Board Member Spotlight: Pat Lawter

Pat Lawter

Pat grew up on a tobacco farm outside a small town, Four Oaks NC. The family ran a BBQ restaurant in NC for over 30 years. After graduating from Four Oaks High School, she attended NC State University to study Math Education.

After marrying, she moved to Camden, SC where both her daughters, Tammy and Lisa, were born. After a two-year work assignment in Delaware, the family moved to Lugoff. Her first job in the area was in advertising at the Camden Chronicle. In October 1973 she went to work at the Department of Social Services (DSS) as an eligibility worker. There she had the opportunity of returning to school to earn her degree in social work from Winthrop University. Over a 29-year career, she was able to work in eligibility, human services and information technology.

Following retirement from DSS, she has worked at the RC Probate Court /Mental Health Court and Columbia Classical Ballet. She has been a Rotarian for 25+ years. Volunteering at her church, Children’s Trust of SC, Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI), and Rotary has filled her retirement years.

As a long-standing member of CCFI, she is currently serving as Treasurer and has also served as President. The opportunity to travel as a young adult was not available. Once she began traveling, she loved visiting new places and meeting people.

Working with the Columbia Classical Ballet allowed her to meet and interact with international ballet dancers. The chance to meet international students through events and as they first arrived in Columbia was one reason she became interested in CCFI.

The opportunity to become involved with the International Visitor Program has given her the opportunity to interact with and learn about many people and cultures. It has increased her awareness of people she meets when traveling.

Facebook has allowed her to keep up with visitors and discover how CCFI has affected their lives when they return home. One young man from Ukraine spoke very little English when he was in a CCFI program. After returning to Ukraine, he enrolled in English classes.

Family is the glue that keeps her together: daughters Tammy, Lisa / Todd; grandchildren Andrew / Stephanie, Michael / Abby, and Jaxsen.

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