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Nov. 19

Unruly Pooch Inspires Decade of Helping Others

In honor of Family Volunteer Day, Nov. 23, Points of Light and Disney are recognizing families with the Daily Point of Light Award. Meet today's winning family, the Miscoes of Texas, and nomimate someone in your community.

A rowdy dog led the Miscoe family to volunteer service.

It’s a story they like to tell. Ten years ago, a dog in the family’s Georgetown, Texas, neighborhood was making such a nuisance of itself – running around on its own and digging in people’s lawns – that the dog’s owner was eventually fined. As an alternative to paying the fine, he was offered the chance to perform community service at Round Rock Area Serving Center, which includes a food pantry and meal service for seniors.

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From left, Isabel, Lyndsey, Kenton and Alaina Miscoe
stock food pantry shelves.

The neighbor thought the Miscoe kids might enjoy coming along, so he invited them. The three eldest Miscoe children, Kelsey, Kenton and Alaina, took him up on the offer.

The kids loved the experience and kept going back. When their younger siblings Isabel and Lyndsey got older, they volunteered as well. All these years later, the five Miscoe children remain active volunteers at the center and the two thrift stores that help support it. Together, they have logged almost 10,000 volunteer hours.

The Round Rock Area Serving Center, which runs the HandsOn Network affiliate The Volunteer Center, has ongoing drives to collect food for its pantry, which serves more than 20,000 households a year; a fundraising program that enables the pantry to purchase fresh food from a local food bank; a program called HOPE that delivers meals to seniors in need; and the thrift stores. The nonprofit also helps low-income families pay utility bills and runs an annual event to provide coats and other warm clothing to kids.

Over the years, the Miscoe children have volunteered for virtually every activity at the center, from loading trucks to operating cash registers, from delivering meals to seniors to repairing electronic appliances for the thrift store, from raising money to training new volunteers.

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From left, Alaina, Isabel, Lyndsey, Kelsey and Kenton
Miscoe attend a party for volunteers in this 2009 photo.

“Working in the thrift stores is probably my favorite way to volunteer,” says Isabel, 15. “It’s not only fun, but the things we sell are of high quality, so it’s an ingenious way to fund the food pantry.”

The stores are critical. Between January and October of 2012, for example, they raised almost $225,000 of the $850,000 the Serving Center spent on clients during that period.

“Before I volunteered, I had not realized how many people don’t have the simple things in life,” says Isabel. “Watching the success of the Serving Center makes me want to stay involved in community service. I think if anyone has the chance to help in the community, they should run with it.”

Kenton, 20, who is now a student at Harvard, still returns to volunteer at the Serving Center during school breaks.

“I like the hands-on work,” he says. “Loading and unloading the truck is my favorite thing. And I love working with HOPE. I’ve been doing that for 10 years, so some of the seniors I deliver to are now longtime friends.”

Kenton says the Serving Center has turned him into a lifetime volunteer. When he entered Harvard, he immediately started looking for community service opportunities in Cambridge and volunteered for a mentoring program.

Mother Kelly Miscoe is proud that her kids developed their love of volunteerism all on their own.

“They’re a wonderful bunch,” says Kelly. “Long after I’m gone from this earth, they’ll still be volunteering. I’m so happy they found a place where they are needed.”

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