Piedmont profile: Diamond Smith – her name says it all
By Shavonne Potts
How long would it take for a person to accumulate 1,484 volunteer hours?
Ask Diamond Smith, an eighth-grader at Southeast Middle School and she’ll tell you six summers, hours of after school time and some holidays thrown in the mix.
Diamond’s mother, Sherry, is the blood services director for the Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross, where much of her volunteer work takes place. During the summer, when Sherry goes to work, Diamond accompanies her.
Diamond has accumulated these hours over the course of five years.
“I like helping out with the canteen. I like seeing the smiles on people’s faces,” she said.
Once people give blood, they get snacks and drinks from the canteen. When Diamond works at the canteen, she’s usually alongside Darthy Murph, another volunteer.
“She helps me when she’s not doing other things,” Murph said.
When Diamond is not stocking the canteen, she’s checking people into the blood drive before they even go inside, she’s making welcome banners for the entrance to the drive or she’s on the telephone calling donors to remind them of the latest blood drive.
“She’s excellent,” Murph said of Diamond. “Not many people her age do that.”
Murph, who has been volunteering for 20 years, called Diamond “a sweetheart.”
Tiffany Jacobs, regional donor recruitment representative, said Diamond basically fills in where she is needed.
“She’s always willing and with some youth, you never know what you are going to get,” Jacobs said.
She said everyone loves having Diamond around.
“She’s dependable, professional and mature. She can deal with any type of person. She’s always polite and that’s something that stands out,” she said.
Diamond began volunteering with a program called Youth-In-Action, which was offered through the Red Cross, when her mother decided she wanted Diamond to do something productive.
“My mom said, ‘I wasn’t going to stay at home and do nothing,’ “she said.
When the other teens left when the program ended, Diamond stayed on as a regular volunteer.
The activity she enjoys the most is making banners and posters. She likes to draw and it allows her to be creative.
She also gets to watch her mom in action.
“I’m definitely proud of her. We adopted her at age 3 and she came into a new family. She’s grown a lot spiritually and physically,” Sherry said.
She said her daughter has fun volunteering.
“She has a heart to help people. She hears us talk about families who have lost things in fires. She sees how blessed she is and how she can help,” Sherry said.
When she’s not volunteering at the Red Cross, she participates in activities at her church, Shady Grove Baptist Church, in Mount Ulla.
Diamond is a member of the usher board, youth choir and a part of the Shirley Williamson Young Singers group.
She also is on her church’s summer softball league. She ran track for the last two years for Southeast Middle.
She’s a sprinter and competes in the 100-meter, 200-meter and the 4-by-1 relay.
Diamond wants to do a lot of things and has already made plans to see those dreams come to fruition. She is a jewelry designer, a beautician, a manicurist, an architect.
Darthy Murph gave her some beads and Diamond strings them and creates her own jewelry. She already has several pieces in her collection. She comes up with the color scheme and design and gets help from Murph to fasten on the clasp.
When a child on her bus came to school with undone hair, Diamond bought some bows and a brush and styled the girl’s hair.
Some of her friends would go to the salon to get their nails done. Diamond took one look and decided she could do that, too.
“I saw the plain nails and decided to do my own designs,” she said.
She’s even created the floor plans to her future home. She makes get well and birthday cards for her family. When her parents celebrated their wedding anniversary, she made them a card.
“We try to teach them that it’s nice to be nice. You don’t do something expecting in return,” said William Smith, Diamond’s dad.
Diamond has an older brother, Chris, 17, who attends West Rowan High School, where he plays football.
Often Diamond will call her parents from school to ask if she can stay longer to help a teacher.
“It’s not easy to get teenagers to do something for nothing,” William said.
That’s not the case with Diamond. She expects nothing in return.
“You can have respect and give it to other people by helping them,” Diamond said.
But what she wants to do most of all is social work.
Since she was adopted, she understands the need for a family.
“When you see the kids’ faces, they deserve to have a home,” Diamond said.
She likes to read mysteries in part, she says, because trying to help someone is like getting to the heart of a mystery.
” … That’s half of what you see in helping people,” Diamond said.
She especially likes to read the Buford High Series. She has watched almost, if not all, of the Tyler Perry movies and TV series, too.