Paulette Cunningham was born and raised in Eastover, SC and educated in the Richland School District before going on to earn a BBA from Howard University in Washington, DC. Shortly after the start of her career in a Fortune 500 company and starting her ascent into a world of larger opportunity, Cunningham returned to Eastover in order to give back to the community she had always known was home by sharing her knowledge, talents and skills with the youth of the Lower Richland municipal. During this time she became a highly respected teacher, served as field director for the 2008 Obama campaign and later as project director of afterschool programs where she successfully managed a 20+ member staff and $200K budget. Moving forward, Cunningham desires to see Eastover blossom and is committed to leading the charge to make that happen as Mayor in April 2016.
As a young person, Cunningham remembers vividly being frustrated by the limitations which she faced in the areas of opportunity, finances, and family dysfunction. As opposed to succumbing to the confines of her current situation, Cunningham determined that she would seek success at all costs. After venting frustrations to her father, he spoke words of wisdom that would forever stain her brain and serve as a constant reminder of her purpose. He said:
Remember, the reason you’re going through what you’re going through right now is NOT because other people didn’t go through it and don’t know how hard it is. They just don’t care enough to come back and change it.
Despite how bright the future appeared, she soon realized that success without purpose leaves its victim empty and unfulfilled. Having gone home for Thanksgiving one year, she again felt the pain of her father’s wise counsel and even though her life was on an upward climb, her young family members’ lives were on a slippery slope in a downward spiral. Cunningham realized if she continued on the current path of success void of purpose it would leave her regret of not attending to the needs of her home community in a more personal way.
Realizing the time had come to return home and give back to her community, she cried at the thought of going back to the land of lack, limitation, and deprivation. Yet, Cunningham had determined there was no other way to be fulfilled unless she adopted the challenge to face the trepidation and head home, which was the direction of her purpose. She made up her mind that this was indeed the “appointed” time to return to Eastover. However, it was another year and a half and a visit to a Landmark Education Seminar in California before Cunningham gathered enough courage to rise above her fear and head home.
Upon returning home, she immediately began seeking out ways to help the youth of Lower Richland. While focused on a different method of assistance, Cunningham was encouraged to substitute teach. She fell in love with this hands-on commitment and 15 years later found herself still actively involved in direct connection with the youth in capacities such as teacher, tutor, coach, GED instructor, mentor, and EOP advisory board member.
As the years progressed she added “become the mayor of Eastover” to the bucket list of things she sought to accomplish one day. Not many years later, with the help of a few others, an outline was derived detailing the rudimentary basis of the platform. The time has come for Cunningham to lead Eastover into a brighter future under the banner of, Let’s Blossom Together.
Here are a few of the highlights of the campaign PC4EO in which Cunningham anticipates leading the city of Eastover, SC:
- Beautification: Revitalize the town’s appearance by building/refacing abandoned property/lot clearing, street, and sidewalk repair.
- Automation and Technology: Updated bill payment services (online and at Town Hall) and developing a technology hub for education and training.
- Jobs and Job Readiness Programs: Corporate partnerships with strategic relationships with area companies and employee development to train and prepare a talent pool of qualified workers to satisfy the need of the partnered companies.
Cunningham currently focuses a great deal of time and effort in taking care of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s while running her professional development company, Phenomenal Communications, LLC. As the future mayor of Eastover, she is seeking to utilize her education, experience, and talents to propel the city upward and serve as one who will empower the citizens as the town blossoms into a brighter future. To support the Let’s Blossom Together campaign, Paulette Cunningham’s office can be reached via phone at (803) 875-0173 or email at [email protected] Anyone wishing to render financial assistance to help push the vision for Eastover, South Carolina forward can do so via the PC4EO Go Fund Me campaign.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
PC4EO: Let’s Blossom Together Campaign
Paulette Cunningham: Who Is Paulette?
Go Fund Me: Paulette Cunningham4Eastover Mayor
All Images Courtesy of “Let’s Blossom Together” Campaign