As part of a statewide initiative called “Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service,” juveniles and staff of Upstate Evaluation Center made contributions to Oakmont of Union Nursing Home.
Upstate Evaluation Center (UEC) — located at 1585 Jonesville Highway — is a division of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). South Carolina DJJ has taken a statewide initiative to serve in communities during Sept. 8-10, and UEC directed its service toward Oakmont of Union.
Juveniles detained at the facility prepared more than 150 baskets and shower crates which were decorated with bows and filled with flowers, pens, notebooks, puzzles and other items requested by Oakmont activity therapists, who said the items are helpful with Oakmont residents’ rehabilitation activities.
“This is our third year doing this,” said UEC institutional administrator Mike Hogan. “Every year it’s a great event. The folks here look forward to it and the staff really enjoys it.”
South Carolina DJJ issued a statement acknowledging its role in helping to make communities better places to live, work and play. The statement said the agency also recognizes that when a crime is committed by a young person there is harm to the community and repair is needed — a concept known as Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ).
BARJ focuses on repairing the harm, rebuilding relationships, providing accountability and skill building for the young offender, balanced with public protection. Performing community service provides juvenile offenders with the opportunity to fulfill their obligation to make amends for their crime by giving back to the community through service.
The Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service event coincides with the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and continues to grow each year. In 2010, 1,450 participants including 572 DJJ staff, 878 juveniles and volunteers conducted 85 community service projects in all 46 counties along with DJJ’s Community Alternatives, Residential Services and Broad River Road Complex.
The Union County DJJ office is also serving as part of this initiative by partnering with the Miracle League of Union County to host the league’s second exhibition game, which will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at Timken Sports Complex. Youth from the community will be visible and attentive to the disabled players during the game by providing assistance in various ways including creating banners to help cheer them on from batting to rounding the bases. A $2 donation for admission will go toward the Miracle League of Union County’s efforts to build a baseball diamond specifically for disabled youth. This outreach by DJJ and the League is designed to bring the dream of having a specialized baseball diamond in Union County even closer.