By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Beppie Lever

Beppie Lever began tutoring underprivileged children in high school.

Her commitment to the community has never since ceased.

Lever almost a decade ago left her job as director of program management at Sandy Springs-based software company XcelleNet to volunteer full time. In that time she has made significant contributions to local schools and nonprofit groups.

“I just feel called to do it,” said the 16-year resident of Sandy Springs. “It’s really nice to know that you can make a difference.”

The Sandy Springs Society May 19 honored Lever for her volunteer efforts. She was named the 2010 recipient of the Spirit of Sandy Springs award at the nonprofit group’s annual luncheon. The honor is given to those who dedicate themselves to bettering Sandy Springs through community service.

“She’s definitely got a heart of gold,” said society member Jeanette Berger, who nominated Lever for the award. The two met as members of the Spalding Woods Garden Club. “She’s got a lot of energy. Most days you can’t catch her at home.”

After leaving the corporate world, Lever, a mother of two, got involved at Woodland Charter Elementary School where her son Callum went to kindergarten. There she helped establish Partners in Literacy, a program that pairs adult volunteers with students struggling to read. The program continues today.

As her children grew so did Lever’s community involvement. Her son Callum now is 15 years old and attends North Springs Charter High School. Her daughter Alice Ann is 12 years old and goes to Sandy Springs Charter Middle School.

Lever has volunteered at both schools.

As president and co-president of Sandy Springs Charter Middle School PTA, she helped the middle school obtain its charter status. The change allowed the school to have uniforms, involve more parents, expand afterschool programs, offer Latin language classes and boost support for the arts, the society said.

Lever also was instrumental a year ago in starting a foundation for the middle school.

In its first year, the foundation has raised more than $15,000. The money went toward things like starting football and baseball teams as well as obtaining a sound system for musicals. Fulton County doesn’t support such things at the middle school level, Lever said.

“The goal is we want them [students] to get interested in something so they can find their place in high school,” Lever said. “Our hope is to do a softball team next year and cheerleading.”

As the recipient of the Spirit of Sandy Springs award, the society donates $1,000 to a nonprofit organization of Lever’s choosing. She picked the middle school foundation.

At North Springs Charter High School, Lever chaired the Reflections program that gets students involved in the arts. She organized an annual tea before performances of the ballet “Nutcracker” for children to met dancers.

“Exposure to the arts is going to help kids with the basics,” said Lever who has served on the board of Fulton County Supporters of the Gifted as well as the North Fulton Council of PTAs.

Lever also is a Bible study leader and ‘Ark in the Park’ fall fair organizer at her church, Mount Vernon Presbyterian.

It was through her church that Lever became involved with the Community Action Center in Sandy Springs. For nine years she has volunteered weekly at the nonprofit organization. She now works in the center’s thrift store.

“I just love being part of the schools and the community,” Lever said. “It’s really just a joy.”