By ASHLEY BERKERY
Communities like Homewood thrive when people like Paige Wilcutt live here.
As a part time accountant, spin instructor, school treasurer, room mother, Brownie leader, and neighborhood advocate and watch chairperson, believe it or not, Paige has also recently taken to sewing for her daughter, Ellie, in her spare time.
A University of Alabama graduate, Wilcutt has lived in Homewood since 1993, where she has since met her husband, Mitch, and started her family. She works three days a week at Mountain Brook’s Emmet O’Neal Library where she handles the foundation’s accounting.
Wilcutt is PTO Treasurer at Edgewood Elementary School, where her daughter is in third grade. She was Assistant Treasurer last year, and is busy ensuring all aspects of Edgewood’s finances are on track and beneficial for the students. (At the time of our interview at Hart & Soul, she was even taking receipts from another mom for a DARE ice-cream party).
Wilcutt, along with several coleaders, is due credit for bringing the Girls on the Run program to Homewood. Girls on the Run is a program for third to fifth grade girls that teaches good self-body image, healthy eating habits, and the importance of exercise. She read about it in 2009 and contacted the woman in Virginia who was integral in starting the program, and who ironically ended up moving to Birmingham and starting the program in Mt. Brook and Woodlawn.
“It’s important that these girls learn early on not to compare themselves to unrealistic images in magazines,” Wilcutt said. “Girls on the Run meets two times a week at Homewood Park to practice running, and May 12 they will participate in a 5K at the YMCA downtown with their adult running buddy.”
A leader of Brownie Troop 217, Paige and the other troop moms set yearly, age-appropriate goals for the girls to get involved with their community and leadership projects. Over Halloween and Christmas the girls make goody bags and cards for patients at Children’s Hospital.
“The Children’s Hospital project was actually the girls’ idea, and although they aren’t allowed to visit the children in person because of their age, they were adamant about making gifts and cards for them,” Paige said.
Last year they did get to visit the children of First Light, a local women’s and children’s shelter. “It really touched them,” she said. “Ellie even remembered one girl’s birthday was this past February and sent her a birthday card.”
Already in 2012 the troop has hiked Oak Mountain with Jim Brown from Samford, assisted with Shades Creek clean-up efforts and the Catherine Sims garden, and has been on a canoe trip with the Cahaba River Society.
On a political level, Paige constantly contacts her school board members and city and state representatives to ensure that the school and community are getting what it needs to succeed. She stays in touch with Sergeant Doug Finch about sex offenders who live nearby to ensure the safety of our children, and even spoke with former Alabama Attorney General Troy King about the issue..
“Homewood is such a great place to live and raise a family,” Wilcutt said. “I feel obligated to keep it that way, and although I will do my best to make sure our kids have the best education and way of life possible, I will also strive to teach them that serving others and giving back is a top priority.”