‘Well those cars never seem to stop coming’

  • Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eileen Keithly/South Strand News Teach My People Summer Campers “work their fingers to the bone” at their summer car wash to support three graduating seniors headed off to college.

Hoping to offset the out-of-pocket expenses for the first three college-bound Teach My People graduates, summer campers were “working their fingers to the bone” washing cars on July 8.

Beaming from ear to ear, Program Director Jessica Grover could not have been more proud of her crew. “These kids are not just washing cars,” she said. “They are learning what it takes to send someone off to college.”

Teach My People (TMP) is a non-profit community outreach program based in Pawley’s Island focused on improving the lives of at-risk children in the community. It provides academic assistance, character development, cultural and spiritual assistance, and physical activities for about 100 Waccamaw School District students.

Toweling off from a walk through the car wash at the TMP building on Waverly Road, Grover pointed out that while participation by the students in TMP activities is not mandatory, more than 30 students showed up to help wash cars and raise money for three of their fellow students.

Grover spoke glowingly about the three young ladies who were the car wash honorees. “These girls have grown up here, and it is so exciting to see everyone working together to get them off to college,” she said. Grover explained that Raven Brooks, Myaisha Wright and Mikayla Knowlin had all received sizeable academic scholarships, but those scholarships are nowhere near enough to cover the incidental costs associated with going away to school.

“We have two girls going to Caflin University, and one young lady will attend Coastal Carolina University …. I can’t tell you how proud we are of all three of them,” Grover said. Claflin University, which Myaisha Wright and Mikayla Knowlin will attend in the fall, is located in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

The university was founded in 1869 and is the oldest historically black college or university in South Carolina. Coastal Carolina University, where Raven Brooks has a scholarship, is a state-supported liberal arts university in Conway, South Carolina.

Haley Strickland, a summer intern at TMP, was directing traffic in the TMP parking lot like she was a seasoned traffic cop. “Ok, let’s move it.” Strickland called out. “You boys start drying that car, and you girls start washing this one.” One at a time, children seemed to come out of the woodwork to begin their assigned tasks. “These are hardworking little ladies and gentleman here,” said Strickland, who is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and a student at East Carolina University.

She moved to Pawleys Island in May to begin her summer internship at TMP. “This is just what I was looking for,” Strickland said. “I am an education major with an elementary education concentration in leading.”

TMP Executive Director Eric Spatz is beyond proud of the young women who make up the first class of graduating seniors at Teach My People.

“Our high school program is designed to prepare our students to graduate from high school, instill a desire for life-long learning, and become successful and contributing members of society,” she said.

Jamming to the music of Michael Jackson and Rose Royce, the campers, staff, and volunteers washed over 30 cars and collected donations that will come in very handy for the three Teach My People graduates headed off to college in the fall.

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