In Our Community: Safe Harbor, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas, and more

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SOCIAL SERVICES
Safe Harbor releases 2017 statistics on domestic violence services 

The National Network to End Domestic Violence released results from its National Census of Domestic Violence Services in its 12th annual Domestic Violence Counts report. For 24 hours, the census surveyed domestic-violence programs across the United States and territories to create a one-day snapshot of the services provided to survivors and their families. Safe Harbor, a local nonprofit organization that provides a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children in Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee counties, participates in the national census each year. In 2017, Safe Harbor sheltered 594 people, answered 1,900 crisis calls, provided 7,024 hours of counseling and case management, assisted 25 families with transitional housing, provided counseling and advocacy for 311 survivors outside the shelter, reached 8,750 students through prevention-education programming, spoke to more than 3,000 community members, gave away $56,459 in clothing to clients and children through the Safe Harbor Resale Shop, and recorded more than 5,000 hours of service by volunteers. Of clients who completed an exit survey at Safe Harbor, 99 percent said they felt safe and learned how to stay safe in the future; 97 percent said they knew more about domestic violence and how to recognize the warning signs of abuse; and 94 percent said they gained more personal power to make decisions in their lives.

RMHC expands house to serve hundreds of families with sick children

Ronald McDonald House of the Carolinas has announced the opening of its newly expanded house. The new house has taken years of planning, fundraising, and construction to finally come to fruition. The 17,500-square-foot expansion is the first in its 29-year history. The expansion connects to the current house at 706 Grove Road, across the street from Greenville Health System’s Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hospital. The house opened in 1989 with 12 guest rooms. As Greenville has grown over the years, the need for more space for families to stay has grown, as well. The house has accommodated close to 400 families each year but has also had to turn away about 250 families because of space limitations. The board of directors initiated the Building Hope capital campaign in 2015 to raise $3.5 million for the expansion. The expansion includes 12 additional guest rooms with private baths (two of which are suites), a new guest reception and check-in area, family gathering spaces, a large kitchen, an elevator, expanded laundry facilities, a conference area, and a large outdoor area with a playground. RMHC has served more than 11,000 families from Upstate South Carolina, across the country, and outside the United States. Last year alone, the house served families from 33 counties in South Carolina, 11 states, and four countries, according to RMHC.

Agencies receive grants to serve immigrants, refugees in South Carolina

Two Upstate organizations have received grants from the Sisters of Charity Foundation to address poverty among local immigrants and refugees. The foundation’s 2018 Immigrant Families Initiative has awarded 13 grants totaling $197,500 to groups that serve South Carolina’s immigrants, who make up almost 5 percent of the state’s population. In the Upstate, the Hispanic Alliance will use its grant money to support the Student DREAMers Alliance Program, an intensive, six-session intervention that selects high-achieving Hispanic youth of mixed immigration status who face barriers in achieving a higher education. The Greenville Tech Foundation has received funding to support the cost of emergency needs for DREAMer youth pursuing post-secondary education and economic mobility. Emergency needs include things like textbooks, tools, child care costs, health-care emergencies, rent, utilities, and transportation costs. Low-income students often drop out of school so they can work more hours and pay these costs. The Sisters of Charity Foundation was established in 1996 and is a ministry of Sisters of Charity Health System, which was founded to address the needs of the poor and underserved in South Carolina.

ARTS
Greenville’s Kindermusik honored for programs targeting children

Kindermusik of Greenville has received a Top Program Award from Kindermusik International Inc., putting it in the top 3 percent of programs worldwide. Kindermusik publishes award-winning, research-based music and movement programs for young children. The material is designed to nurture children’s cognitive, physical, social, emotional, language, and musical skills. Kindermusik of Greenville is based at the South Carolina Children’s Theatre. More than 5,000 licensed educators use the Kindermusik curricula in more than 70 countries, reaching more than 2 million families. Rosalind Cross, teacher for the program, also provides music and movement to medically fragile and special-needs children, as well as training for parents and teachers. Cross has taken the program to countries including Peru, Jordan, and Ethiopia. Her program has recently expanded to offer art exploration and yoga under the umbrella of Village Arts Greenville.

PHILANTHROPY
Blue Ridge Electric presents beneficiaries with Blue Ridge Fest funds 

Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative has presented checks to two Greenville charities from its 21st annual Blue Ridge Fest. The event raised a record-breaking $225,000 for 12 Upstate charities in the cooperative’s four-county service area. The Center for Developmental Services and North Greenville Crisis Ministry each received $17,000 to further their missions in the Upstate. Blue Ridge Fest attracted more than 6,000 people and 400 classic cars from across the Southeast. Since the event’s inception, it has raised almost $2.8 million.

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