In July 2010, a group of 5 teenagers decided to enter the home of a 91 year old WWII Vet in Columbia, SC with the hopes of coming out with a few thousand dollars. Sadly, they ended up taking much more...the life of my grandfather. We will never really know what happened that night or why it ended the way it did, but I do know that their decisions have forever changed my life, my family's, their families' and, certainly, their own.
Not long after it happened, we began learning more about the young people involved. What stood out to me was that for many of them, the signs were there (truancy, fighting, poor grades, minor crimes, etc.). They had been signaling for years that something was wrong, but unfortunately for my family, they never received the services or support needed to help them turn their lives around before it was too late. Before they could make a decision that would irrevocably change their future.
As I have tried to work through this terrible tragedy, I found myself wanting to find something positive from it all - a way to be part of the solution and hopefully stop another child from ever getting to that point. Well, last November, I heard about a non-profit called AMIkids and I knew this was my chance.
AMIkids' motto is "Separating a troubled past from a brighter future." They run 7 camps in South Carolina that are used by the state as an alternative for sending youth to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The average age of the youth that come through the AMIkids program is 16. They have usually been involved with the law and charged with a non-violent offense, but instead of sending them to DJJ, they are offered the opportunity to enter AMIkids and are given a chance at a new life. Probably the most important thing I can tell you about AMIkids is that they are literally changing lives and the results are there. In South Carolina, 78% of the youth that come to AMIkids never have a run-in with law enforcement again. No one else is getting results like that! Aside from the fact that this is incredible for these young people and their families, it is an amazing thing for our state and communities. To learn more about AMIkids, please visit their website: http://www.amikids.org
So this leads me to why I NEED YOUR HELP!
The primary funding source for the AMIkids camps in SC is through the state budget. In the last 9 years, AMIkids has not received any increase in funding despite the rising costs of caring for these youth and the need to provide high-quality treatment and programs for them. As a result, one of the biggest areas of need for all AMIkids camps is that they have not been able to do any capital improvements or upkeep on their facilities. These camps house hundreds of our youth and they've been asked to do more for our state with much less than they are able to.
Well, the Lord has provided an opportunity for me to help one of these camps and I only need a little bit of support to make it happen. As some of you know, I am the Chapter Advisor for the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at the University of SC. This summer, they are getting new bedroom furniture put in their house and have generously agreed to donate 26 sets of bedroom furniture to AMIkids camps. 26 SETS! This means, 26 new (to them) beds, dressers, desks and chairs for the youth at an AMIkids camp and they are THRILLED! You can't understand what this means for the camp, but believe me that these young people come to AMIkids empty handed and often from really tough homes...this is a big deal to them :)
Now...we just need to get this furniture moved from Columbia to the AMIkids Piedmont Camp in Clinton, SC.
I contacted a friend of mine who runs Lange Moving Systems and he has agreed to help us get all of this moved at an incredibly generous and discounted rate. It's amazing what can happen when people work together...a sorority, a non-profit and a business all coming together to help some kids that really need to see that WE BELIEVE IN THEM and that they CAN have a BRIGHTER FUTURE!
So now, it's YOU'RE TURN to be part of making this happen! We need your help as we raise $2,000 to cover all of the expenses of this move. That's it!
I am asking you to consider giving something, anything you can contribute. Seriously, $5, $10, $50...all of it will help!
If you have any questions about AMIkids or why I'm involved, I am happy to answer them. I just ask you to help us help this incredible program as they work tirelessly to change the lives of 1,000's of our young people in SC. The future of these children depends on it...and really, the future of our state does, too.
SEPARATE A TROUBLED PAST FROM A BRIGHTER FUTURE!
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