Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless [MACH] chose Palmetto Place for this month's Agency Member Spotlight. They interviewed our Director of Case Management, Jill Lawson. See below for the interview. Click here to check out MACH's website.
Q. When was Palmetto Place founded?
The agency was founded by the Junior Woman's Club of Columbia in the 1970’s.
Q. What is the main mission for Palmetto Place?
We provide abused and neglected children a safe and nurturing environment. We also started sheltering unaccompanied teens. We provide the support needed to help youth formulate future goals.
Q. What resources do you provide?
In addition to housing, we provide the life skills necessary to instill independent and proactive lifestyles to all who stay here. We provide lessons in budgeting, job applications, and much more.
Q. How many children can Palmetto Place accommodate?
A maximum of 20 youth can be served at one time. Sixteen beds are reserved for youth who are referred by Department of Social Services. The remaining four beds are reserved for unaccompanied youth I n a program funded by United Way of the Midlands.
Q. What makes a child an unaccompanied youth?
They are on their own. They do not have an adult guardian or family member caring for them.
Q. How long do unaccompanied youth typically stay at Palmetto Place?
They typically live at Palmetto Place until they graduate from high school. We make sure they have a plan for their future before leaving Palmetto Place and keep it touch with them regularly.
Q.What kind of circumstances brings unaccompanied youth to Palmetto Place?
The circumstances vary case by case. Youth may be unaccompanied due to abuse, illness, death of a parent, or a number of other reasons.
Q. What is your favorite success story while working at Palmetto Place?
Having one of their students begin her second year of college with her very own car. With the guidance and support of the Palmetto Pla ce staff, she was able to gain the necessary knowledge for a car loan and work two jobs over the summer to save for her car.
Q. What are your growing concerns?
Palmetto Place is the only emergency shelter for children for the Midlands and there is a growing need for more beds and resources.
Q. What have you learned while working at Palmetto Place?
I learned so much from these children about resilience. No matter what level of darkness these kids endure, they are able to find light to carry on.