Sisters of Charity Foundation awards $95,000 to five organizations

COLUMBIA, S.C.—The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is pleased to announce the 2018 Collaboration for Ministry Initiative (CMI) grants totaling $95,000 to five organizations. This initiative was established in 2003 with the intention to engage, support, and sustain the ministries of Catholic women religious in South Carolina. These ministries have been responsible for establishing schools, hospitals, and social service programs that have served hundreds of thousands of people over the years.

These grants are designed to strengthen ministries of women religious that provide services to underserved individuals and families living in poverty throughout South Carolina. The application process is open to any ministry that has a Catholic woman religious serving in a leadership role and grants are awarded once each year.

The following ministries have been awarded 2018 Collaboration for Ministry Initiative grants:

Felician Center — Funding will support succession planning from women religious leadership to lay leadership to ensure the viability of the Felician Center into the future. Starting July 2018, the center will employ a part-time assistant director. This person is an educator and former school administrator. Her duties will include assisting in the development of programs and activities of the Learning Center for children and their families. These programs include life skills, health issues, computer, cultural and recreational opportunities. (Williamsburg County)

Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services, Inc. — Funding will support the Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services mission of encouraging and supporting self-sufficiency. An average of 91% of those served have a household income below $25,000 year in a state where the median income is more than $56,000. The populations served face many barriers related to housing, food, economic opportunities, financial literacy, health and wellness, education, and more. These barriers are addressed through comprehensive case management, goal setting, and encouraging clients to take steps toward self-sufficiency. Regardless of what they’re facing, we walk alongside those in need to help them reach their goals and thrive.

Due to strong partnerships in the community, a solid history and reputation of service for nearly 29 years, and a dedicated and engaged of professional staff with in-depth knowledge of poverty-related issues, evidence-based practices and success strategies, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services are in a unique position to be able to craft programs and services to meet the needs of community members. (Charleston County)

St. Cyprian Outreach Center — Funding will support the The West End – Yes We Can! Project, which is a comprehensive self-help, life skills program for those wishing to make positive changes in their own lives and in the neighborhood and community where they live. Using a program called, Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World, participants are introduced to an accurate perception of how poverty impacts individuals and communities. With this understanding of the economic realities of their own lives as a starting point, participants can move out of merely concrete thinking, the “Tyranny of the moment”, and embrace abstract thinking and planning. Through a series of 10 modules or concepts and three hour-long sessions each week for 20 weeks, Getting Ahead participants gradually begin to evaluate themselves and their life now, choose behaviors, and make plans to stabilize their own environment and build resources for a better life; no more tyranny! Developing good relationships, working together and supporting each other, they become problem solvers, movers and shakers. They create a future story for themselves and their community; the West End Neighborhood of Georgetown.

Partnering with other service agencies in Georgetown, St Cyprian Outreach Center has come to know that working with others, can improve the effectiveness of service delivery in Georgetown; especially in assisting residents with basic needs. Through collaboration, policies and protocols to help clients, the collection of valuable data and ultimately serving more people all takes place. St Cyprian and the Daughters of Charity have an innate and log-standing commitment to serve those living in poverty/near poverty.  By attending on-going training conferences and workshops around the issues of poverty and other relevant issues, St. Cyprian Outreach Center continues to learn, alongside the residents, what these issues mean in their lives. Other Georgetown agencies and organizations often rely on St Cyprian’s at meetings and on Boards to further the development of their programs bringing about systemic change. Reciprocally, St Cyprian seeks them out to do the same for their programs. (Georgetown County)

St. Francis Center — Funding will support the Emergency Home Repair program which serves economically disadvantaged families in Northern Beaufort County who need emergency home repairs and/or modifications for handicapped access. The center partners with these families by purchasing the necessary construction materials while the family arranges for labor. Projects include ramps, railings, roofs, flooring, kitchens and bathrooms. Funding will also support the Migrant Farmworker Outreach Program, which provides 300 welcome boxes of food, bundles of towels and toiletries, shoes and new toys for children of seasonal migrant workers, who are housed in migrant camps on St. Helena Island when they arrive to pick the tomato crop. The barriers to rising above poverty that the center’s programs address include a lack of basic skills (including literacy and ESL), unstable living conditions, and poor self-esteem. Tutoring is available at the center for children and adults (ESL, basic reading, writing, and math).

Through day-to-day interactions with a wide range of families and individuals living in poverty in Northern Beaufort County, the center has an understanding of the cultural milieu — the physical environment, social conditions and events — that impacts their lives. Direct interaction in programs that address basic needs of food, shelter and clothing gives the center unique insight into the challenges the community faces, the strengths they have and the dignity that they deserve.

The center has a strong volunteer base of support as well as partnerships with other agencies, organizations and businesses in order to identify and address the needs of the community. The center works to allocate their services and funds to those facing the most serious challenges. They are willing to “go the extra mile” when circumstances demand it, and treat all with dignity. The center also helps those who “have” to be more cognizant of those who “have not”, and provide opportunities for them to interact with those less fortunate with compassion and respect. (Beaufort County)

Thumbs Up, Inc. — Funding will support the Thumbs Up Family Intervention Project, which is a pilot program in its first year.  Oversight of the implementation will be coordinated by a team consisting of the executive director, a board member and a community representative. Funds will be used to hire a contracted consultant (part-time) who has experience working with at-risk youth and families; transporting parents to counseling programs (mileage reimbursement or bus passes); and materials/supplies for parent training. With the cooperation of the Beaufort Housing Department, Thumbs Up will facilitate holding parent workshops at the Marshview Community building for the convenience of resident families. Various community resources will be invited to make presentations on resources to stabilize daily life, financial literacy, life skills, weekly support groups, domestic violence prevention, and various self-sufficiency strategies.

Funding will also support enrolling of a new cohort of early elementary students in grades K-3. Parent involvement with their children in the early grades is crucial to their success in school. The new family intervention specialist will help support families in crisis, provide home visitations for parents, and help families to access community-based services and resources for on-going support. For example, youth may be foster children who are adjusting to a new family and school. Every family will be involved in the development of two short-term goals in their own “Family Success Plan”, and must commit to participating in the program. (Beaufort County)

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.

File photo: Migrant workers help farmers bring crops to market. Part of the initiative grant awarded to the St. Francis Center will support the Migrant Farmworker Outreach Program.