United Way of Lowcountry hits first million of campaign

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United Way of the Lowcountry’s 2012 campaign cleared its first million this week as residents and businesses respond to local needs. The campaign is at 36 percent of its $2.8 million goal, CEO Clarece Walker said Thursday.
Contributions to United Way of the Lowcountry help save lives — including dozens of young men who found themselves on the wrong side of the law for non-violent offenses. An option to prison time is AMIkids Beaufort, a residential facility in Dale.
“United Way of the Lowcountry supports AMIkids Beaufort and the wonderful work they do, and we support 43 other agencies and partnerships,” said Mike Petrelli, campaign chairman for Hilton Head Island. “We hope people will dig deep this year to help us reach our 2012 goal of $2.8 million needed to help people in Beaufort and Jasper counties.”
Every $100 contribution to United Way of the Lowcountry provides a young man between the ages of 14 and 17 who has been referred by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice to AMIkids Beaufort with 34 hours of instruction to support academic achievement.
“At AMIkids we have two primary goals, education and behavior modification. The lifestyle at AMIkids Beaufort is healthy and rigorous, with time in the classroom offset by significant time outdoors,” said James Rivers, executive director at AMIkids Beaufort.
“The students are assigned responsibilities for maintaining our buildings and outdoor facilities, and have the opportunity to earn recognition points every day in leadership, timeliness, attitude, respect, appearance, supervision, safety and participation,” Rivers said.
“We have a success rate of 72 percent, meaning that 72 percent of the young men who come through our doors don’t have any more trouble with the law for the next year. That compares to the state prison system’s 28 percent success rate,” he said.
This year, AMIkids Beaufort added a welding program in partnership with TCL, through funding provided by the Stranahan Foundation. Now, students can work toward their GED and earn welding certificates to help them gain employment.
Help United Way of the Lowcountry meet the needs of the community, and meet the $2.8 million goal. To learn more, call 843-982-3040 or visit www.uwlowcountry.org.