“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
For Sonia Hanson, Branch Manager at the South State Bank Magwood branch in Charleston, Dr. Seuss’ wisdom rings true and is intensely personal. Her father didn’t learn to read until he was in his late 30s.
She recalls that her father was unable to help she and her siblings with school-work when they were growing up, which bothered him immensely.
“Watching my father struggle as an illiterate young man that was working hard to provide for his family had a profound impact on me,” says Hanson. “It really gave me an incredible perspective on the importance of getting a good education, which starts with learning how to read at a young age.”
Her father understood that it would be difficult to learn to read as an adult, but he sought help and overcame this obstacle.
Watching her father struggle has become Hanson’s personal motivation to ensure that she helps get children the resources they need to obtain a good education.
She’s been an active member of Trident United Way for a decade through monetary donations and volunteerism. In recent years, she became the Chair of Trident United Way’s African American Leadership Council (AALC) after serving as the Board’s Vice Chair. This year, the AALC collected more than 1,800 books for its Fourth Annual Book Drive, which were distributed to three elementary schools in the Charleston-area: St. Stephen Elementary School, North Charleston Elementary School and Burns Elementary School.
This Spring, Hanson participated in Trident United Way’s “Over the Edge” event, a fundraiser to help raise money for the Tri-County Reading by Third Project to make sure that children have books, the support system and resources to read by the third grade. Each participant raised $1,000 and climbed down the 9-story Hyatt Hotel in downtown Charleston to demonstrate their support for the cause.
Hanson is also a staunch supporter of breast cancer awareness and research and took the opportunity to show support for one of her team members who is a breast cancer survivor. She showed up to the “Over the Edge” event decked out in pink and scaled the building dressed as a “breast cancer superhero.” The event raised more than $38,000 and was a major success.
During the month of October, South State is holding its third annual United Way campaign and will show its support for breast cancer fighters and survivors during the company’s “Make a Difference Week.”
South State Bank is proud to have team members like Sonia Hanson who are leaders in demonstrating their support for United Way and for their community, as well as for breast cancer awareness.