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volunteer

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

October 23 - Update - WE DID IT! We hit our $1 million goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to make our dreams come true. Soon we can expand and be able to serve and help more children and teens.
Check out the story here on Cola Daily: http://bit.ly/1HED3YH
And while we've hit our goal, we are still raising money! We know construction will cost more than a million so we will just keep on going! You can help us reduce any loan debt we'd have to take on. Here's how you can donate: http://palmettoplaceshelter.org/donate/?
Check out the news stories by WLTX and WIS on our campaign!
Midlands Shelter to Take in More Homeless, Abused Kids (WLTX)

Watch WIS's story, Palmetto Place to Expand, Making Room for More Abused, Neglected Children, here!

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Since 1977, more than 7,000 kids of all ages have come through our front door. And now it's time to welcome even more kids into our home. It's time for us to grow - and we need your help.

Children like Anthony and Hailey don’t often have heroes. You may think their tragic story couldn’t happen here in the Midlands, but it did. Fortunately, YOU can be a hero!

When police entered their house, the first thing they noticed was the garbage piled high. Needles and other drug paraphernalia on a torn sofa. Anthony and Hailey were huddled together in a corner—no parent was in sight.

At Palmetto Place, Anthony and Hailey found a safe, nurturing home filled with love. Counseling helped them cope, and mentors helped them catch up in school and succeed.

But last month alone, we had to turn away 20 children in need. We just didn’t have the space. You can change that. You can be the hero children like Anthony and Hailey desperately need.

Palmetto Place’s Saving More Children campaign will renovate and expand Palmetto Place. Your gift will increase our number of beds by 50% and save more children from despair. Today, you can impact generations to come. Every day, we are getting closer to our $1 million goal to fund construction costs. Generous individuals and organizations in the Midlands have already given more than $900,000!

Will you to join them—to say “I’m here to help you” to the most vulnerable children right here in the Midlands?

You can give online at www.PalmettoPlaceShelter.org/donate (choose Saving More Children under Gift Type), or mail a check to Palmetto Place at PO Box 3395, Columbia, SC 29230.

Will you join us in Saving More Children and making changes that will last a lifetime?

We're excited to be working with The Winkler Group, Lambert Architecture, Hood Construction and GMK Associates on this capital campaign, expansion and renovation. We'll be sharing more details soon so be sure to check out this page plus Facebook and Twitter.

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My Favorite Firecracker

My Favorite Firecracker

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Kayleigh Medina was a volunteer at Palmetto Place in the spring of 2015. These are her reflections on her time with our kids:

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For the past semester, I’ve been volunteering at a local children’s shelter. At first, I was only going with the intentions of getting my 15 community service hours for one of my classes. The first time I went, I was terrified. I love kids, but I found every reason to complain about taking time out of my week to hang out with kids that might not even like me. Boy, was I wrong. Here I am, in tears at the end of the semester because I won’t get to see any of them for 3 months, and I might not see some of them ever again.

The first time I went to Palmetto Place, I was scared, skeptical, and hesitant. I thought the kids were going to make fun of me, distrust me, and want nothing to do with me. I quickly realized that this was not true at all. Yes, they were sassy and defensive – but can you blame them? Many of them have already had to fend for themselves considerably during their relatively short lives.

Out of all of the children I have met here, one special three year-old girl has impacted me the most. She is an absolute firecracker. I met her the second time I volunteered here. She latched right on to me, and we became buddies. Later that day, she fell into a bad mood, and decided that she didn’t want to share with any of us. I held her still for a minute and asked, “Do you know why I am here?” She shook her head, “No.” I replied, “I am here to play with you and to be your friend. Do you want to be my friend?” She nodded her head with an excited “Yes!” I prompted her, “Well, friends share with each other, love each other, and are kind to each other – think you can handle that?” I watched her consider my request for approximately thirty seconds, and then I watched her completely refute my advice (three year-olds and logic don’t always mesh well). I left that day, knowing that I learned something big, and hoping that this little girl did too.

I returned the next week, and immediately felt someone tugging at my shirt (and, of course, my heart). I looked down and (who would have guessed it?) it was that same little girl. She excitedly declared “I’m not going to do what I did last time because I want to be your friend.” This was huge, coming from a three year-old. It took me only that moment to realize that I wasn’t here just to sign off on a few service hours and leave. I was there for children like her. I was there because I am passionate about these special children and this special place. I wasn’t assigned to Palmetto Place. I went there, and I continued to go, because I felt like I was able to make an impact on these children.

I now go to Palmetto Place every Thursday, and it is honestly the highlight of my week. I get excited just walking into that door and hanging out with these kids once a week. They break my heart and mend it back together all at the same time. Thinking about what these kids have already gone through in their lives tears me apart. Why should innocent children have to suffer from situations that aren’t in their control whatsoever? When I think about the home that these children and youth might be coming from, and the home that they might have to return to, I am so thankful for their temporary home at Palmetto Place. Without non-profit homes and shelters like Palmetto Place, these children could have ended up in mass orphanages, or in unsteady, and often unsafe, home environments.

My time serving at the shelter this past semester is something that I will never forget. These kids will remain in my heart and my prayers for a long time. The hope that I see in their eyes, despite everything they have been through, is beautiful to me. These children have every right to feel disparaged by, and distrustful of, the world, yet they placed their trust right in the palm of my hand. Here at Palmetto Place, I get to help kids realize their full potential in life, and teach them that they aren’t defined by their starting points in life, but by how far they come.

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Volunteering with Kids

Today is Martin Luther King Day, which has become almost synonymous with volunteering and community service.  I hope everyone has the opportunity to serve others in some way today! Since I started college, volunteering has been an important part of my life.  I often start volunteering somewhere new for a somewhat selfish reason, usually to gain experience for my resume, but it always blooms into a passion for the organization.  I worked in a volunteer office at a major military installation and had the opportunity to help passionate people do what they do best – help others.  This is where I was introduced to the idea of children participating in volunteer activities.  When I was growing up I was never exposed to volunteering, either at school or at home, and discovering that families often volunteer together was an eye-opener for me.  What a great way to teach kids the power of participating in the community, how to make a difference in someone’s life, and how to work together with others.

Palmetto Place functions as a surrogate family for our kids, so I thought it made sense to take them out to volunteer.  While they were out of school for the holidays we went to Harvest Hope Food Bank to help out.  On the way to Harvest Hope we talked about volunteering.  Some of the kids had volunteered before, but it was a new experience for some.   They said they did things like help clean up litter or help wash cars for school fundraisers.  I asked the kids why they thought it was important to volunteer.  They said that it was good to help others, so they would be blessed, and that it was a nice thing to do since people helped them.

Once we arrived the kids were fascinated with the huge warehouse and seeing so much food in one place.  Some of them mentioned that their moms had been to the food bank before to get food for their families.  The staff member explained that things like large, unexpected bills often come up and Harvest Hope is there to help people when they need it.

We got set up and had about 10 packing stations.  One of our kids put the box on an assembly line, and then pushed it over for the next person to add in an item.  This continued at each station until our very strongest kid put the full, taped box on a pallet.  It sounds easy, but believe me, it was hard work!  Sometimes the assembly line got backed up and we had to stop and help someone catch up.  One of our teens, D., was super fast and helped everyone else keep up.  She was a true team player!  Working together with another family, we packed more than 140 boxes of food for people in need!   We made a great team and everyone enjoyed working together to help others.

There are so many people who volunteer their time at Palmetto Place – serving on the board, doing art projects, helping with yard work, organizing supplies, reading to the kids and doing so much more.  We are very appreciative of all the volunteers who help us – Palmetto Place could not function without you!

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