Payson's Woman Of The Year

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Marcy Rogers' dedication and commitment to needy and neglected Rim country children has earned her several nominations as Payson's Woman of the Year.

"When (the children) are hungry, she feeds them. When they are dirty, she bathes and shampoos them. When they need clothes, she clothes them from her community closet," Virginia Fowler wrote in her nomination.

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Four-year-old Lizbeth holds very still while Marcy Rogers administers a washcloth. Some 15 to 25 of Rogers' Payson Community Kids join her for breakfast and church on Sunday mornings.

To better care for the youths, Rogers has founded the Payson Community Kids program that takes in children seeking help.

"She does not go out looking for them," Fowler said. "They learn about her from their friends and come to her looking for love and help which they find in great abundance."

When Rogers recently purchased a home, she chose a house that had ample room to care for the children she mentors.

"She purchased a two-story house in a neighborhood that she might not have chosen for herself," Fowler said. "She lives on the second floor and devotes the first floor to the children's use for classes in arts and crafts, computer training and for a place to do homework undisturbed."

In addition to providing for the children's physical needs, Rogers also supplies the guidance and direction most adolescents desperately seek.

"The children have decided on three streets for the Adopt-A-Street program, do community chores and are very willing workers," Fowler said.

Judy Herbolsheimer said Rogers teaches the children responsibility, manners and cooperation.

In Vanessa Johnson's nomination, she wrote that Rogers "mentors the children by taking them to church, providing them with clothes, school supplies and a safe place to hang out with friends after school."

Caroline Johnson wrote of Rogers, "she teaches them values, good behavior and the value of being loved."

In mid-December, Rogers' program received a huge financial windfall when it acquired a $12,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation, a private foundation established by the founders of "Reader's Digest" magazine. Rogers said she planned to use the money to hire a part-time employee.

"I work full time and now there will be someone with the kids for two hours after school," she said. "That person can also do some running around, keep our files, work on future grants. We've lived on a shoestring when you think about it. We have 50 kids and last year we made $23,000. The Wallace Foundation has given us a chance to expand the activities for the children, especially after school."

If good results are an indication of success, Rogers' program has achieved its goals.

"We have seen children blossom under her care -- emerging from shy, repressed, quiet children to outgoing, friendly, smiling and happy beings," Fowler said. "It has been wonderful to see."

Since the inception of the program, residents have recognized and appreciated what Rogers is doing for the children of Payson.

In the future, Rogers would like to expand Community Kids to include more open hours and she would like to hire another aide.

Currently, her staff includes a part-time employee and two youngsters who originally went to Community Kids seeking help.

"Both have matured under her guidance," Fowler said.

In addition to founding and hosting the Community Kids program, Rogers has made significant civic contributions as a housing coordinator for the town of Payson.

In late November, Rogers visited the Payson home of Jill Morris to help her with a problem she was having with cats.

While visiting with Morris, Rogers told her she might be eligible for a grant from the Payson Community Development Office. The grant would help her put a new roof over her head and that of her 2-year-old daughter, Faith.

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