Ona staked residence in Racine for most of her 68 years. When she moved to Mount Pleasant she was grateful for the spacious yards and quiet neighborhoods. A spacious yard is the least of which Ona deserves after years of service to children and her community.
While raising 4 kids, she found the time to help others in need. She started volunteering for a neighborhood endeavor called Back Our Youth (BOY) which aimed to help minority children transition from inner city schools as well as improve their educational experience.
Later she went on to also enlist her time by chipping in for church activities such as Sunday School, Christian Education and Women’s Ministry. This past year, she worked with a program called VITA – Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. This program was developed to aid those in need of assistace when preparing their tax returns.
Ona was named July’s Volunteer of the Month by The Volunteer Center of Racine County for her work with the RSVP Mentoring Program. Ona spends her time with students at West Ridge Elementary who truly benefit from the extra attention and care.
“Now that my family obligations are not so demanding, I want to make a difference in my community with positive contributions,” says Ona. And making a difference is precisely what she is doing.
Ona believes we as a society can improve the lives of children in many areas.
“Work with schools, sports programs, art programs and social service agencies. Doing as much volunteer service as possible can help offset the funding cuts in these crucial areas.”
I asked Ona what her ultimate goal is each day she meets with a student:
“To make her feel that she matters and that I care about what happens to her,” Ona shares, “A mentor can make up for some things that may be missing in a child’s life by validating their existence.”
Aside from many years of donating her time and energy, Ona also worked for WE Energies for nearly 30 years. She officially retired in 2008 after struggling with some medical issues.
Ona likes to garden and is presently attempting to rescue her veggies and flowers from the extreme heat. And she wants to keep her yard pretty as she hopes to host at least one backyard party this summer.
Ona also enjoys spending time with her seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
“I like helping my granddaughters with homework as well as teaching them to cook.”
It is evident that Ona Funderburg has and continues to spend her life guiding children along the path of life – from lessons in the kitchen to emotional support when it is needed the most. She is giving of herself to help ensure the success and happiness of so many others. So, I do hope that Ona is enjoying that big back yard filled with flowers as she is worthy of nothing less.