BY CHRIS TAYLOR, First-Year Communications Intern
When Duke employee Geoffrey Mock first worked a concessions stand at a Durham Bulls game to raise money for his kids’ school, Club Boulevard Elementary, he figured it would be something of a one-time thing.
“I love baseball, so I didn’t really have to think twice about it,” Mock said.
Five years and countless volunteer hours later, Mock is being honored with the 2011 Duke Employee Community Service Award in recognition of his service to Club Boulevard. Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs gives the award annually to a Duke employee who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to service, along with a gift of $200 to the organization with which the employee volunteers.
Mock now oversees the school’s concession fundraising program, which raises $4,000 every year for the Club Boulevard PTA. And his involvement at the school continues to grow.
Mock is active in the Club Boulevard Garden Club, which creates outdoor learning environments for students. He has served as a coach, volunteer and judge for the Odyssey of the Mind program, an educational competition that allows students from different schools to apply their creativity toward challenges from building mechanical devices to interpreting literature. Mock often acts as a chaperone for school field trips, and one year he taught an elective class in which students published their own newspaper, complete with interviews, photos and cartoons.
“If the kids had their way, it would probably be just cartoons,” Mock said. “But they really enjoyed the whole experience. It was even more fun for me – I got to know each of those kids individually.”
Mock’s commitment to service doesn’t end at Club Boulevard. Every second Sunday of the month, Mock coordinates a lunch to serve about 150 residents of Urban Ministries of Durham.
“We buy the food, we cook the food, and we serve the food,” Mock said. “It’s really a great program, and we always need more volunteers and small donations.”
Despite his commitment to service, Mock said he was surprised to learn that he received the 2011 Duke Employee Community Service Award, in part because he works with so many people who also commit so much of their time to service.
“I see a lot of Duke people who are doing wonderful things in the community. When we talk about the university’s contribution to the community, a lot of the most valuable support comes from the people who work here,” Mock said.
Sam Miglarese, Director of Community Engagement in Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, oversees the selection process for the Duke Employee Community Service Award. He said many Duke employees who are dedicated to service were nominated by the local non-profit organizations they support, but Mock stood out.
Those who work with Mock, both at Duke and in the community, say he embodies a spirit of service. Jon Poehlman, of the Club Boulevard PTA, wrote a letter recommending Mock for the award.
“In a world where time is one of our most valuable commodities, Geoffrey’s generosity with his time goes beyond the commitment of the normal parent and rises to the level of a real difference-maker for one school and all the students in it.”