Palmetto Place was founded in 1977 by the members of the Junior Woman’s Club of Columbia (JWC). In the early 1970s they became aware of the unique needs and tragic stories of abused and neglected children who needed support and created a plan to help. In June 1976, a special meeting of the club was called, and the membership voted unanimously for its new project, Youth Resources. By January 1977, a home was purchased in Columbia, and Palmetto Place Children’s Emergency Shelter was born in April 1977. Since the shelter was founded, more than 7,000 of the Midlands abused, neglected and abandoned children have found a safe, nurturing home at Palmetto Place.
In 2012 there was another population who needed support, homeless teens. That year we began our Unaccompanied Youth Program with one teen and shortly after reserved four beds for homeless youth with nowhere else to go. As of January 2017, we have helped 33 homeless teens reach their goals for education and employment. The impact we’ve made on these residents is clear, they come back and visit, stay in touch with our house parents, and reach out when they need help overcoming obstacles in their paths.
After too many month of turning kids away due to lack of space we were able to expand our shelter in 2016. Now, our original house has space for 30 kids and teens who have been abused or neglected. We were also ale to purchase a second location and expand our homeless teens programs. We now have an addition 25 beds for homeless teens in our Unaccompanied Youth and Basic Center Programs.