January 30, 2009

"SC Fatherhood Initiative"

January 27th, 2009: George Stevens introduced Beth Atkinson, the Coastal Major Gifts Director of the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families. She shared her insight into the problems that occur as a result of a family without a father and the positive impact that her organization is making. As a person who at six years of age was without her father, she certainly knew the need firsthand for what her organization provides.

The goal of the organization is to teach men to acknowledge their responsibility. The programs' training, referrals and support improves men's employment status, parenting, and family relationship by addressing 10 vital needs. These needs are Responsible Fatherhood, Spiritual Development, Effective Communication, Job Readiness and Employment, Understanding Child Support and the Legal System, Financial Management, Parenting and Co-Parenting, Healthy Relationships, Men's Health and Education and Referrals for Additional Services on a Case-By-Case Basis.

Men participate in weekly peer support group meetings, share meals and offer one another advice and lessons learned. The organization provides a time to be heard and to be real. All of the programs are about connecting fathers and their children to improve the quality of life of the child at that time and with future generations.

Ms. Atkinson introduced Johnathan Shuler, the Job Recruiter for the organization and he shared ways that they provide employment assistance to give the fathers a chance to become productive and increase their self-esteem. He shared that many fathers need an opportunity to have a job to demonstrate their responsibility not just to others but to themselves. This 24 week holistic program improves education, employment, sobriety, spirituality and healthy relationships which helps address needs now and sources of future problems.

The organization is primarily funded by the sisters of Charity. Like all organizations, they have been battling delivering services with budget cuts from state support. Ms. Atkins was very proud that $.89 of every dollar goes to provide services to fathers and their families.

Reported by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

January 23, 2009

"Coping with Dementia"

January 20th, 2009: Sally Hughes Smith, the local author of "The Circle -- A Walk with Dementia," spoke to our club last week about dementia. Her novel is a memoir of her personal experiences with dementia. Ms. Smith is an author, a painter, and a Duke graduate, who describes herself as a non-expert in dementia. While she may not be a scientist or researcher, Ms. Smith has had first hand experience with dementia in the form of two close family members. She gave a gently uplifting talk about coping with mental deterioration and remembering your own needs at the same time.

She also reminds us that dementia is nothing new. While diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's have probably been around for thousands of years, recent social patterns create new problems. When there are no longer multi-generations living under one roof, a child is under more pressure and faces more obstacles to assisting a family member who is facing dementia.

Smith does not attempt to sugar-coat the devastating process of mental deterioration, but she does put some humanity into the by-stander's experience. She reminds us that it is okay to laugh at yourself and your experiences. One should not take oneself too seriously, and should always remember to cherish each day. She relayed a simple story about how her aging mother would tell her over the phone that she was placing all of her odds and ends behind her "green sofa." Smith expected to find piles of things behind there on her next visit, but was surprised to find nothing. Now Smith uses the expression, "putting it all behind the green sofa" as a way to clear out junk from her mind when something just does not fit.

Smith's talk was moving and reassuring. We thank her for her providing her insight and for sharing her literary work. Ms. Smith's website, http://www.sallysmith.com/, showcases her other works.

Reported by Jackie Grau, Keyway Committee

January 16, 2009

YES Carolina!

January 13th, 2009: Jimmy Bailey , former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, brought us news of the Charleston based, YEScarolina, whose mission is to teach entrepreneurship to young South Carolinians of all socio-economic backgrounds and to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic and life skills. An offshoot of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, it is a non- profit organization created to offer South Carolina educators the opportunity to utilize a curriculum written by acclaimed business teacher Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE. From 2003 to 2008, 380 teachers have been trained. In 2009, YEScarolina will offer this training opportunity to 100 public school teachers without charge. The value of this scholarship is $1000.

The local group was spearheaded by Tommy Baker and Anita Zucker in 2004. It started in the city with the help of Mayor Riley and advanced statewide with the help of Bobby Harrell, state representative. In addition, a summer camp, BIZ CAMP, was sponsored by area Rotary Clubs and gave 15 local students three weeks to learn, polish and prepare a business plan for their own potential business venture.

Responding to the training course one teacher wrote, "Thanks so much for starting such a positive learning experience and fun course for the students to instantly apply to their lives!"

To learn more about, or assist with this program contact YEScarolina:
One Carriage Lane, Building G

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

January 11, 2009

"The Way You Watch TV Will Change ..."

January 6th, 2009: Dean Stephens did a fantastic job of filling in for his Channel 4 colleague, Victoria Hansen, on short-notice. Both are recognized local personalities and the message concerning the affects of the federal mandate to transition to "digital" no later than February 17th, 2009 came through loud and clear no matter who was holding the microphone.

As a sportscaster, Dean opened his talk with a "college football" bowl discussion to the delight (and chagrin) of our members depending on which teams were your picks. He quickly moved into a review of TV as we knew it:

- "Rabbit-ear, black & white, " the only remote was "Dad snapping his finger..."
- First coast-to-coast color transmission? "The Rose Bowl Parade" (1966)
- 2005: Congress mandates the transition to all - Digital TV: Why? We need to make room in the bandwidth spectrum for 1st responders and provide better TV color and clarity service to all customers.

The financial impacts to those few customers without satellite, cable, or other digital TV input may be mitigated by going to most electronic stores and asking for the 2 $40 coupons to which they are entitled to purchase the digital converter box.

Dean engaged our club in a robust, 20 minute Q&A that exceeded in scope, sports jokes, and serious assessments of the future of the TV industry any speaker in recent history.

Submitted by Bill Crowe, The Keyway Committee