Morris brings compassion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – After Sharone LeBoeuf delivered her baby in February, she was unable to continue volunteering at LaPlace Elementary School. The dedicated mom had been helping out in the first-grade classroom that her daughter, Domenique, attended.

Although her mom can’t be there for Domenique and her classmates this year, her grandmother can.

Emma Morris has been a familiar face at the school since she began volunteering last August, and the first-graders are very excited about having her around.

Haley Ross, 7, is just learning to read and Morris is there to lend a caring ear. “She helps me with my papers and when I’m reading books,” said Haley. ‘It’s nice that she’s here.”

Volunteer duties include listening to the youngsters as they develop reading skills, assisting them as they work on the computer, and giving a few words of encouragement when needed.

Morris has become very valuable to the classroom, according to teacher Shayla Weier. “Emma is a very positive role model for all the children,” she said. “She gives attention to those who need it.”

Teacher Amy Gros agrees.

“She is very intuitive, picking up on the childrens’ moods, and knowing who needs help. She’s always there to give a kind word,” said Gros.

Morris believes that when parents have high expectations for their children, they need to observe their academic training. “They want to see you around,” she said.

When her daughters, Sheray, Sharone, and Niakita were young, Morris was involved with volunteer activities for most of their school years. She began with the Head Start Program and continued until junior high school. “After that time, they didn’t seem to need me as much,” she said, “I was still aware of what was going on at the schools, but that was the age when they wanted to become independent.”

The exception to the volunteer work stoppage at the junior high level was a period of time that Morris worked at St. Mary’s Academy in New Orleans when daughter Sharone attended.

“All parents had to volunteer 50 hours per school year,” she said. “We assisted with paperwork in the office, helped out in the library and worked with fund-raising activities,” said the Reserve resident.

In addition to her work at the school, Morris volunteers at Zion Travelers Baptist Church in Reserve. She also plans quality time with her husband, Horace; her daughters; and grandchildren Domenique, Demetrick and Corey.

The biggest benefit the energetic grandmother receives is the knowledge that she has a positive effect on those she comes in contact with. “Everyday I ask the Lord to let me help somebody as I pass along my way,” she said.

Granddaughter Domenique is pleased that her grandmother is such a big help to her teachers and her classmates. “It’s great that she’s here,” she said. She listens to their reading and says nice things to them.”