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* *A sisterhood of service: The Spruill sisters grew up learning the value of giving back
* *Employee Assistance Program offers expanded legal services

A sisterhood of service:
The Spruill sisters grew up learning the value of giving back


From left, April, Amy and Angela Spruill pose near UNC Hospitals.

April Spruill moved to Durham in the summer of 2006 to work at Carolina soon after she graduated from UNC-Greensboro.

Even before she was settled, she searched for opportunities to serve her new community. She started out as a volunteer at the county library and then found herself involved with Habitat for Humanity and the Kramden Institute, a charitable institute whose mission is to provide used computers to hardworking, less-advantaged students.

April, who works in the medical school as an accounting technician for the Department of Pediatrics, is one of more than 2,500 volunteers who have supported the process of refurbishing the donated computers and awarding them to deserving students designated as “Kramden Scholars.”

April has been at it now for a year, using her Wednesdays after work to take the computers and clean them in preparation for the techies to restore them to optimal operating condition.

All this work goes to support a “MINI Geek-a-Thon,” typically held one Saturday a month, where volunteers like April hand out about 80 refurbished computers.

The smile that lights up the face of a kid who receives a computer, she said, is what keeps her coming back.

Ask April how she got her start in service and she points to Amy, her second oldest sister, who graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 2002 with a degree in public health. It was Amy who first joined the National Service Fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega) and encouraged April to do the same even before she started classes.

While at UNC-G, Amy volunteered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and with Habitat for Humanity, and in her junior and seniors years served as a big sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization.

Amy, who works as a patient business associate at the UNC Comprehensive Transplant Center, taught her kid sister well. Today, April has Amy involved with the Kramden Institute, helping find used computers to be donated. Amy also helps organize the annual picnic that rejoins patients and donors with the transplant team members who cared for them. “It is like a family reunion,” Amy said.

Ask April and Amy how they both wound up working in Chapel Hill and they point to Angela, their big sister who in 2001 graduated from Carolina with a nursing degree and stayed to work at UNC Hospitals. Angela is a nurse in Oncology Services at the new cancer hospital and a graduate student in the School of Nursing working toward her master’s degree as an adult nurse practitioner.

In her spare time, Angela volunteers with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Durham. Her job, she said, is to “beg for money” to help sponsor the annual luncheon held for cancer survivors.

Ask Angela how all three sisters got into the business of wanting to help people – both on the job and off – and she points to their parents.

Their father worked for CSX Corp. in the small town of Hollister in Halifax County. In his spare time he always found time for others. He was part of a gospel-singing group called The Volunteer Male Chorus that performed in nursing homes as well as churches.

This father of four daughters – baby sister Amanda is now attending N.C. State learning to be a veterinarian and volunteers at local vets – also served as a Boy Scout leader.

Their mom was the person who always made room in the car for friends who needed a ride home from some school event. She made it her business to know whenever there were children from the neighborhood or church who needed food or clothing, and she was there to do something about it.

Their parents couldn’t possibly teach them everything, of course, but the women say there was one big lesson their parents taught that will stick with them for the rest of their lives: the immeasurable value of a giving heart.

Employee Assistance Program offers expanded legal services

The University has contracted with the Deer Oaks Employee Assistance Program to provide employees with expanded services. Among the services offered are many legal referral services:

Free access to a legal Web site – This online information allows people to prepare for an initial consultation and get maximum benefit from their time with an attorney. The online legal services include:

* *Library of legal documents – Enables employees to obtain actual legal documents to use in handling legal problems; more than 100 forms and letters are available;

* *Domestic violence and the law – Information that helps people understand what the courts and the law can do realistically to protect them from abuse;

* *Elder care library – Information on legal issues pertaining to elder care including Medicare filings, nursing home liability, living will documents, medical surgeries, gift/estate planning and related issues;

* *Family health legal library – Information on the legal side of health issues including medical documents, emergency care, medical bill disputes/coverage issues, insurance issues and related areas; and

* *Small claims and consumer “self-help” series – Hundreds of pages of detailed small claims and consumer legal assistance.

Consumer Resource Center – People can obtain information and services from a full-service legal and financial center.

Online legal documents – Preparing a legal document online before seeking advice from an attorney could save money in costly legal fees.

Prepare a free simple will – People can complete a questionnaire, which will be reviewed by a local plan attorney. Employees can include additional information with the basic questionnaire so the attorney can make recommendations for other documents that may be helpful. There is typically a four- to six-week turnaround time for completion of wills. 

Review of legal documents – This includes three documents per plan member and up to six pages for each document. 

Dispute resolution letters – This includes up to three separate matters per year at no additional cost as a way to attempt to resolve legal disputes without a lawsuit.

Free initial consultation with a plan attorney – During the initial consultation, 92 percent of Employee Assistance Program participants resolve their legal matters. Employees will be referred to an attorney appropriate to their needs. The free consultation covers up to 30 minutes, either in person or by phone. If a participant elects to retain the plan attorney, he or she will receive a 25 percent discount for the attorney’s hourly fees.

During the next several months, the Office of Human Resources will highlight additional specialized services available from Deer Oaks. To access any of these services, call 877-327-7658.

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Feb. 10 Gazette as PDF

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February 10 issue as a pdf


* *Carolina Counts Web site goes live

* *Faculty and staff survey will help assess workplace

* *University marks successful completion of a decade of bond projects

* *Morehead planetarium shows have gone world class

* *Academic plan to draw on Carolina’s strengths, advantages

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