New Canopy Board Members Round Out Their First Year of Service

This summer, four members of Canopy’s Board of Directors will be completing their first year of service: John Arledge, Larry Favreau, Monica Harrigill and Charlotte Seals.

John Arledge is Vice President of Public Affairs for Jackson-based Entergy Mississippi and brings to the board a wealth of public relations and communication experience. In his first year, John played an active role in the board’s Professional Practices Committee and Public Relations Committees.

Larry Favreau served as Chief Executive Officer of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company before his retirement in 2016. He brings with him more than four decades of experience that include overseeing operations in accounting, actuarial, investment, and information systems. Larry lent his experience through his participation in the Audit and Corporate Compliance and Professional Practices Committees.

Canopy Board

Pictured from L to R: Current Board President Jackie Meck, John Arledge, John Favreau, Charlotte Seals, President-Elect Dorian Turner, Canopy CEO John Damon

Monica Harrigill has the heart of an entrepreneur as partner and managing member of Mississippi-based Sunray Companies which owns and operates a number of hospitality and leisure businesses throughout the southeast. With more than two decades of management and operations experience under her belt, Monica extended her expertise to the board’s Personnel and Professional Practices Committees.

Charlotte Seals is an education veteran with 30 years of service to Mississippi public schools. She serves as Associate Superintendent and formerly served as both a teacher and principal in the Madison County School District. Charlotte is equally passionate about volunteerism and public service which led her to the helm of the Junior League of Jackson and has placed her on the service of numerous auxiliaries and advisory boards. Her expertise and experience made her a perfect fit to serve on the board’s Public Relations and School Board Committees.

Board Presidents

Pictured from L to R: Current Board President Jackie Meck, President-Elect Dorian Turner, Immediate Past President Alfredo Donalson

“For over a century, Canopy has provided innovative solutions to the most vexing problems facing Mississippi’s children. Leading this effort has been our Board of Directors,” said John D. Damon, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer for Canopy Children’s Solutions. “I am deeply humbled and honored to have this unparalleled collection of community leaders committed to see every child become a success story!”

Every Child Needs a Who

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”—Dr. Seuss

If Dr. Seuss has taught us anything, it’s that it takes a WHO, not a what, to transform the world around us. Canopy Children’s Solutions is grateful for the many “whos” who take time out of their day to work with our children. Whether it is offering a hug and kind word, playing a game, tutoring, leading a Bible study or reading a book to a classroom of children, each of these opportunities has a great impact on the children Canopy serves.

Margaret Whiticker, accountant at the Lakeland administrative office, began volunteering her time once a week to read to the children in Ms. White’s class at the CARES School Jackson. Since her job at Canopy doesn’t include “hands-on” involvement with the kids, she decided volunteering would help her to further connect with the mission of the organization.

Each Friday, Margaret reads a new book to some of the elementary-aged children matching it to holidays, events, weather, or maybe something the children have been discussing during the week’s lessons. During March, Margaret wanted to help the children celebrate Read Across America Week. The date of March 2, coincides with the birthdate of Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, whose tongue-twisty tales capture the hearts and minds of children. This was a prime opportunity for Margaret to try out her new book, Dr. Seuss’ On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects.

reading to kids

In festive fashion, Margaret donned the iconic red and white hat from The Cat in the Hat. As she proceeded through the book, the kids asked a lot of questions and carefully studied each page. Some of the children sat quietly, as others worked hard to contain their excitement. The class discussed the different bugs, focusing on those native to Mississippi. Each had his/her own story about bees, mosquitos and flies.

At the end of the book, Margaret pulled out what she calls her “silly book of jokes.” She visits each child at his or her desk and helps them read aloud their silly joke for the class.


“The joke book is one of their favorite things when I come,” said Margaret. “Well, that and the little treats I bring them.”

For our children at Canopy, interaction with volunteers helps to reinforce their sense of self-worth. A face that “doesn’t have to be there” reminds the kids they are loved, they are valued and the kind words and actions are genuine and not of necessity. Knowing that someone willingly chose to give up their time to spend with them is a truly humbling and healing experience for our kids. Our Canopy volunteers, from inside the organization as well as in the community, are vital to helping our children thrive.

Thank you to Margaret and all the WHOs who help Canopy transform lives!

To become a Who for Canopy, visit our Volunteers page, here.