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Community Action Projects

Bridging Diversity GAPS in the UPSTATE

G.A.P.S. focused on the extension of effective emergency services to minority groups, specifically the growing Hispanic minority in the Upstate. G.A.P.S. noted that emergency services' ineffectiveness in responding to specific crises is often related to language barriers, as well as the general reluctance of the Hispanic minority to use emergency services for (1) fear of INS or deportation, (2) fear of losing U.S.-born children, or (3) prior negative experiences with authorities. G.A.P.S.

Bridges to Success

While there is a variety of well-established interventions and programs for families living in poverty, many parents lack the individual support needed to change their economic circumstances. Bridges to Success is partnering with the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition and the Greenville Literacy Association to address obstacles commonly faced by parents living in poverty, such as low educational attainment, unemployment, and incarceration.

The project’s goal is to combat generational poverty by creating a path for parents to become more economically secure.

Broad Bandits

Broadband usage, access and affordability is increasingly becoming a hurdle for some families who understand the benefits all can experience from its availability. While technology improves all areas of life, its impact on the lives of students is becoming increasingly more crucial as the need for Internet access to even do homework outside of school hours is becoming a necessity.  Access is also crucial in law enforcement, emergency medical situations and other aspects of public safety.  Economic development efforts in local communities can sometimes hinge on the availability of high-speed broadband.   Seeing this need and hoping to bridge the gap and level the playing field, especially for low income families, the Broad Bandits partnered with a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Connect South Carolina, which is a state affiliate of Connected Nation. 

Building Bridges

The team objective was to bring together and, in turn, build bridges between groups of students from two different worlds. With this passion and vision in hand, the Building Bridges team, which included Carolina High School’s principal Mr. Michael Delaney and St. Joseph Catholic School’s headmaster Mr. Keith Kiser, developed and launched this new cultural bridge program.

Capitol Kids

Goal: Provide a diverse group of seventh-grade students with the opportunity to shadow their state representatives for a day at the State Capitol.

As a project of Furman's Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), a group of eight community leaders is piloting Capitol Kids in the Lowcountry for the 2015-2016 academic year. A statewide program, the purpose of the DLI is to raise awareness of diversity issues, engage in meaningful dialogue, and develop relationships to help move South Carolina forward.

The Capitol Improvers

The Capitol Improvers created P.R.E.P. (Preparedness Re-Entry Program) Action, a program which focuses on providing resources for ex-offender transition and systems for reconnecting the recently released ex-offender with his or her community. Group members hope to help break the endless cycle of release and re-incarceration by providing information about and access to support systems at the point of release; these support systems could meet social, economic, emotional, and spiritual needs.

C2C: Collision2Collaboration

C2C: Collision to Collaboration selected Sara Collins Elementary’s Sizzling Saturday program for its pilot.

Goal: Define, create, plan, and implement a Diversity module to be incorporated into an existing Sizzling Saturday event at Sara Collins Elementary. Based on the results of this pilot, we plan to define the Sizzling Saturday program with a Diversity module and introduce it to elementary schools in neighboring school districts working collaboratively with schools and local PTAs.

Capstone Creatures

The Capstone Creatures' starting point question was "Has the physical separation of the programs of United Ministries in three separate buildings on two different sides of the street created more than a physical division among the staff?" The Capstone group did a cultural audit and interviewed staff and volunteers associated with the organization. The group discovered that the geographic diversity problem (two sides of the street) was more relevant than the more traditional diversity issues of race and gender.

Carolina Perspectives

Team Carolina Perspectives’ goal is to bring DLI alumni together to continue the style and dynamic of the conscious conversation experienced during DLI classes. The group hopes to continue and build relationships among DLI alumni, facilitate at least two evenings of conscious conversations that stimulate diversity awareness, and enhance DLI growth through these dialogue and relationships and “carry it on.”

Career Motivators

Career Motivators created Project GROWL (Getting Ready for your Opportunity to Work, Laugh, and Learn) to help Midlands high school students secure and retain their first jobs. A job is the first rung on the ladder of being engaged in society. A young person's perception of the working world is formed during his or her first job. Twenty-four Richland County School District Two students received training in the application process and the opportunity to talk directly to hiring managers.