There is a scene in the movie, The Freedom Writers, where the hero teacher tells her husband, “I didn’t plan on becoming responsible for these kids!”
He says, “Well, who asked you to- they’re not even your kids?”
She says, “Why do I have to be asked?”
Lyn Fleming is one of those who didn’t wait to be asked! Lyn is known as the selfless woman who “adopted” the children of the North Augusta Gardens. For 20 years, she’s done Camp Gap with these kids… and 7 years ago she started a tutoring program and learning center there.
Lyn is active in her church and on a tennis team, but her biggest impact is on the high risk youngsters who might otherwise slip through the cracks… and that’s why she’s January’s Giving Your Best winner.
For the last seven years, Lyn Fleming has walked children like these from their bus stop, up the hill, and into the tutoring center she runs at their housing complex. It’s an idea she used to discuss on walks with her friend, Beth Manci.
“She said she had always wanted to have a tutoring program, so I’m real good at pushing people from behind and I’m like, ‘You should do that!’ and we started out in the party room at the office of these apartments, and we did that for 2 or 3 years, and then we were able to get this apartment as a learning center after that, and expand the program.”
And expand they did! From initially helping elementary school children with their homework, to branching out and tutoring kids through high school, offering GED programs for parents, summer camps, tennis camps, and scouts. Lyn and her volunteers provide afternoon snacks and all the materials it takes to run the center.
“There are so many projects in elementary school, so they bring their papers down and we work with them on their projects and they’re able to turn in their projects and get the 100’s or 90’s and it really boots their self-esteem.”
She spends 4 afternoons a week at the center- hardly down time for this retired educator!
“But I love it and it’s just a couple of hours in the afternoon so I have my mornings free to do whatever I want to do, so it’s good!”
Friend and volunteer tutor, Lisa Eaves, says Lyn’s motivation comes from the heart.
“Love, love for people- which she has, and love for children. She’s giving people the opportunity to excel and do well in school – she’s just a wonderful role model, and just a mentor for these children.”