Palmetto Project

Family, Youth & School Programs

The Palmetto Project sees healthy families, engaged young people, and vibrant schools as the cornerstones of effective communities.   Our initiatives provide thousands of vulnerable families with connections to social service agencies, support services, food, and even Christmas presents.  Evidence-based programs in early literacy and campus violence have translated into greater school readiness among the state’s youngest learners, and safer, more inclusive schools for our teenagers.

Current programs…

My First Books of South Carolina.  Nearly one-third of South Carolina children arrive in kindergarten without the literacy skills to master the material they need to move on to first grade.  Through our partnership with Dolly Parton and her Imagination Library, we are working to provide every South Carolina child under age five a free, developmentally-appropriate book each month.  BEGIN WITH BOOKS, our affiliated program in Charleston County, is one of the most successful examples of how this program can change children’s lives.

BEGIN WITH BOOKS.  BEGIN WITH BOOKS is changing thousands of lives in Charleston County SC by mailing books to babies and toddlers via Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Families who receive our books in the mail each month read with their children more often and spend more time reading and talking about books together.  These improved family reading habits strengthen a baby’s pre-literacy skills and reduce the word gap that exists between children from low- and higher-income families, sending children to school excited about reading and ready to learn.

Family Supply Network operates as a “hygiene bank” for non-profit organizations and agencies such as school districts, senior centers, and disabilities boards in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. Family Supply Network collects and redistributes personal care and household cleaning products such as shampoo, toilet paper, and laundry detergent to partner organizations, saving service providers’ valuable resources and allowing their clients to focus on bigger goals. By providing access to everyday essentials for low-income, homeless, and otherwise vulnerable populations, FSN hopes to improve their long-term health, wellbeing, and financial stability.

Families Helping Families. There has probably never been a real social “safety net” for vulnerable families and children in South Carolina.  One in three children in South Carolina cannot count on regular meals from day to day.  For 25 years, the Palmetto Project has provided a lifeline to families in crisis through its network of social service agencies and community-minded organizations across the state.  Many South Carolinians know FHF because of its Christmas programming that provides food, clothing, and Christmas gifts for nearly 3800 families with urgent and emergency needs.

Challenge Day.  A statewide survey once suggested that one-third of South Carolina teenagers feared for their physical safety while at school.   Challenge Day is a nationally-recognized non-profit initiative with whom we have partnered to provide interventions in high schools where issues of diversity have created tensions and campus bullying and even violence.  More than 75% of participating students say the program has helped them better understand their peers and make them more open to fellow students of different backgrounds.

Step UP Network. The mission of The Step UP Network is to improve economic opportunity for individuals living within the Tri-County region of South Carolina by providing educational and vocational trainings, case-management and support services, and employment opportunities through a collaborative network of regional employers.