School district partnership helps build strong communities

By Kerry Coffey

man and woman holding an award; photo courtesy of the department of commerce

Almost 400 volunteers and more than 125 families are participating in the Strong Communities initiative to support families with young children through Anderson County School District1.

Developed by Clemson's Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, the initiative seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect by providing families with a community-based support network to help them cope with the challenges of raising young children.

Doris Cole, research assistant professor at the Institute, was responsible for recruiting the volunteers and families through the school district. She helped renovate the Williamston Action Community Center to provide a family support center and a hub for family activities.

"Dr. Cole has been instrumental in forming a partnership between Strong Communities and the Anderson School District 1 board," said Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler. "This partnership has resulted in more families in the community having a connection to someone who can help them." Because of her work, Cole received the Rural Educator of the Year award from the S.C. Department of Commerce.

For more information: Strong Communities, 864-688-2214, or www.clemson.edu/strongcommunities.