In 1976, Rosa Whitt retired from 34 years of teaching and acquired a full-time, self-employed job helping people through volunteerism. First, she became a member of the Selma Beautification Council in Alabama. She was also essential in the development and planning of the Help Self-Help Others Club of Beloit, which was founded by her good friend Wilma Gilford. This club consisted of a group of ladies that sold homemade baked goods, quilts, aprons and crafts to raise funds to buy and preserve a vacant, historical school building in their community.
Through the initiative and efforts of Rosa, the Self-Help Club spread to incorporate the entire Beloit Community, resulting in the formation of the Beloit Community Association. In the 1970's, the Beloit Community Association began to not only sell homemade products but to recycle as a means of raising money. They were eventually able to complete the goal of the Self-Help Club by purchasing and repairing the former school building. The building is centrally located to the residents of the community and is available for various community functions.
Rosa still holds the position of chairman of projects for this organization and been essential in the Beloit Community Association's continual growth. During the summer months, 40 youth are encouraged and shown how to recycle in the Association's summer projects. Rosa, at age 82, is one of the primary teachers of this project. Last year, the students were able to raise enough money to contribute to the purchase of a new truck for the Beloit Community Association. The truck will be used to transport recyclable materials to the trading post.
Rosa writes a column in the local newspaper every week commending others on their volunteer efforts and encouraging people to get involved. The Beloit Community Association is also funded by donations from individuals in the community and grants from the government and other organizations. The Association only receives $30.00 per ton of paper that they recycle and they sell scraps of iron, aluminum cans and cloth at the fair and flea markets. More than the money, the spirit of the volunteers and the difference they are able to provide to the community and environment, is the award that they obtain from recycling.
The Beloit Community Association is currently working on other projects with Rosa in the lead. They have been involved in People against a Littered State, The Adopt a Mile Program and the Clean City Program. She has also started a program in which a daily meal is provided to seniors in the community.
At 82 years of age, Rosa Whitt continues to have the ingenuity and vigor to inspire others towards following in her footsteps of finding new ways to make a difference.