I’m so grateful for the young women who enthusiastically welcome me and show me that they are ‘strong women.’ I’ve been blessed to have met so many wonderful, eager to learn people. I truly love what I do.” Cherise Petty, Volunteer

For Cherise Petty, volunteering with The Arc is nothing short of a religious calling. She refers to a passage from Luke 12: 42-48 and says she has “been called to research, teach and learn from” her work with The Arc.

A special educator at Atholton High School, she facilitates The Arc’s Women’s Relationship Group, which runs in six-week sessions during the school year. Topics include the difference between boyfriends and friends, surviving a breakup, how to prevent sexual abuse and more.

Petty has been facilitating the group for nine years. Cherise was presented with the Excellence in Community award at the 2015 Celebration of Excellence for her outstanding work in the community.

“I do this because I believe there is a need for this type of education,” she says. “Our young men and women are vulnerable to predators.  They need to understand their bodies, their sexual behavior and their physical, social, and emotional development.”

Petty calls teaching “the most enjoyable and rewarding job in the world.” And she finds her volunteer work with The Arc just as rewarding.