In the past 13 years, Dorothy Brockman has contributed more than 4,000 volunteer hours to help some of Greenville’s neediest children, teens, adults, and seniors lead healthier, safer, and more productive lives. In any given week, she may be involved in delivering food to the homebound, implementing a program to develop self-esteem in teenage girls, taking busloads of children to a concert or circus, or searching for funding for a floundering program. Her tireless efforts would be impressive for a woman half her age; and, at the age of 74+, “Ms. B” has set a new standard as an outstanding volunteer.
When Brockman retired from the City of Greenville Recreation Department in 1989, her position as a program specialist was not refilled. Brockman observed that as government funding for projects decreased the needs of inner-city residents remained high. So, she used the knowledge and contact she had gained as a city employee to serve the people who needed her most.
In looking for ways to improve the lives of inner-city residents, Brockman has never limited herself to one age or activity. Her skills lie not only in the creation of needed programs, but also in their continued success. The programs that she has initiated and continues to support illustrate the variety and scope of her volunteer involvement. For example, she helped erect small recreation areas enjoyed by thousands of children who live in inner-city neighborhoods. She also initiated the Senior Citizen’s Jamboree, now in its 47th year, a two-day event that draws more than 700 senior citizens for fitness and fellowship.
Brockman takes an active role in the First Summer Food Program, which is part of an ongoing partnership with Furman University and unites Furman students with inner-city children in an effort to broaden their experiences. She also spearheaded the creation of the Happy Heart Community Center, the first community center in the area for African-Americans that local residents of the Washington Heights Community came together to build. Along with this, Brockman initiated the Ivy Garden Club and is responsible for the community’s beautification process.
Brockman has long supported the Miss Parks & Recreation Pageant, one of the best nonprofessional pageants in the state and second only to the Miss South Carolina pageant. With an emphasis on self-esteem and education, many pageant participants have been awarded scholarships and go on to win high school and college titles. Several pageant participants have also pursued college and successful careers after finding a path from poverty through self-esteem.
Dorothy Brockman never sees a challenge, only an opportunity. When she delivers flowers to a shut-in person and notices that they have nutritional needs, she connects them with Meals on Wheels. When she sees children who are struggling in school, she gets them involved in a tutoring program at the community center. These acts not only define her character, but also set her apart as one who takes action to benefit her neighbors.