By Fred Koenig
Marjorie Atkins was a STAR at Smithville United Methodist Church. When she died just days after her husband in 2012, our church felt the loss as would any family. Marjorie and “Junior” Atkins had been members of Smithville UMC as well as the Smithville community for many years. Theirs was a history of work, community involvement and raising their only child, and in keeping with Marjorie’s’ belief as a Christian, always helping others in any way she could.
Although she preferred to remain behind the scenes, Marjorie had an even greater impact through her monetary donations to activities involving children. Whether it was candy for the SUMC Annual Easter Egg Hunt, or items for SUMC Vacation Bible School, her contributions always played an important part in the events’ success.
So it did not surprise anyone when, after her death, a monetary gift from her estate came to the Church, with the stipulation it be used for the children. Thus the STAR program came into being.
STAR is an acronym for Service, Trust, Accept, Respect; the very essence of Marjorie Atkins.
The STAR program so far has helped fund once a week after school snacks and activities for the children who lived in the apartment complexes next to the church. The first group of STAR children has moved from the community, but the program is available whenever the need arises.
The STAR program helped create and sustain a volunteer reading mentoring program at the Smithville Middle School. This program has earned the Excellence Award from the Smithville School Board. It continues in its second year with fourteen people volunteering their time one day a week, sitting with the students as they read aloud, helping with pronunciation or word meanings.
Marjorie would be embarrassed about any acknowledgment of her involvement; however the STAR program continues to impact Smithville UMC and the Smithville community. Service, Trust, Accept, Respect A STAR continues to shine!