Rosetta Scott, a Parkville woman who’s just four years shy of her 100th birthday, has earned statewide recognition for the work she continues to put into improving her community.
The AARP honored Scott Sunday at Park University with the 2013 Missouri Andrus Award for Community Service. And her gesture of acceptance exemplified the spirit that caught the AARP’s attention: Scott is donating the $1,500 cash award to the charity closest to her heart — the Banneker School Foundation.
“Rosetta gives of herself unconditionally. She gives with her heart, her mind, her body and soul,” said Teresa Glynn, president of Platte AARP Chapter #1390, who nominated Scott for the state honor.
Award recipients are older adults with a history of volunteering in their communities.
“This generous act is not surprising,” said Liz Miller, a member of the foundation’s capital campaign committee. “At 96, Mrs. Scott is still going strong, staying well-informed and donating her time and resources not only to the Banneker foundation but also to her church, missionary work, AARP and Platte County.”
Scott is a board member of the Banneker School Foundation, a nonprofit organized to restore the Parkville schoolhouse where black children were educated from 1885 to around 1905. The one-room brick building was saved from demolition in 1988 by Scott’s older sister, Lucille Douglass, who purchased the property and spearheaded efforts to preserve the school until she died in 2004.
“Mrs. Scott then picked up the reins,’’ Miller said.
So far, the foundation has raised about $100,000 toward the $580,000 needed to repair and restore the schoolhouse, as well as to build a living history museum and interpretive center to simulate the classroom conditions in the school.
The museum is important, Scott said, “to let young people of all nationalities know how our poor parents struggled to survive, to make sure we would have good lives.”
Scott has helped by donating land to the foundation and by hosting a $1,000 table at the foundation’s annual fundraiser breakfast.
“My goal for 2014 is two $1,000 tables,” she said.
When she’s not helping with the Banneker School project, Scott is active in the Washington Chapel CME Church in Parkville. She coordinates the church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner that feeds about 60. She also brings candied yams and collects donations at the registration table. Proceeds benefit a district youth group and the church’s benevolence committee.
For her AARP chapter, Scott serves as co-treasurer and “keeps us motivated and informed about health care, Social Security, Medicare and other issues we need to know about,” said Glynn, the chapter president.
Glynn said she has known Scott for 12 years. “It was a joy to nominate her for the Andrus award.”
The award is named for AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, whom Glynn quoted: “‘. . . It is only in the giving of ourselves to others that we truly live.’”
The reception on Sunday was hosted by the Banneker School Foundation and Historic Site. Scott’s chapter of AARP will recognize her at its monthly meeting in November.