Photo above: Farrell Wright, of Beaufort, is a student at Winthrop University. He does extensive volunteer work while attending school. Photo provided.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of occasional stories on young people who are making a difference in the community. Send your nominations to email@example.com.
By Michael D. Crump
Time is the most valuable asset known to man. Every individual uses the time they have on what they find worthwhile. Some pour themselves into a job, their children, a hobby or helping others.
For Beaufort High School graduate Farrell Wright, the latter is how he has chosen to spend his time.
Wright moved to Beaufort with his family when he was in the third grade. He and his family moved to the area in order to be closer to relatives.
Even after those family members moved away, Wright and his immediate family chose to stay and call Beaufort home.
Now 20 and a junior at Winthrop University, he is a social work major with a passion for making the lives of others better.
“I honestly do not have any type of motivation as to why I do the volunteer work,” Wrightl said. “I guess you can say I always wanted to give back to the world that has given so much to me.”
The volunteer work he refers to is far beyond what would be expected from a full-time college student.
Wright does extensive work with three Rock Hill organizations: Keystone Substance Abuse, the Adult Enrichment Center and most recently lending a hand with All American Athletes.
All American Athletes is a program put on by First ARP Church in Rock Hill for children with disabilities.
The program allows these children to participate in athletic activities. Their mission statement explains their goal is to “provide a healthy environment for developing both physical and social skills.”
Wright works one-on-one with different children as they go through the various positions and activities involved in the sport they are playing.
He builds personal relationships with these children and helps them come out of the shell that so often accompanies the disabilities they face.
Jamey Dagenhart is the co-director for All American Athletes. He works extensively with the children and their families, as well as those who volunteer with the program.
“The unique thing about All American Athletes is that it gives children … the opportunity to learn and understand the importance of team work and playing together,” Dagenhart said.
“Without folks like Farrell and others from Winthrop University we would be unable to facilitate All American Athletes.”
Wright loves working with the children at All American Athletes.
He does not see the disabilities as a hardship or a barrier, instead as a way to connect with someone who others might be uncomfortable with approaching.
“If I can make one person smile that day I volunteer somewhere, then I am satisfied,” he said.
Wright also spends time at the Adult Enrichment center, which many seniors frequent. This presents a completely different dynamic between Wright and those he is serving.
Some may be satisfied with simply volunteering their time, but not so for Wright. He was determined to get others involved in what he feels so passionately about. In order to meet this end, he decided to pursue a leadership role in his fraternity.
As the Community Service chair for the Winthrop University chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, he organizes the philanthropy for the fraternity.
He also brings along fellow brothers on weekly trips to the Adult Enrichment Center and All American Athletes.
“Farrell demonstrates what it means to put service before self,” said Pi Kappa Phi member Justin McWatters. “He is always willing to lend a hand and help better the community around him.”