Optimist Club of St. Andrews Explores District 5 Initiatives

Julius Scott, the Community Support Coordinator for District 5, was the featured speaker at the Optimist Club of St. Andrews’ meeting on January 5. In his role as a “department of one,” Scott outlined the district’s mission to “love and grow our students,” emphasizing the challenges faced by young people in underserved communities.

Acknowledging the disparities within District 5, which encompasses both affluent and underserved areas, Scott highlighted the need for targeted efforts in nurturing growth, particularly among students facing economic challenges. He shared a concerning statistic that only three percent of young individuals in poverty complete college by the age of 25, prompting the question of what legacy the community wishes to be known for.

Scott recognized the significant amount of time students spend outside of school hours and expressed his determination to impact that crucial period. Focusing on engagement between 3 PM and 8 PM, Scott aims to create positive interactions during this time frame to address the existing imbalance.

One notable initiative was the Harbison Gardens Block Party organized in September 2023. This event, blending a classic gathering with a trade show atmosphere, showcased resources for lifestyle enhancement. Vendors demonstrated ways to interact with students during after-school hours, fostering awareness and turning after-school programs into a tangible reality for the Harbison Gardens community.

Building on the success of the September event, Scott plans another Block Party on March 24, involving the same vendors and service providers. The goal is to further engage the community and continue the momentum in creating meaningful after-school programs.

In partnership with the YMCA, Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, and Universal Outreach Church, a recruitment drive for after-school programs is scheduled for February, reinforcing the commitment to positively impact the lives of students in District 5. The Optimist Club of St. Andrews looks forward to supporting and promoting these initiatives that aim to uplift and empower the local youth.

Pictured are Club President Kerry Powers, Scott, and speaker sponsor Billy Colucci. Scott was presented with a copy of the Optimist Creed.