FLORENCE, S.C. — Ann McCants’ passion for serving others was evident last week in the entrance to Briggs Elementary School.
She serves as a volunteer mentor at the school.
In the mentoring program, volunteers come into the school to work one-on-one with students.
Every child needs someone to pay attention and listen to the child’s concerns and problems.
“Some of them need it a lot more than others,” McCants said.
A person can’t even imagine the reward she gets from volunteering, McCants said.
Currently, McCants is working with a “very talented” fourth-grade student through the mentoring program.
The student’s family has moved a lot, causing problems for the student in adjusting to his new circumstances.
Moving can cause a lot of insecurity for children because they’re forced to give up the familiarity they’ve gotten with their circumstances before the move.
“I talk to him about the activities that are available and I talk to him about his interests,” McCants said. “I try to reassure him about his self-concept. He has so much going for him. Any and every way I can to encourage his self-concept.”
Self-concept is the idea of how people sees themselves.
The self-concept is the student’s problem, McCants said. She said the student was overcoming his problems because now he greets her with a smile and tells her he’s glad to see her.
“So, I’m making progress,” McCants said.
McCants has a long history with the school.
Her association with the school began when she and her then-husband moved from Columbia to Florence.
McCants had been a teacher in Columbia and came to the school to enroll her 6-year-old son in first grade.
“I had a first-grader that I came to enroll and I got a job teaching sixth-grade math at that same time,” McCants. “I’ve been around for a while.”
In Columbia, McCants had taught high school juniors and seniors but had to take what was available at the time.
McCants lives nearby and that is a factor in her volunteering at the school. However, she also said she has a close connection with those who have spent time at the school.
It’s nothing, she said, for her to go to the grocery store and see someone that she taught or a teacher she worked with.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people,” McCants said. “It’s appropriate for me to work with the ones I feel comfortable with.”
After a few years of teaching, she moved on to teach at Southside.
McCants spent 34 years in the teaching profession before she retired.
“I enjoyed every level of education,” McCants said.
Ever since she retired, McCants has been volunteering.
She also volunteers at her church, Central United Methodist Church.