On Saturday, April 27, 2013, a group of students from the KRA/Lower Savannah, SC Youth Employability and Success (YES) Program*, volunteered at the 2013 Tri-County Veteran Stand Down, held at the YMCA in Orangeburg. KRA/YES has been supporting the SCWorks Disabled Veteran Outreach Program since the 2012 KRA Community Care Day Campaign, Support Our Troops. For that initiative, KRA/YES lent its support by collecting hundreds of toiletry items…toothpaste, toothbrushes, Q-tips, lotion, washcloths, soap, etc…and donating the large “care basket” to Gene Gartman, Sgt. First Class (U.S. Army Retired) and Ms. Donna Greene, SCWorks Veterans Supervisor, both of whom worked tirelessly to make the 2013 Veterans Stand Down the successful event that it turned out to be.
The Stand Down, the second largest community Veterans event for which KRA/YES staff and students volunteered, is attended and supported by a host of community agencies and businesses that provide services to Veterans. During the Stand Down, Goodwill provided clothing vouchers for the Veterans; the Department of Veterans Affairs gave away sleeping bags for those who are homeless or living in shelters; Dr. M. A. Ansari of Orangeburg offered free dental services; the Family Health Center checked Veterans’ vital signs; and the SC Department of Employment and Workforce provided job-search services. Other service-provider agencies and businesses included KRA’s client, the Lower Savannah Council of Governments; the Horger/Connor Law Firm; The Samaritan House; The Salvation Army; The Orangeburg Free Clinic; SC Vocational Rehabilitation; South Carolina Legal Services; Suicide Prevention; and Hammond Barber/Hairstyles.
The KRA/YES student participants… David Amaker, 20; Bobby Dukes, 18; Justin Edmonds, 23; Stevie Pelzer, 18; and Kimberly Stiltz, 21…volunteered in 4-hour increments, and were treated to lunch from Chick-fil-A, a free Stand Down T-shirt, and a gas voucher. Jahkesha Abraham, KRA/YES Program Manager, who was onsite all day, commented “the students really had a good time and did a great job volunteering wherever they were needed.”
*The KRA/YES Program, which serves young WIA-eligible jobseekers referred by local SCWorks Career Centers, supports youth facing significant challenges in gaining employment by providing a mix of services, including intensive case management; group and individual career counseling and planning; short-term pre-vocational services; and formal employability and work-maturity skills training. The KRA/YES Program recruits and partners with local public- and private-sector employers to develop jobs and/or specialized training opportunities, including apprenticeships, occupational-skills development, OJTs, and entrepreneurship training.