When Ann Beddingfield arrived as a volunteer to help lead her first Extended Family for Kids (EFK) program in 2014, she was no stranger to the classroom. Ann had previously retired from the Cherokee County School System after 35 ½ years as an educator. She brought years of experience and compassion and shared these gifts with hundreds of Our Kids in Cherokee County. She explained why she chose to volunteer for Extended Family, “I saw what a beneficial program this was for children with an incarcerated family member.”
In 2019, Ann became an employee of Extended Family as an Extended Family for Kids (EFK) Program Leader. From 2019 to 2023, she led EFK groups in Cherokee County Schools, serving more than 100 children with her love and caring for Our Kids. In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, Ann created the first Virtual Extended Family for Kids Programs. She was able to create an online format for EFK to reach students who were in virtual school locally and in other counties, proving that the EFK curriculum is versatile and works in non-traditional settings. In addition to her willingness to adapt EFK for a virtual classroom, Ann also assisted with the development of Extended Family for Kids Programs at the Cherokee County juvenile diversion program, STAR.
Ann has given of herself tirelessly for Extended Family for Kids students at Cherokee County High School, Centre Middle School, Centre Elementary School, Cedar Bluff School, Spring Garden School, Sand Rock School, and Gaylesville School and has brought her sense of humor, love for students, and caring for the community to every EFK lesson she has taught during the past 9 years. Ann described her philosophy about the students she had helped, “No two groups are the same. It’s all about the kids. Each student is special and should never be limited in their life goals.”
On May 3, 2023, after nine years of working with Extended Family, Ann is retiring. She will be spending time with her husband, Kyle, their two daughters, and four granddaughters. But do not be surprised to see Ann still offering her services in our community! She continues to volunteer for the Cherokee County Department of Human Resources, Helping Hands, and First Baptist Church Centre.
Ann is leaving behind a legacy of love for Our Kids and hope for their future. She will continue to be an avid supporter of Extended Family and the important work being done to enrich the lives of children in our community. Ann summed up her experience as an EFK Program Leader, “I hope I made a difference in at least one student’s life. My life has been made richer because of my interaction with the EFK students.”
We wish Ann all the best in this new chapter of her life! She will always be part of our Extended Family!