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Dewitt finds rewards in helping others

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Wednesday's Woman

By Becca Owsley

From the start, Edie Dewitt was focused on being an involved parent at her children’s schools.

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“I really wanted to be involved in my kids’ school in everything from working in the classroom to making sure the playground has mulch,” Dewitt said.

She’s volunteered for nine years at Lincoln Trail Elementary School and has worked with the youth services center at East Hardin Middle School.

After dropping her kids off at school, the 30-year-old goes to work at her mother’s cleaning service, doing the office work and then helping clean.

When she’s done there she heads to the school. She cuts out snowmen, writes checks as treasurer of the PTA and does anything else the teachers or staff need her to do.

She tries to eat lunch with her daughter, Gracie, 9, a few times a week while she’s there. Last week a child dropped a tray in the lunchroom. Dewitt went home with mashed potatoes in her hair.

On Fridays, Dewitt helps with the BackPack Program at Lincoln Trail. The program makes sure children who are in need have food over the weekend.

Because of that, she’s known at school as the food lady.

Others call her Gracie’s mom.

Being treasurer of the PTA keeps her pretty busy but she really enjoys working with the Family Resource Center at Lincoln Trail. She helps with the clothes closet, BackPack Program, cradle school and food pantry.

She spent several days shopping for families at both Lincoln Trail and East Hardin who needed holiday assistance through their family resource centers. Most families are taken care of by the teachers and classrooms but she helps shop for the ones who come in late or might need a few more things on their list. Between the two schools, 89 families were helped.

Dewitt wants to help those in need because she grew up poor and knows first-hand the needs of these families.

Being a mom is the most important thing in her life.

A single mom, she became pregnant at age 16. Her son Jordan, now 14, is a freshman at Central Hardin High School.

“He definitely changed my life,” she said.

She later married and recently divorced.

Her son plays baseball, basketball and football. Dewitt is at every game.

She taught sports to both her kids. While playing football with Jordan she’s broken a finger twice.

“It’s always ‘one more time mom,’” she said.

When she’s not playing sports with her kids she’s perfecting making bracelets and other crafts.

“I can make anything out of duct tape,” she said.

She wants her kids to know she’s there for them and make them feel safe while they are at school. Because high schools do not need as much parent involvement, she said it’s weird for her not to be at Jordan’s school.

Her involvement won her a Bridges over Barriers award given through the Youth Services Coalition of Kentucky. Both resource centers nominated her. She received the award, called the Best Partnership Award, in November.

“Edie is an amazing woman who is a tremendous asset to both the Lincoln Trail Family Resource Center and East Hardin Youth Services Center,” said Janelle Mason of the Lincoln Trail Family Resource Center.

Along with volunteering at the schools, Dewitt serves on the advisory councils for both centers, Mason said.

“It is impossible to list all of the ways that she supports both centers programs and activities,” Mason said. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty for her family, friends, our centers and our schools.”

Mason considers Dewitt an ambassador for families because her work has resulted in more families participating in FRYSC programs.

“She not only reaches out to our families, but also teaches her children the value of volunteering and the importance of compassion for others,” Mason said.

Dewitt encourages other parents to get involved in their children’s schools.

“The school always needs someone to help,” she said.

Parents don’t have to join the PTA but can read in the hallway with kids or cut things out for teachers, she said, adding teachers work long hours and would accept help with anything.

Because she didn’t feel she could fulfill her dreams when she was 16, Dewitt wants her kids to dream big.

“I want them to have no fear and to be who they are and make something of themselves,” she said.

Gracie talks about being a veterinarian and Jordan a professional ball player, although he hasn’t picked which sport yet. She tells them they can do it if they put in the effort.

“But I also want them to be compassionate,” she said.

And she thinks that is a reality because they are always on the lookout at school to see who may be in need.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Getting to know Edie Dewitt:
Favorite movie: “Sweet Home Alabama”
Kids: Jordan, 14, and Gracie, 9.
Favorite book: “Twilight”
Pets: A dog named Bullet, 3 cats and a rat
Favorite team: University of Kentucky basketball
Favorite television show: “CSI”