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Community Action Projects

UNITE South Carolina - Celebrating 10 Years of DLI

UNITE South Carolina – Celebrating Ten Years of the Diversity Leaders Initiative

As part of the DLI program, participants work in small groups to identify, analyze and develop real solutions for real community issues. Some of these community action projects are the focus of UNITE South Carolina. This special edition publication features 10 DLI community action projects that are helping build better communities throughout the state.

Baby Got Bank

A Financial Fitness guide for young adults participating in Epworth Children’s Homes’ Center for Independent Living and Family Care Counseling programs was created by Capstone Group 4. These programs focus on developing life skills and educational opportunities for residents and program participants. The guide is intended to introduce personal financial skills training and connect Epworth Children’s Home to resources but does not substitute for professional advice.

Group 1

Four 15-minute podcast episodes that explore the intersectionality of police use of force, race, and people with disabilities. Through this podcast we seek to bring awareness to the issue people with disabilities, specifically people of color with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families, face when dealing with law enforcement and solutions for communities in South Carolina.  The Group focused on four different segments of the issue for the podcast:

Team Toucan

Team Toucan focused efforts on Roadrunner Reading Bridge which connects residents of Lexington Medical Center’s Extended Care (“LMC-EC”) with the elementary children of Red Bank Elementary in a project that will delight both groups. The residents at LMC-EC, like all residents of nursing homes, have faced unprecedented separation from loved ones and the outside world during the pandemic. Team Toucan connects Lexington County seniors with the comfort and joy of a local elementary child’s voice.


In an effort to initiate critical dialog in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest surrounding racial injustice, the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for S.C. (SEL4SC), in partnership with the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative 2020 Class (DLI) is launching an initiative to help communities come together to support each other in crisis.

The Harmonizers

The Harmonizers, a community action project of Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, developed a series of concert programs that are sensory friendly for children and adults who are neurodiverse.

PALS – Providing Alternatives to Leadership & Support

South Carolina’s older adult population is among the fastest growing populations in the nation. Alarmingly, approximately 10% of older adults in South Carolina are below the federal poverty level. Previous research indicates severe socioeconomic stressors contribute to declines in quality of life (QOL) including physical and mental health, social functioning, and emotional well-being. Functional and cognitive limitations associated with older adults living with disabilities restrict older adults from being significant contributors in South Carolina communities.

Together We Read to Succeed

Project Summary: The purpose of this project was to collect new and gently used inspirational children's books for kids in need, K-5 generally and 3rd Grade specifically, for the Spartanburg County District 7 Summer Reading Camps and for use in elementary school fall learning. With Covid-19, South Carolina students started doing remote learning in March 2020. Many are continuing with virtual learning this academic year. This can create learning gaps - especially for students without print-rich environments at home. 

Compass GVL: Helping the Community 1 Address at a Time

The goal of Compass GVL’s project proposal is to improve visibility for residential communities during COVID-19. There are residential neighborhoods in the community without clearly displayed address numbers on the house, mailbox, or curb. This delays the response time for first responders and other service providers during COVID-19. Compass GVL will provide the service of painting address numbers at no cost to community members. These numbers will be painted on the curbs to assist first responders and other service providers in locating residents quickly when needed.


“But, what can I do?” This is the question that resonates with so many in the midst of crisis or human tragedy. The challenge of knowing what to do is often that there are so many avenues to address an issue that people who are already overwhelmed by the event are now overwhelmed by resources. People are equipped to respond to the needs of others in ways that are unique, so is there a way to offer diverse opportunities for people to help through their unique gifts and abilities? The death of Mr. George Floyd, and the vigils and protests following his death, overtly exposed racial inequality and injustice, and the phrase “but what