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Spring Break

Spring Break

Last week the kids were on spring break! In this post, Ms. Kamelle shares some of the teen house’s adventures!

August 12th is International Youth Day!

August 12th is International Youth Day!

On International Youth Day and every day, we strive to recognize the vital importance of protecting some of the most vulnerable youth in our community from abuse, homelessness, and neglect.

June is National Zoos and Aquariums Month!

June is National Zoos and Aquariums Month!

Our kids have loved visiting the zoo in the past. From exploring the new exhibits to zip lining across the Saluda River there is something for kids of all ages. You can help us celebrate National Zoos and Aquariums Month by donating tickets for our kids. 

International Museum Day is May 18th

International Museum Day is May 18th

This day is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. At Palmetto Place we love taking the kids to local museums to learn more about the community they live in, history and culture. Living in the capital city we have so many cool museums to check out. 

Visit the links below to see what our local museums are doing for May 18th: 

The Columbia Museum of Art

South Carolina State Museum

EdVenture Children's Museum 

Cayce Historical Museum

for all things history related in Columbia, visit Historic Columbia today. 

Want to help send the kids and teens at Palmetto Place to the museum? Click here to make a donation for summer activities, donate tickets or email us at admin@palmettoplaceshelter.org. 

Happy International Youth Day 2016

image_98_international-youth-day International Youth Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. August 12th is marked worldwide as a day to celebrate youth in our communities. Young people drive our society forward with new technology, media, entertainment and inspiration. Internationally, more and more young children and teenagers are taught to read, given access to the Internet, and given a chance to flourish within and outside their communities. Because of this, the younger generation is not just presently affecting our world but will affect the future too.

Across the world, countries are recognizing the importance of nourishing and growing young citizens into successful adults. Success is not only rated by money and accomplishment but also by happiness and quality of life. Because of this, it is now becoming more and more important to children a solid foundation of values, respect and structure. According to a 2012 study by Princeton University, youth who have adverse childhood experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, abandonment, and emotional and physical neglect, have a higher risk of depression and suicide attempts and are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted diseases. This same study says these children are more likely to turn to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. The authors of Does Child Abuse Cause Crime? find that child maltreatment roughly doubles the probability that an individual engages in many types of crime.

So how do you fix this growing epidemic? This is the question children’s shelters are answering across the nation. According to a report by Paxson and Waldfogel (1999, 2002) abuse and neglect are more common in families and communities of lower socioeconomic status. In neighborhoods like these, when programs for children are implemented and these kids have a safe place to turn to they are more likely to succeed. The positive influence children’s shelters have is spread beyond their residents and into the communities they serve.

The residents at Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter are just like thousands of other foster children throughout the United States who are looking for a safe and nurturing environment where they have the ability to succeed. Here they are able to play after school sports, join clubs, and get part time jobs. They get homework help and medical and mental health care. Our teens learn independent living sills so they are prepared to live on their own after leaving Palmetto Place. They’re surrounded by positive influences who want to see that child or teen be the best versions of themselves.

So how can you get involved in showing these kids they can succeed on this International Youth Day? Making a donation to a local children’s shelter like Palmetto Place is the best way to show these children you care. Here your dollar goes farther, we are tax exempt and often get reduced prices and discounts at stores. Another way you can help is by hosting a donation drive and collecting items from our wish list. The same items that are on your grocery list are on ours, just in a much larger quantity. Check our webpage for volunteer opportunities and other ways you can help out!

 

 

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Held annually in April, Child Abuse Prevention Month is the nationally designated month to acknowledge the importance of communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Think back to your childhood. Did someone help make it great? Maybe you had a grandparent, siblings, a teacher or a coach who looked out for you. Maybe you're that person in a child's life today.

At Palmetto Place we strive to be the people in a child's life who help make it great. The people who go above and beyond to create a safe and loving environment where a child can be themselves and only worries about kid things, like homework and new friends.

Too often we see the effects of child abuse and neglect hold children back in everyday situations. We've seen kids who hoard food, because before they came to us, they didn't know when they would eat next. We've seen young children who are developmentally delayed because they didn't get the stimuli they needed as babies. We've seen teens sabotage relationships because in their experience, everyone lets them down eventually. These are just some of the reasons prevention is so important.

For more information on Child Abuse Prevention Month, resources, and ways you can get involved, click here. You can show your support throughout April by celebrating the lives you touch and those who have touched yours by honoring them with a pinwheel– the national symbol for the great childhoods all children deserve.To purchase pinwheels visit Prevent Child Abuse America.

 

Blog- April

A New Year's Resolution

One of our favorite activities each January is the kids’ New Year’s Resolutions! We thought you’d enjoy seeing what’s on their minds for 2016. Our youngest, a 4-year-old, wants to eat more Chinese food and to go to school. This week we were able to enroll her in 4K. A 7-year-old boy wants a pet bird and to go to Disney. An 8-year-old wants to be a movie star, visit Paris and be a cheerleader for the Dallas "Cow Boys!" She'd also like to learn to enjoy math and get better grades in school, both of which are goals we are working towards. A 9-year-old boy wants to be adventurous and eat red pepper on his pizza, learn how to do a back flip and spin on his head, travel and learn the Electric Slide (our Case Manager has promised to teach him!)

All of the residents at Palmetto Place have goals for 2016. Stay tuned to hear what our teens are thinking about this year!

Dear Santa...

All of our kids wrote their letters to Santa earlier this month and, as you can probably imagine, Santa received a wide range of requests. Our little boys asked for action figures, toy airplanes and footballs, our teen girls want hair supplies, make up and jewelry. One wanted help paying for her dream prom dress. A 14-year-old wrote, “I don’t want much, but if you send me my family I will be the proudest (happiest), and that will be a Christmas Miracle.” For many, that simple Christmas wish of family is all they really want.

This year we were able to watch one girl’s Christmas miracle come true. I’m not sure if Santa has anything to do with it, but I can’t deny there is magic in the air. The day she came in from school and we were able to tell her she was going home, something special happened. You could see it in her face. At 14, she’s a believer. Before she left she whispered to me, “Santa does exist. I asked him to go home and now I am.”

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching a child get their wish. As our many Palmetto Place Santas and elves collect gifts for our kids and our office turns into Santa’s Workshop once again, I notice items that were specifically asked for and I can’t help but smile knowing on Christmas morning more wishes will come true.

Many of the residents at Palmetto Place may not have happy memories of Christmas morning. For some, Santa has not visited every year. One teen didn’t want to write a letter to Santa because he “didn’t want to be disappointed again.” We’re making sure that this year Santa finds him on Christmas morning.

There are many Christmas traditions we love showing our children and teens. Like baking and decorating Christmas cookies, Christmas parties, making Christmas cards and leaving stockings out to be filled by Santa. Community service projects are also part of the Christmas tradition at Palmetto Place. The kids made beautiful cards for the veterans at Dorn VA and they’ll be delivering candy canes and hugs to some special folks next week. For some these are familiar traditions, for others the idea of decorating cookies is brand new.

With less than two weeks until Christmas, we have two open beds. Without a doubt they will be full on Christmas morning. It seems like every year we take in a child just days before Christmas. In addition to getting that child settled in, we also have emergency Santas on standby to make sure these kids have something special to open on Christmas Day. You can help us make Christmas special for each child at Palmetto Place, even the ones who haven’t arrived yet, by making a donation now. This year, every child will have fond memories of Christmas at Palmetto Place and we couldn’t do that without you and the support of the community.

By Grace Bennett, Project Coordinator

 

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September is Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month

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Did you know that 1 in 6 people struggle to get enough to eat? What about the fact that food insecurities are particularly harmful to children?

Many people think hunger is directly influenced by poverty. Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. Poverty in the United States is only one of many factors associated with food insecurity. In fact, higher unemployment, lower household assets, and certain demographic characteristics also lead to a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food.

In the United States today, 15 million children face hunger. Consequently, one in five kids are facing greater obstacles to reaching their fullest potential. The future of America lies in our children. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well.

Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2012, 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life

While hunger has no boundaries, it does impact some communities more than others. African Americans are more than twice as likely to suffer from food insecurity as their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. The Latino population in the United States has nearly doubled in the past decade and continues to grow. Currently, Latino and African American communities are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, poverty and unemployment.

According to a 2012 study, there are 807,960 people in South Carolina who face food insecurity, 292,840 of those are children. As a state, 28% of children do not know when or what their next meal will be. Right here in Columbia 20% of children go hungry.

But there are ways you can help. Palmetto Place become home to some of these hungry children. In addition to providing a save shelter, and clothing we also feed 20 kids three times a day. On a weekly basis we use 7 gallons of milk, 30 pieces of chicken, 5 boxes of cereal and sometimes more than 15 boxes of after school snacks. The best way you can help during Hunger Action Month is by picking up gift cards next time you are at the store. Our house parents shop at local grocery stores during the week to make sure our kids get fresh meat, fruits, and veggies. So, next time you go grocery shopping, keep Palmetto Place on your list.

September is Hunger Action Month

For more information on hunger check out these fact sheets-

Hunger and Poverty Face Sheet

Child Hunger Fact Sheet

African American Hunger Fact Sheet

Latino Hunger Fact Sheet

Spring Cleaning

Today’s blog post comes from Victoria Infinger, our communications intern. When I think about spring cleaning, I think about throwing my scarves, sweaters and boots into a large rubber tub and pulling out last year’s pastel dresses and bathing suits. I wouldn’t give a second thought as to where to put my winter clothes. Easy breezy.

But what about the children whose clothes are donated? What about the children who need help with spring cleaning and have no idea what to do with their winter clothes?

Let’s take a step back and imagine this scenario:

You have a closet full of clothes – a mixture of sweet summer wear and bulky winter apparel. You’re fourteen years old and your body is growing, so maybe you’ve outgrown about 60% of the clothes in your closet. Now that you’ve pushed through your winter sweaters and thrown aside the clothes that no longer fit, you feel distraught. What’s left in your closet for you to wear?

The other day, two of our volunteers organized one room of closets. The room belonged to a group of younger, growing girls who were absolutely delighted to clean out their closets.

“I started thinking about cleaning/switching out closets when I was helping my own two girls over Spring Break,” said Chris Cerra, one of our lovely volunteers. “If I was pulling my hair out working with two closets, how in the world would the house parents be able to manage 20 closets? It was a practical way that my friend, Ruffin and I could help Palmetto Place.”

Chris and Ruffin checked to see what all still fit the girls in the room, packed up all their winter clothes and moved in some summer clothes. It was such a little thing they did that most people do every year, yet it was so big for these girls.

“They [the girls] got so excited when we would pull something out that fit them,” Chris said. “It didn't matter that is was older and had belonged to someone else, they were just grateful it was ‘new’ to them.”

Putting the cherry on the cake of this sweet story, Chris decided to bring the girls back new outfits from Target including shorts and a few coordinating shirts.

“When I gave each of them their bag, they started screaming and jumping up and down. I was struck by how something so simple meant so much to them,” Chris said.

We all take such small things for granted. Spring time, a time for cleaning, organizing and shopping for new summer outfits, might seem ordinary to us, but extraordinary to those who don’t have the same opportunities as us.

This time of year, children at the shelter are left with questions like, “What do I do with these clothes that no longer fit?” “Where do I leave my winter clothes when it’s no longer winter?” We organize our own closets at home, so why wouldn’t we organize the closets of our shelter children?

Our volunteers are spectacular. We are so thankful to have volunteers willing to make such little things bigger than life for our kids.

Happy New Year!

Each year, our counselor, Jill, works with our kids to write New Year's Resolutions. It's a good time to set goals, maybe close the door on a rough year and, of course, start fresh. This year, Jill added a little something to this fun activity. She asked the kids about last year - what did you do really well in 2013? What did you learn? What did you enjoy? Here's a look back at 2013 and a look ahead at 2014. Thanks for being part of our Palmetto Place family last year and we look forward to sharing more with you in the year to come.

2013

  • In 2013 I was really great about remembering … my mom … to listen … to do my homework … to stay strong
  • In 2013, I really enjoyed… chicken… the Fair
  • In 2013, I learned … multiplication … being myself … to live with multiple people … how to be a good reader … how to make real true friends … new skills for my job … to be grateful
  • In 2013, I connected with … the kids at Palmetto Place … my dad

2014

  • In 2014, I will … be happy and I’ll go home and my mom will be happy … make new friends … make a new life … be responsible … be myself and express myself … keep accomplishing my goals
  • In 2014, I will be grateful because … being at Palmetto Place has shown me that I take so much for granted ... I will appreciate my mom and all she does for me.
  • In 2014, I will be grateful to see my family
  • In 2014, I will do less … complaining … talking … TV … judging
  • In 2014, I will do more … listening … thinking … being grateful … working at my job … studying … making the best of things …

I think we can all learn a lot from these kids' 2014 resolutions as we think about our own goals for the year.

Erin

Christmas is Coming!

If you're having Christmas for 20 kids, you have to start early! We've already had many calls and emails about ways to volunteer, so we've developed a list of opportunities and needs for our kids and for the shelter. Christmas is a very fun time at Palmetto Place, but also a difficult time as our kids are missing their families. Each of our kids writes a Christmas wish list and we match families and groups who want to "adopt" them for Christmas gifts. We hope you'll find an opportunity on our list that fits with what you'd like to do. Thank you for being involved and making sure our kids have the best Christmas ever!

Christmas Opportunities List 2013

**Update: we are so fortunate that all of our kids have been "adopted" for Christmas gifts. We hope you'll find something else on our Christmas list that interests you. Gift cards are always a great option for our kids who arrive at Palmetto Place a few days before Christmas.

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If you'd like to make a gift in someone's honor or memory for the holidays, please email us at admin@palmettoplaceshelter.org. Let us know some details about the gift you'd like to make and the person in who's honor you are giving. We'll kindly send a letter of honorarium to the person or their family and share our Palmetto Place story with them.

We are so grateful for the generosity of our supporters and extended Palmetto Place family, but ask that you kindly not bring toys, sweets, candy, etc. without first contacting us.

We strive to balance the kindness of those who show love to our residents with the knowledge that Christmas without family can be very difficult and emotional for our kids. We try not to overwhelm them--or set false expectations for future holidays--by ensuring that each child's gifts are provided through holiday "adoption." If you would like to "adopt" a child for Christmas gifts, please contact Erin.

We must also limit our visitors on Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day, but welcome volunteers through our Sunday Suppers program. For more information, or to schedule a meal, please contact  admin@palmettoplaceshelter.org.