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Reading Buddies: About More than Just Books

Reading Buddies: About More than Just Books

Reading Buddies: About More than Just Books

Brett Gandy, a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Hartsville, South Carolina, has been serving teachers and students through Heart4Schools, an SCBaptist ministry, since 2016. The church started Reading Buddies programs in two schools, and the initiative was an instant hit. “Just to see a smile on the kid’s face, it just melts your heart,” Gandy said.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their efforts to volunteer in schools, and schools merging further complicated the matter. Gandy said the difficulties and roadblocks were disheartening, but through prayer and trust in God, those roadblocks started to crumble. Finally, in the past school year, they were able to return to schools to volunteer.

One day, Gandy’s wife spoke to a principal who needed help in a completely different city, and they decided to lend a hand. “Well, one thing led to another, and in November this past year, we started Reading Buddies in that school,” Gandy said. The new school was very welcoming, and they appreciated the volunteers. The church even supported the school through the loss of a beloved custodian who had passed away during the Christmas holidays. “The memorial touched their hearts, and they all had tears in their eyes,” Gandy said.

In January, the school where they started volunteering in 2016 finally opened its doors to them again, and they were able to return as volunteers. Now, they are serving in two different schools, and they are enjoying every minute of it. “These kids need help in reading. There’s no question about this. When they can’t even read sight words, that’s where we step in and try to help them in whatever way we can mentor whatever it is we can do for them,” Gandy said.

Gandy’s message to those facing struggles is to not give up. “God’s there, God’s his time. If we’ll be ready for us to move,” he said. Gandy’s experience with Heart4Schools is a testament to the power of prayer and the importance of perseverance.

Our desire is to connect every school in South Carolina with a church that loves and serves them well. To learn more, visit


  • Angela McNeal

    Angela McNeal

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