August 30, 2018
Laura Lee Justice
Laura Lee Justice is passionate about helping children. Not only does she help children thrive in the classroom, but she also is active in her church organization, BEDS Ministry, helping to make sure children sleep more comfortably. She provides love, support, and leads children in the right way to ensure their needs are met.
Laura Lee started teaching first grade in Timmonsville in 1985. After a break to raise her daughters, she returned to teaching as a substitute teacher. In 2000 she was offered the 3K half-day position at All Saints’ School, and as they say, the rest is history. Her passion for teaching is evident based on the special moments she creates in the classroom. Laura Lee shares, “You can’t beat those bright faces and seeing the light bulb come on when they understand something new. Getting multiple hugs a day is a plus too!” One of her favorite teaching activities is during the holiday season. “I love doing the gingerbread man during Christmas time,” says Laura Lee. “Making a gingerbread man the night before, reading the story, and then seeing their faces when they realize the gingerbread man “escaped.” It is so much fun taking them hunting for the gingerbread man around school!”
Today Laura Lee has been able to combine her passion of teaching with her love for dogs and has named her class the “Perky Puppies.” Laura Lee’s newest addition in her life is her dog, Otis. He hasn’t met many students yet but has visited All Saints’ during a teacher workday. “Boy, did he make an impression! At just 10 weeks old, he sat through a staff meeting in the library with no trouble. He laid down and was the best guest, and all of the teachers and administrators love him!”
Laura Lee is also involved in the BEDS Ministry which was started by her husband, Art, and is carried out through her church, Central United Methodist Church. In many cases, children who do not sleep well can experience hardships in the classroom. The ministry partners with Florence School District 1 and 3 to identify children who do not have a bed of their own. Children are chosen to receive easy-assemble lumber pieces that create a bed frame. Church and community members volunteer two Saturdays a year for “Build a Bed Day.” Then many members also “adopt” a child to help purchase bedding, pajamas, and stuffed animals based on an information sheet showing the child’s interests. Twice a year, in May and December, the bed packages are distributed to the children.
Laura Lee helps out by taking pictures at “Build a Bed Day” events and reaches out to community members about adopting children. She has also inspired All Saints’ students to join her in this ministry by sponsoring the bed construction and bedding for children in need. To date, the BEDS ministry has distributed 182 beds and has been successful due to its dedicated volunteers and church members. For more information on how to get involved with the BEDS Ministry, contact the CUMC office.