level, at the state level, or at the federal level, and the conglomerate of those wonderful people out there in the community who have the power to influence what we all do. So, in my opinion, that is the future.
CO: Dr. Martin, thank you so much for sharing your story about your leadership and your many wonderful activities in helping to shape the child nutrition programs as we know them today and setting the stage for the child nutrition programs in the future. Thank you so much for your time today.
JM: My pleasure.
Josephine Martin Oral History Update
Jeffrey Boyce: I’m Jeffrey Boyce and it is May 22, 2014. I’m here at the National Food Service Management Institute with Dr. Josephine Martin, who we last spoke with in July of 2008. And today Dr. Martin I would just like you to just catch us up on what you’ve been up to since then.
Josephine Martin: Jeffrey, thank you for this opportunity to bring you up to date. As I mentioned earlier in my oral history I did develop a consulting firm after I left the Institute, called the Josephine Martin Group, Incorporated. And I’ve had an opportunity to work with the South Carolina Department of Education for about six years. Most of the projects had to do with the Team Nutrition projects that they had approved by the Food and Nutrition Service. And I was working with a staff agency member to develop those Team Nutrition projects. I’ve also done some other consulting with state agencies. And we’ve been through a period of change in the environment and in the school nutrition program. And I have done lectures and writings related to strategic change and adapting to change, and continuing to work on development of leadership. I had the privilege of working with Annette Bomar on a specific project for the Institute, which was related to developing leadership traits in state agency personnel. So those are some of the things that I have been doing. I think that pretty much summarizes the kind of work that I have been doing, except for the fact that we did get published the second version of the textbook Managing Child Nutrition Programs: Leadership for Excellence. And that book is being used, not extensively, but where there are courses being taught at the graduate level for child nutrition personnel. I know it has been used in Arkansas. It has been used in Georgia. It has been used in Tennessee, and in various other places where graduate, or even undergraduate courses are taught for school nutrition personnel, and in the process of putting together a team of contributors who will revise and prepare the third edition of Managing Child Nutrition Programs: Leadership for Excellence, so that’s the big work project I am facing when I get around to it. If I don’t get around to it; I can’t quite make up my mind that I want to undertake another revision, but I have a contract for that on my desk right now. So that’s the work thing that I’ve been doing. On the other side I think one of the biggest honors that has come to me was in 2010 I was selected by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award, which is the highest honor that the Academy gives to any member. And that is in recognition of leadership in the total area of child nutrition. And that was an exciting event, because it allowed me to tell the child nutrition story to the 10,000 members of the Academy of Dietetics. And oftentimes when that award is presented the people will get up and say, “And I want to thank Mama, and I want to thank Daddy, and I want to thank my grandparents, and I want to thank so and so and so and so,” but my advisors told me, “Don’t spend time thanking people. This is your opportunity to tell before dietitians of the world about child nutrition, and what it is to develop policy, and what it is that we’re all about,” and so my whole focus was on telling the child nutrition story. That was the most exciting event that I think I have ever, ever been to. And in ending up I ended my presentation before the Academy was that in all of my work, I said, I have kept in mind ‘In as much as you have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me’. The young people who were attending the Academy, I mean my nephew went to that meeting along with some of my really good friends and other members of the family, and they called me The Rock Star, because all of those young university students who were there would just follow me and they would say, “There she is! There she is!” It was the first time I think a lot of university students had ever heard the child nutrition story and the opportunities that are available to be in a helping situation and to have such fun doing it, and that was a great honor in more ways than one. But the main thing was that I had the opportunity to tell the story. But that was real exciting. The other thing that I’ve been involved in since 2008, pretty soon after I came home from the Institute a friend of mine with whom I had worked at the Georgia Department of Ed asked me to join a service organization that she was a member of. Now my last job in the State Department of Education, I was an associate superintendent of the schools and I had oversight of three state schools for the handicapped, the deaf and blind kids. And so this service organization is dedicated to helping deaf and hard of hearing children. And we raise money through yard sales, paper sales, and most any way we can to help support a summer camp for deaf and hard of hearing kids. And that’s a lot of fun. But that didn’t produce much money, so at my Bible study one night we were talking about what do we need to be praying for, and I had shared with my Bible study group that we really were concerned about not being able to help, not being able to provide the kind of support. And that particular Sunday night after the meeting I went to a dinner party at a friend’s house, and this friend happens to be on the board of directors of a charitable organization. And she said, “You know, I have just come back from the board meeting of such and such a foundation and I’ve got this much money to spend and I don’t know where to put it. Does anyone have any place that they could spend some money?” I said, “WHOO! Do we ever.” And so that year we got $10,000.
Jeffrey Boyce: Wow.
Josephine Martin: The next year we got 15,000. The next year we got $35,000. This past year we got another $35,000. And then to cap the stack the president of that foundation gave us a matching grant of another 35,000, and now we are providing scholarships for deaf and hearing impaired children. We provide at least one $5,000 scholarship every year, and we’re working with the Georgia Department of Education that publicize this. Our students are absolutely wonderful. We have one that is finishing his second year at the National Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, and we have another one, this year’s student is going to Vanderbilt and study engineering and neuroscience because he wants to be able to do something to help eliminate some of the developmental disabilities among children. This kid that is going to Vanderbilt is the top student in his class in high school. He is a mentor of other deaf and hard of hearing kids. He is a very active member of his church. He is an Eagle Scout. His ACT was near the top. He is just two points below the maximum. He just blows the top off of everything. And because we did have more money this year, and we had a second runner up that was very, very good, so we gave a second scholarship this year of $1,000 just because he was so good. And so we will continue our scholarship program, and now we are looking for how to spend money to develop some long-range needs of hearing impaired deaf children. So my passion is children, and ‘As much as you do to the least of these’, whether it’s nutrition or their other physical needs, that’s what I’m all about. So it is an exciting life – never quite enough time to get all of the things done, but I appreciate every minute that I spent at the Institute, and this week has been just the frosting on the cake. So thank you for giving me this opportunity to update what I’ve been doing.
Jeffrey Boyce: Well thank you for sharing with us.