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“It doesn’t matter how old you are – we’re all life-long learners. The seniors participating in these projects are learning just as much as the children we’re helping."
"I have a friend that works with children in juvenile arbitration, and most of these children in ‘the system’ have tremendous unmet needs. We came up with the ‘Showers of Scholars’ (S.O.S.) program to help provide comfort and resources for these children through The South Carolina Education Association-Retired (The SCEA-R), in partnership with other organizations like the General Federation of Women’s Club of South Carolina.
First-time offenders who are living in a group home or children who are placed in shelters when they’re taken away from their parents don’t have access to the kind of school supplies that they need to start school. Some don’t even have adequate personal hygiene items. These are children who are working to turn their lives around, and they shouldn’t be put at a further disadvantage because they lack the basic necessities to learn. Chapters across the state participate, and we leave it up to them to determine which organizations they’ll adopt in their area and how they’ll engage the community. We all collect basic school supplies, toiletries, clothing, and money, and sometimes books and toys.
We don’t usually get to meet the children who receive the donated items, but I know they are appreciated. Because of these gifts, these children do not have to worry about school and personal supplies when they have so much else going on in their lives. There’s also a scholarship portion of the S.O.S. program that helps students from the organizations we’ve sponsored go to a South Carolina college and earn their teaching degrees. This year, The SCEA-R membership has four students who have been awarded scholarships from the state-wide fund. I really feel like we’re giving these children a second chance and a head start at all levels of their education.”