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October 20, 2014

Twice a cancer survivor, this volunteer finds strength in tutoring students

Vivian Freeman-Young is a returning reading partner at Malcolm C. Hursey Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina, and she is serving her second year as a foster grandparent with the Charleston Area Senior Center. 

Vivian’s face lights up as she talks about reading with students at Hursey Elementary, “I love to see children succeed and I feel good about getting up in the morning and coming [to Reading Partners], spending eight hours each week in the site helping students read.”

Vivian has always loved to read, even as a young child. Born and raised in Charleston County, her favorite childhood book was Jane Eyre. Growing up, Vivian’s father was passionate about education and strongly encouraged her to attend college. She received her bachelor’s degree in social studies from Allen University in 1970.

Vivian&MilaysiaHer passion for books, education, and helping others extends to all those who surround her. Vivian is very active in her community and always encourages others to be their best selves. She volunteers eight hours of her time each week to tutor kids with Reading Partners Charleston. She is a beloved and devoted reading partner to four lucky children who each get to spend 45 minutes reading and working with her twice a week.

“Giving back is important to me, especially since I am twice a cancer survivor,” she explains.

Vivian was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2003. She battled and overcame the disease; but after celebrating her fifth year being cancer free, she learned that the cancer was back. Vivian underwent chemotherapy and surgery, using prayer to get through this tough time. As of January 2014, Vivian is cancer free and she is determined to make a difference in her community.

“I was on disability and I got my health and strength back, so I’m going to do everything I can to help others.”

She is passionate about helping students learn to read and she wants them to be able to experience and enjoy the beautiful journey that reading continues to take her on.

“I really believe that knowledge is power. Knowledge is power and reading is power,” Vivian told Reading Partners staff. “I feel great being able to give back and help these students. We are equipping children with what they need to be knowledgeable and successful. I can’t help but smile along the way.” 

Aside from serving as a reading partner for four students, twice a week, Vivian serves as a minister at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church where she teaches adult Sunday school. She also helps build community parks in Mt. Pleasant with the Four Mile Community Center. Vivian is a family gal too! She loves spending time with her daughter, son, two adopted daughters, and ten grandchildren.

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