Stories of Excellence–Robbie Turner
Robbie Turner is a tireless advocate for her community. She is the founder of a non-profit and a woman who truly exemplifies the spirit of giving thanks and giving back. Her path to award winning community advocate is founded in her time at Mitchell Community College.
Turner grew up in Mooresville and worked for several years as a CNA at Churchill Senior Living Community until an injury shifted her career focus. With the hope of using her education to better the lives of those around her, Turner enrolled at Mitchell and began pursuing a business degree in 2010.
When she first started taking classes at Mitchell, Turner felt a little out of place as a non-traditional and first-generation college student. She worried that she would not be able to retain as much knowledge as her younger counterparts. However, she did not let this fear deter her. “Even in tough times,” she noted, “we need to focus on what we want and where we want to be.” Her professors quickly saw her potential and encouraged her to continue learning as much as possible. Instructor Phil Holleran was one of her biggest advocates and encouraged her to pursue higher level economic and business classes.
Turner truly embraced learning, obtaining two degrees from Mitchell–associate in applied science degrees in business administration (2012) and office administration (2015). During her time at Mitchell, she was honored with the Viola Parker Diversity Award and the James Takes Award. Turner was also a member of the National Honor Society and consistently on the Dean’s List. Her experiences with caring instructors and her comradery with fellow students, in addition to Mitchell’s picturesque campus and supportive atmosphere, made an impact of Turner’s life.
Turner first got the idea to open a nonprofit from a paper she wrote in an English class at Mitchell. This dream came to fruition when Turner and her sister started their own non-profit Community Caring in 2012. Community Caring was originally formed to provide children enriching afterschool activities and monthly events. “We quickly learned that their need was far greater than we had anticipated,” Turner stated. “We began to notice that they had a lack of food, clothes and other necessities that many take for granted.” To fill this need, the Turner and her sister begin seeking help from outside sources. By July 2012, Community Caring became a year-round operation. Community Caring provides a place for children in the Mooresville community to play games, get food and clothing, and have access to tutoring. Over the years they have had Birthday Bashes, Thanksgiving events, Christmas Parties, sponsored trips for families, hosted fundraisers, and ran food and clothing drives among many other endeavors. Community Caring was awarded the Book of Golden Deeds award in 2018 by the Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club for their work with families in the Mooresville community. During the eight years of running their non-profit, they estimated having helped over 800 people.
Giving back to her community also extends to Turner’s collegiate community. She recently participated in the Alumni Speaker series sharing her expertise with current Mitchell students. Turner encourages those who come to her non-profit to obtain higher education because of the impact it has had on her own life. She advocates for Mitchell because of its low cost, friendly atmosphere, and the exhaustive list of faculty, staff and administrators who go above and beyond to help students. Turner encourages students to engage themselves in college life at Mitchel regardless of age or background. “Open yourself up and take in all of it,” she said, “because it will all serve you well as you go through life.”
In the future, Turner hopes to have a community center to expand her outreach to serve all ages from elementary students to seniors. “We have been very blessed doing this work and we have so many nice people who support and encourage us,” she shared. In a season of giving thanks, Turner’s valuable work in her community is indeed inspiring.
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Photo Caption––Robbie Turner and Merline Houston accept the Book of Golden Deeds award and check from Gerald Childress and Kim Saragoni, then president of the Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club. Photo originally featured by the Mooresville Tribune on July, 10, 2018. Original photo courtesy of Cotton Ketchie.