Charles McLean is helping a group of youngsters learn how to say "no" to tobacco. McLean has been a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in Biloxi for five years. McLean says "I usually help out with teaching the classes, do some chaperoning when we do events around the community and we do cooking classes with the children".
McLean is stationed at Keesler Air Force Base. He says he enjoys spending his free time, making a difference in children's lives. McLean says "It's very helpful, and it really helps you as an individual, because you have a chance to give back to the community that you're in".
Boys and Girls Clubs leaders say they can't make it without volunteers and role models like McLean. Director Lee Kerley says "Financially, we need them. They contribute their knowledge. If I have volunteers, I do not need as many paid staff people. We really live on volunteers".
Wal-Mart employees also volunteer in their community and they nominate non-profit groups who need grant money. On Friday, the Wal-Mart Super center in D'Iberville handed out nearly $5,000 in checks to Coast schools, a fire department and other agencies.
Co-manager Sean Stiglett says "We're here for community service. That's why we're here in this area. Community service is very important to us". Cedar Lake Christian Academy was one of the schools that received a check from Wal-Mart. The school got $500 because a teacher there, Pam Holliday, was named the store's Teacher of the Year.