The Heart of a Giving Volunteer

This month, C’mon honors Merle Payne as an outstanding volunteer that has given more than 1500 volunteer hours to C’mon since starting in October 2012.

Merle has a professional history in education. She began as teacher, a staff developer, and assistant principal for NYC Public Schools. While working in the school system before becoming an assistant principal, she was head of the Arts and Education for NYC PTA. During her time living in New York, Merle also worked as a balloon handler in the Macy’s Day Parade. From 2008 to 2011, she carried the likes of an M&M, Snoopy, and others. She describes the experience as unforgettable.

After retirement, Merle was looking for a way to continue her passion for education. What she found at C’mon was a mission that mirrored the experiences she had from her time in the education system. Not even surgery could keep Merle away! “I had brain surgery on Valentine’s Day in 2013. After three days I was ready to come back to C’mon and I had only been volunteering for a short time,” says Merle.

For 43 years, she has given back and has continued to give, not just at C’mon but also throughout the community. “I saw the actual dream come true at when I started at C’mon,” is what Merle says to describe the beginning of her volunteering journey. The Museum came to life as children began to experience what it had to offer and Merle has played a part in the memories made. C’mon thanks Merle for her unparalleled dedication to the C’mon mission.


L to R: Mary Kate Miller, Merle Payne, Ann Crandall