Woman dedicates her life to helping children see their potential

April's Jefferson Award winner is no stranger to the news.

On August 27, 2022, the non-profit owner was caught in the crossfire of bullets as she sat in the office of her facility.

Joyce Maybin Nesmith, while still facing some residual health issue from her head injury, continues to bravely serve her community of families and children.

When Maybin Nesmith first moved to Charleston forty years ago, she struggled with juggling the demands that came with being a single parent.

 "There were times when I could not find people to help take care of my kids while I worked," she recalled.

That didn't stop Maybin Nesmith from doing what she loved to do- volunteering.

Her opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other parents in the same position began in 2004.

It came as a public plea for volunteers by the then Charleston County School District Superintendent.

"I ended up going to the school and I found that they had no real system set up to have volunteers come in," she said.

Her wheels began to turn.

She came up with what she thought could be a solution to the district's lack of direction in its volunteer program.

"I went back home and I sat down and I wrote the 501c3, and I ended up sending it in to the government and they sent it back and said, you have it."

Maybin Nesmith's non-profit "Beyond Our Walls" was born.

"We would go in the neighborhoods and pick up kids from the various neighborhoods and bring them to the church. We just fell in love with working with children and seeing what we could do to influence. We would go show up on Saturdays and sit out on the lawn and read books to them and that type of thing," she said.

A building space was soon located.

Computer stations, books, and resources cover almost every square foot of the facility located on Harvey Avenue in North Charleston.

"This has been a work of the community. It's not about me personally, it's about us collectively. I really believe that we as a community can do a lot to help with our young children," said Maybin Nesmith.

Beyond Our Walls includes joint literacy programs, a summer camp, and a place for in-person learning when schools are not in session.

The non-profit is a manifestation of what she wished her late son, Norman, would have had when he was a child.

She said, "Once a child's spirit is broken at a young age and they don't see a pathway out of it and, and they become an adult who still has not gotten to a point where they can be gainfully employed because they don't have a diploma."

Maybin Nesmith believes that education is the key.

She never thought that she would be doing eighteen years of volunteering.

"But it's been a joy for my life because I just love interacting with young people.

To learn more about Beyond Our Walls, and how you can volunteer or donate, go to

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