Alumni Corner

  Vivian Carter – Volunteer Extraordinaire  

Vivian Carter


Vivian Carter has not slowed down since graduating with an Associate degree in Elementary Education from Essex County College in 1973. The energetic retired teacher is passionate about her commitment to education, and her love of community and the City of Newark that nurtured her.

“Volunteering and giving back to the community is a part of me. I was taught at an early age the importance of giving to others. I remember when I was in the eighth grade I volunteered at a nursing home on 10th Street” in Newark, and I haven’t stopped,” Vivian stated. “It’s in my blood.”

Vivian proudly says that enrolling at Essex County College, after starting out at an out-of-state school, put her on the path to a long and rewarding teaching career in the Newark Public Schools. She was able to start initially working as a teacher assistant in Newark with the credits she had already earned. But she needed a degree to become a teacher.

 “I was 24 when I started at Essex. Here I was, an adult learner and a little apprehensive. But the College was like a big family and the professors heightened my exuberance for learning. ECC rekindled my love for learning and teaching. I’m proud to say I graduated from ECC with Honors,” Vivian stated.

Vivian then went on to Rutgers University-Newark where she majored in Education and Urban Planning. “I wanted to be a city planner and teacher,” she recalled. But fulltime teaching won out.

That began a long and rewarding teaching career in which Vivian taught at a number of Newark schools. She impressed upon her students the importance of giving back to their community. Those lessons have not gone unnoticed by her pupils. “One of my former students was awarded a volunteer medal from Seton Hall University. She mentioned me in her speech. I just felt so truly blessed.” 

Since retiring from teaching in 2009, Vivian dedicates herself to volunteering practically every day.  Although she tries to limit her volunteer hours on Mondays, whenever possible.

The Rev. Ronald Slaughter, pastor at Newark’s St. James AME Church, can count on her for any church program and activity. “I’m a lifelong member of St. James, so I’m there for anything,” Vivian said.

Vivian frequently stops by her ECC alma mater to help with voter registration through her Delta Sigma Theta (North Jersey Alumni Chapter) where she serves on the Social Action and Scholarship committees.

Her affiliations range from membership on the Arts (Newark) High School Alumni Association to numerous college and teacher organizations. She is also Education Chair for the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association, Newark Senior Services, Greenlight Greater Newark, Newark Museum, Newark Library and co-chairs the Friends of Newark Symphony Hall with Essex County College Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Alfred Bundy. “What the Apollo Theater means to Harlem, Newark Symphony Hall means to Newark,” she stated.  

“I can’t imagine my life without volunteering. Clara Dasher (who was a longtime Chair of ECC’s Board of Trustees) was an elementary school teacher, an excellent role model for education and one of my inspirations,” noted Vivian. “It’s my spiritual calling and I can say that I’m fulfilled.”