Building Communities of Change

Deliberative Dialogue Facilitation – Civil Societies

Barbara Brown, CD Agent Sumter County, conducted and facilitated training for 430+ individuals during 37 National Issues Forums on the Benefits of Establishing Civil Societies. Additionally, she contracted with Global Horizons- a group out of Iowa to moderate 20 focus groups as part of the National Divided We Fail campaign.  Persons in attendance developed skills to engage others in meaningful conversations that will educate and influence the way they view societal issues.  The goal is for each one to reach one person and share their knowledge.

Darlington Carnegie Museum and Fine Arts Center Project

The historic Carnegie Library building is an important asset given to the Darlington community in 1922 through a donation from Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Carnegie’s donation to Darlington was one of thirteen for public libraries and today only five remain.  The Carnegie library in Darlington served as the town’s public library until the late 1980’s. The structure has been sitting idle deteriorating throughout the following years facing and neglect and decay.  The City of Darlington is now the owner of the building after several near misses by the wrecking ball and a number of public and private owners.

The City of Darlington contracted with our local Community Development Agent, Jennifer Boyles to facilitate and be a team leader to oversee and direct the restoration efforts.  The restoration and transformation of the Carnegie Library to the Darlington Carnegie Museum and Fine Arts Center will provide the following:

  •     A boost to the historical and cultural district in Darlington

  •     Community Pride and Sense of Accomplishment

  •     Educational opportunities for all citizens

Methamphetamine Awareness Task-force (MAT)

Monica Miller, our CD Agent for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Kershaw Counties serves as the convener and coordinator for the Meth Task Force. In the fall of 2007 LRDAC and members of the MAT mutually agreed that the Lexington /Richland Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council (LRDAC) would support and perpetuate the MAT group encapsulating their ideals into the LRDAC fold and naming them as a premier Community Advisory Council. Additionally the Task Force formed a speakers bureau and volunteered to go into the community and educate the public on the dangers of this formidable drug. The Task Force consist of twenty-five members and through its outreach efforts has reached over 5000 citizens.

Pendleton Farmers Market

The Pendleton Farmers Market is held on the historic village green in downtown Pendleton.  The market began in 2004 with a few vendors.  Since that time, it has continued to grow little by little.  Each year a few more vendors participated and a few more shoppers.  The length of the season was extended gradually. In the spring of 2007, the committee began to explore opportunities to improve the market.  With assistance from Clemson Extension, several changes were initiated.  These changes included:

  •     Committee meetings were held regularly.

  •     Earlier communications with vendors during the spring.

  •     A nominal fee was initiated - $3.00 per market session or $10.00 per four weeks. (The market was held every Thursday.)

  •     Extended the season – June 14 - Oct. 25, Thursday afternoons, 4:00-7:00 pm.

  •     Letters were sent to Extension mailing lists in Anderson, Oconee & Pickens counties.  News releases were sent to local newspapers.

  •     Farmers market vendors participated in the Harvest Festival for the first time.

  •     A survey was distributed to vendors requesting information concerning the amount of their sales.

As a result of these and other initiatives the following results were realized:

  •     Vendor applications increased 57 percent from previous year – 39/68

  •     Average daily vendors increased 59 percent from previous year – 16/27

  •     Highest vendor participation on one day was 32 on July 12.

  •     Average weekly vendor sales were $143 with a high of $400.

  •     40 market bags were sold.

  •     8 vendors participated in Harvest Festival.

  •     Income from the vendor fees was $1238.00.

Asset Development Institute – Beaufort County

The Clemson Extension office works extensively with other community organizations on collaborative community projects.  In 2007, a Together for Beaufort research initiative identified 16 objectives for improving Beaufort County.  One objective identified is reducing the number of Beaufort County children living in poverty as a significant project to help the lives of our residents as well as the entire community.  The Beaufort County Extension office hired a director to implement and manage the “Asset Development Institute” which is an educational program.  The Asset Development Institute addresses this objective by addressing the needs of the entire family.  The ADI provides a wide range of supportive strategies, education, and an asset account for families trying to move up the economic ladder.   More than 20 different agencies, educational institutions, government entities, major funders, business representatives, faith based organizations and community volunteers have come together collaboratively to make this program a success.

We have currently enrolled 17 families.  Weekly sessions include opportunities for the children to participate in 4-H programs, learn cooking skills, and explore financial management.  Adults receive case management support and financial management education.  Our first class will be graduating at the end of 2008.

Greenwoood County – Keep America Beautiful

Greenwood county through Clemson Extension Service Agent Ernest Church has been given certification through the parent non-profit, Keep America Beautiful of North America. This certification came with a $10,000 grant. Local citizens meeting in Greenwood, formed a non-profit 501C3 first, then wrote a mission statement, bylaws, and elected officers. The officers elected a board. The board developed 3 major objectives: 1. to promote recycling education in all 3 school districts.. 2. Reduce litter in the county. 3. Conserve our natural resources by developing a recycling program in all 3 school districts.

  • Outcome for goal 1: To reduce the amount of solid waste dumped in the new landfill saving county residents up to 3 million dollars over the life of the project

  • Outcome for goal 2:  To increase the perception that county residents take pride in their public lands. Also it promotes Economic Development by presenting potential litter free properties as excellent choices for relocation/ new plant construction etc

  • Outcome for Goal 3:  To increase young people’s awareness of how waste can be reduced, reused and recycled saving this country’s valuable resources.