Last updated: September 05. 2013 10:44AM - 637 Views
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com

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UNION — This year’s “Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service” initiative in Union County will involve carpets being cleaned in government offices and cards made for the residents of a local nursing home.

Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service is an annual event sponsored by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice. The initiative, which gets under way today and runs through Saturday, involves DJJ staff and youth along with community partners and volunteers in community projects in all of South Carolina’s 46 counties. There will also be projects at DJJ’s Broad River Road Complex and Detention and Evaluation Centers on Shivers Road in Columbia.

Ashley Campbell, County Director for the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice in Union County, said that DJJ staff and youth will undertake two projects in Union on Friday.

“This year what we’re doing is cleaning the carpets at the Union County Government Complex,” Campbell said. “We’re also making cheer cards for Oakmont Nursing Home.

“The DJJ staff that will be participating will be myself and my administrative specialist Kathy Youngblood,” she said. “Also participating will be six youth who are on probation or supervision with DJJ.”

This is the initiative’s fifth year, and Campbell said that during that time the staff and youth of the Union County facility have undertaken a number of projects.

“We started this about five years ago and we’ve done several projects,” Campbell said. “Last year we did an awareness program and fundraiser for the Hidden Wounds organization, an organization that specializes in getting treatment for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other related war injuries.

“In 2011 we had an exhibition game with the Miracle League of Union County as a fundraiser,” she said. “In 2010 we volunteered at The Potters House and had a food drive. In 2009 we did a beautification project at Buffalo Elementary School.”

Campbell said the initiative is designed to promote DJJ’s concept of justice through service to the community.

“The purpose of the program is to give back to South Carolina and uphold the standards of balanced and restorative justice,” Campbell said. “It also goes in with the National Day of Service in which we commemorate the 9/11 attacks.”

In announcing this year’s initiative, DJJ Director Margaret H. Barber said that hundreds of ordinary citizens across the state are expected to turn out to paint and refurbish community buildings, replenish and organize public clothing and food pantries, spruce up gardens, and much more. Barber pointed out that in 2012 the imitative’s service days brought together 558 DJJ staffers and 968 juveniles to perform 82 service projects in all 46 counties as well as the department’s Community Alternatives, Residential Services, Detention and Evaluation Centers, and the Broad River Road Complex.

“I can’t begin to express the importance of Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service as one of DJJ’s initiatives where the focus is youth giving back through community service,” Barber said . “We are inspired year after year by the number of youth eager to join volunteers and DJJ staff in helping others through projects that target the everyday lives of children and families in communities throughout South Carolina. Restoring Carolina is a strong example of DJJ’s Balanced and Restorative Justice philosophy. It is a lesson in history for our students, as well.’’

As part of the activities, DJJ’s JROTC will hold an observance of “We Will Never Forget – America’s Promise,” a 9/11 Remembrance and Wreath Ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The observance will include a moment of silence at noon that will be observed by all DJJ staff and volunteers at community project sites around the state.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

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