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Mentoring groups hold youth expo Saturday

CARE 2A special event occurred Saturday, March 16, at the Downtown Waterfall on East Washington Street. Designed to mentor local children, the five-hour program seemed to be a big hit.

J. D. Davis, Carla Denmark, Alexis Harley, and Lacaecia Smith, all part of Springfield College’s Changing Adolescent Resource Effectiveness (CARE) Program out of Charleston, were in Walterboro, Saturday, to assist with putting on the Colleton County Kids’ Expo and Mentoring Fair. The event lasted from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Other mentoring agencies participating included 2 Do The Right Thing; Impact 1; the Kappa League; Colleton County Memorial Library (CCML)Young Adults; and CCML Children.

“Children seem to have a common complaint: they say that they are bored,” J. D. said. We’re here to show kids what’s out there to do and how to make positive choices in their lives.”

CARE 3Children ranging from ages four through their teens at Colleton Middle School’s GAP Program came to the event to enjoy music, participate in synchronized group dancing, and listen to speakers such as Colleton Memorial Library’s Reference/ Young Adult Librarian Aleck Williams. Williams told those attending the expo about the many positive aspects of visiting the library, adding that he was glad to see the mentoring groups coming together to provide the event for the county’s youth. Children’s Librarian Shiela M. Keaise also read the story “The Singing Storyteller.” Door prizes and balloons were provided. There were also clowns at the program to help with entertainment.

Event sponsors were the Colleton Museum and Farmer’s Market; The Robertson Insurance Agency; Colleton County Memorial Library; Urban Swaggs and More; Old Bank Christmas and Gifts; Fields and Fields Catering; DJ Funk; and Cliff’s Hotdog Station.

“CARE is a college project that set up a one day community event in conjunction with Word for Life Ministries,” J. D. Davis said. “Our objective is very basic. We want to make a positive impact in the lives of the youth in our community. Rather than complain about the problem, we have made a conscious decision to be part of the solution. Our plan is to bring together, in one place, on one day, agencies that provide services or programs to guide our youth in the right direction.”

On Saturday, we expected many families with school-aged children to attend this fun-filled family event, and we were not disappointed. We brought those in need of our services into the downtown area for a day of fun, games, door prizes, and entertainment, to raise awareness of what our agencies have to offer to the children of Colleton County.”

Davis explained that experts believe that mentoring needs to work with families and not the adolescents alone. Statistics have shown youth who participated in mentoring programs and services are more likely to stay away from substance abuse, attend school on a regular basis, and are less likely to show psychological problems of depression or withdrawal from society. As adults, they are more likely to become more responsible, and have higher self esteem and social skills.

“We are confident that with community help and your support, our combined efforts will greatly benefit our youth and make a positive change in their lives. Moreover, in making a positive change in redirecting the youth, the entire community also benefits with decreased delinquency.” For further information, please contact Davis via phone at (843)-638-3109 or email ProjectCare2013@yahoo.com.