PICKENS COUNTY – A local non-profit organization will be getting substantial help for the next three years to continue its mission of serving parents in Pickens County
The Parenting Place recently received a $1.1 million contract from the Children’s Trust of South Carolina. The organization will receive an extra $390,000 per year for the next three years to provide family support services, according to Executive Director Gloria Morris.
“This award means the state recognizes the hard work that’s been going on for years,” Morris said. “It says a lot about what we’re doing and it also proves that a non-profit grassroots organization backed by its community can really make a huge difference.”
Morris said The Parenting Place will start a new program with money acquired from the contract.
“Family Checkup (the new program) is for children ages 2-17 and their parents,” Morris said. “This program addresses the social and emotional behaviors of children. It really looks at what is going on with a particular child and offers ways to help. With family checkup, we go to the home and try to come up with strategies that will help parents deal with these issues.”
The organization began as a means to help prevent child abuse in the area. Morris said that mission grew stronger over the past year, after the county saw several children lost in domestic disputes.
“What breaks my heart and has made me extremely passionate this year is losing Daniel Smith (an Easley high student killed in a domestic dispute) and losing the two (Dacusville) children that were killed by their mother,” Morris said. “Could we have gotten them help? In not even a years’ time, we’ve lost three children. Those children are important. Their lives are important.”
Morris said part of providing essential help to parents in Pickens County is getting the word out.
“People have to know that these resources are here,” Morris said. “Asking for help is finding strength. It’s courageous.”
“We are here to help every single parent or caregiver of children in the community,” she said. “Our mission is to make sure we have thriving and healthy children free of abuse and neglect. Raising children is the toughest job we’ll ever have, so why not come talk to expert or have an expert come to your home and get some advice?”
Morris said the organization works with hundreds of unique parents each month.
“We work with 150-200 unique parents every single month,” Morris said. “We are working with parents nonstop. We’ve grown from a staff of five people to a staff of 12. We’re just here to be a family resource center for this area and to do anything and everything we can to help a family be successful.”
Although the $1.1 million contract helps, Morris said it is individual donations that keep the organization on its feet.
“This funding will pay for services, but you still need someone to pay for the rent, pay for the lights and pay for the phones,” Morris said. “We’re out there begging for that kind of money. We need individual donations. If people would contribute $5 or $10, that would help us so much.”