Optimists get update on Palmetto Place

On May 19, St. Andrews Optimists received an update on the work of Palmetto Place with a presentation from Laird Weaver, recently appointed Development Manager.

Weaver, who has become fluent in the operation of Palmetto Place in a very short time, addressed the mission and volunteer opportunities there.

Palmetto Place serves as a safe environment for unhoused youth whose options are either scarce or nonexistent. Referred by a variety of agencies, the youth are housed, fed, and served by a dedicated staff of volunteers. One aspect of services offered is transportation to and from school. The ages served are from 15 to 21 years old. There is no established duration of each client’s stay, which can last as long as several months.

In addition to the basic necessities of daily routines, clients are offered tutoring, help with homework, and help learning life skills. They cook, do laundry, and do housework around the facility. The structure Palmetto Place puts in motion is designed first to establish a daily norm that the youth can count on and over a period of time to ready them for independent living.

Several months ago, the Optimist Club began a series of financial literacy classes for the clients. The de facto “faculty” consists of a team of Optimists who work in the field of financial planning and education. As that program has developed and has gained the trust of the clients, those sessions are now very interactive. Recently, the team determined that Palmetto Place would benefit greatly from a library that not only focused on the financial aspects of independent living but also would address other life skills.

St. Andrews Optimists have been active with Palmetto Place for many years, but that interaction has mainly consisted of doing needed facility repairs and of holding cookouts for the clients. This new initiative has deepened the commitment on the part of the club to make as much difference as possible in the outcomes of the residents. If any Irmo News readers can offer books that might fit into the “life skills” area, they may contact Weaver by email at [email protected].

At the May 19 meeting, Optimist Roger Johansson presented Weaver with the first installment of hardcover books that will then grow incrementally. Johansson referred to the project as a “personal development library.”

Pictured:  Johansson and Blosser flank Weaver after she received a copy of the Optimist Creed.