I have a passion for this, and people need to be involved. The best way I know to get this done is to register and make your thoughts known in the voting booth.
Mary grew up in St. Matthews, SC and attended SC State University where she received her bachelor and master degrees in education and guidance counseling. She taught life sciences and home economics for many years and then was a full time counselor in Spartanburg, SC from 1985 until 2005 when she retired. Along the way, Mary has participated in too many voter registration campaigns to count. Mary's close friend, Helen Bennett, is also a retired educator and active community volunteer. Helen will join her on the cruise.
Mary has long been frustrated by the low level of voter registration in her county and in her state and decided to do something about it. She has been involved with voter registration efforts going back to her sorority days in college, and in 1980, several years after she received her graduate degree, Mary formed a coalition with numerous other sororities and fraternities to register and urge young people to express their views in the voting booth. She helped set up and staff hundreds of voter registration stations at WalMart, local malls, and other places where people congregate in large numbers. She did this for two decades until 2000 when she got formally involved with the League of Women Voters.
In 2000, Mary joined the League of Women Voters, (LWV) and served as President of the LWM of Spartanburg County for three years starting in 2009. She worked closely with and promoted the 2000 and 2010 census and received several grants to do so. Mary was instrumental in getting many thousands of people registered and ultimately to the polls. Mary and her team would visit high school class rooms, conduct civics classes, and help get youngsters interested not just in the current election but engaged in the process for the rest of their lives.
Says Mary: "I have a passion for what I do. I guess I must since I've been doing it so long. It's easy to complain, but that doesn't change anything. You have to get involved." Mary puts in about 10-15 hours each week doing this work, and she spends as many more thinking about it. She is also active every election day working as a volunteer at polling places and smiling inwardly each time a young voter enters the room to vote for the first time.