By Don Lowe
After spending a lot of time away from her birthplace, Pris Jeffers Reed is doing all she can to make the community that is near and dear to her a better place to live.
“I’ve lived away most of my adult life, so now that I’m living in Neosho, it’s great to give time and energy to the place that’s always meant the world to me,” Reed rationalizes. “My parents were wonderful examples of being active parts of our community. Now that I’m back, I love being able to do my part to support Neosho.
“There are so many people who are active supporters of Neosho and it’s great working with others. That produces excitement and generates enthusiasm for more people to get involved.
“It feels good to see things get accomplished for the greater good,” Reed explains. “When something good happens, it’s like a domino effect. Downtown Neosho is a great example of that. It makes one want to do more to help make things better.”
Currently, Reed has a part time job as director of the Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity and she affirms, “I enjoy helping people and we do that with Habitat. We seek out partnerships through volunteers and community groups.
“It’s rewarding to see the community come together for an important cause. People deserve safe, adequate, and affordable housing. Habitat homes meet that need for families. Neosho is an incredibly supportive community of our Habitat program.”
Along with her work for Habitat, Reed serves as Neosho Schools Charitable Foundation, president and she maintains this effort “is right up my alley, given I’ve been a teacher most of my life. I’m confident in my ability to contribute because of my experience.
“I believe in the mission of the Foundation as well as our district. I love being able to lend a hand when needed in an area that can always use support.”
Reed stresses, “The Foundation Board has amazing people willing to put forth the effort to help make our school and community better. It’s been gratifying to see the Board come together to set goals and achieve them through hard work and time.”
The Charitable Foundation has been part of several key initiatives and Reed reminds, “We’ve partnered with the school district to develop the ‘Grow Your Own Teacher’ program. We just hired the first-ever Foundation director. We implemented a new fundraiser that will become an annual event with proceeds benefitting the district.
“We partner with La-Z-Boy to award enhancement grants for district employees. We do quarterly alumnae events, which allow graduates to learn about what is happening in the district. We award scholarships to graduates each year. We honor teachers and staff with a breakfast for American Education Week. And we sponsor the district’s distinguished alum and educator.”
Reed relishes helping and she assures, “Volunteering is a great thing as it offers a person a chance to not only improve something, but it also offers personal growth, too.
“Giving to others is rewarding and spirit-lifting. It offers a person the opportunity to meet others and learn more about something new, often with that being something about one’s self.”
Pris Jeffers Reed Volunteerism Fast Facts
Children: Daughter, Suzanne Reed Phillips (husband, Bryan) & Son, Scott Reed (fiancée, Esther Kim)
Grandchildren: Bryan, 6th grade & Dallas, 4th grade
Hometown: Neosho, MO
High School Alma Mater & Year Graduated: Neosho High School/1972
College Alma Mater & Year Graduated: University of Arkansas/1977
College Degree: Undergraduate/ Home Economics Education (now called Family & Consumer Science; Master’s Degree in Educational Theory & Practice; and Culinary Arts/Pro-Start Certification
Career: Teacher for 30-plus years & currently Director of the Neosho Area Habitat for Humanity
Hobbies: Cooking, reading, volunteering & travel
Various Volunteerism Work: Member of Crowder College Foundation & Neosho Arts Council and PEO. Past member of Neosho Bright Futures Board & Friends of the Library. Writes a cooking column for the Neosho Daily News.
Quotable: Reed says. “I love seeing the process of people coming together with the goal of accomplishing something.”
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