This year, Freedom Readers began a wonderful partnership with the Horry County Pearls, Inc. One initiative was to get our program back into the Conway community and serve scholars throughout that area again. We were so pleased this fall when the Horry County Pearls helped us open a Freedom Readers site at their MIO Center on Tenth Avenue! This group of women has impacted the Conway community through many different outreach efforts and soon they will celebrate 10 years. Below, Dr. Jackie Comeaux, describes the impact their efforts have made:
- In addition to the Freedom Readers K-5th grade reading initiative, our educational programs also include college and career exploration and college admission information via virtual/hybrid workshops or on-site for our area middle and high school students and families. We provide our HS seniors the opportunity to receive 4 scholarships and even have 2 Continuing Education scholarships for individuals in the community who are looking to enhance or extend their learning experience.
- Along with other Conway community organizations, the Foundation collaborated with the Sorority to host a Stay Well Community Health event and Book bag distribution at Smith-Jones Community Park. Over 400 book bags and supplies were distributed and information via a panel forum on community health concerns was given.
- Conway Medical Center supported our Breast Cancer Awareness program by providing free mammograms.
- Free Covid-19 vaccines and boosters were provided during our Stay Well Community Health event with our partners at CareTeam.
- Through our collaborative efforts with our Sorority Chapter, we provided over 1,650 personal care items and clothing to the New Directions Homeless Shelter for Women in Myrtle Beach, with the support of our partners from Hanes Brands.
- We packaged and delivered more than 600 non-perishable food items to the residents in the Loris/Kingston Lakes community.
- 50 special care packages were distributed to the emergency room and ICU staff and caregivers at Loris Hospital.
- We participated with the Soles for Souls shoe drive and this past year provided over 110 shoes to the kids at Myrtle Beach Middle School.
- 133 women/ Horry County residents, participated with the Sorority and Foundation as we hosted “Mind Your Health and Wellness….mind, body, and soul” Women’s Health Fair and Brunch. The event was supported by a grant from the SC Cancer Alliance and information services were provided by Waccamaw Mental Health, AARP, Chops Produce, Oasis Plants, Juice Crush, Patriot Palliative Care and Hospice Services, and Clemson Cooperative Extension from Marion County. A panel discussion with multiple healthcare providers and cancer survivors was an added plus.
Horry County Pearls, Inc. is the affiliated Foundation of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Iota Omega Chapter. We work together to serve the Horry County community and beyond with charitable and educational programs and activities that will enhance and improve their quality of life. More information can be found on our website: https://miocenterhcp.com