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I am your Colletonian

Editors note:

This is a weekly series in which we will bring you the stories behind the faces that you see every day in our community. Everyone has a story, so look to meet your fellow Colletonians in each week’s issue!

Eartha Cunningham. Photo by Christie Slocum

Eartha Cunningham. Photo by Christie Slocum

If you have been a visitor to the Colleton County Museum in the past year, chances are you may have run into Eartha Cunningham. You may know her best for her friendly smile and willingness to help visitors find their way. Cunningham was born and raised in Walterboro. She graduated from Walterboro High School. Cunningham earned a degree from Clafflin College where she majored in Social Science and minored in Psychology.

It was her road to graduation that made her the woman she is today. Her teenage years were difficult, she says. Cunningham discovered she was pregnant while still in high school and at first tried to hide it from her family. She was afraid she would be seen as a disappointment. When her parents found out, they were very supportive. They encouraged her to go to school. They cared for her baby during the week and she would come home every weekend to be with the baby and her parents. Her parents wanted her to succeed. This is the thought that always rings clear in her mind and this is what she wants for all of the children of Colleton County.

From the moment Cunningham graduated from college, she began helping in the community through different jobs she held. She found work through the Lowcountry Community Action Agency. She worked at a daycare which provided services for migrants. She was involved with a teen pregnancy program for 12 years. Cunningham also worked in an alcohol and drug treatment center. During this time she and her husband Roman were also busy raising their own three children, which at times seemed harder than others. No matter how discouraged Cunningham felt about her own parenting skills, she always resorted back to the love and support she was always offered from her own parents and knew that was the best solution to raising her own.

She was always there for them to love and support them, she says. Her passion for her children led her to become involved in Parents Anonymous where she became a community coordinator. She has also been employed by the Colleton County Department of Recreation, a job she dearly loved. She is still a volunteer at the recreation department to this day.

Currently, Cunningham has a lot of irons in the fire. She is a full time employee of the Colleton County Museum and is also the manager of the summer feeding program, which is open to all children in Colleton County based on the level of reduced and free lunch in our county. During the month of June, 33,756 lunches were served to children in our county. Cunningham also works as an arbitrator for children’s hearings through the solicitors’ office. She is responsible for setting sanctions for troubled children. When I asked Cunningham what she felt is her most important job, she simply replied, “Being a mother and a grandmother.” She says her goal everyday is to give kids a good starting point. She wants to teach kids to love their community and the things in their area.

 

Christie Slocum (589 Posts)