Optimists learn about Nectar Project

Jill McHugh, the founder of the Nectar Project in Newberry, spoke to the Optimist Club of St. Andrews-Irmo on July 8.

After several years as Director of Palmetto Place in the Columbia area, she recently relocated to Newberry and is in the early stages of starting the Project. Its purpose is to provide counseling services for troubled youth.

McHugh related to the Optimists that rural communities are largely underserved in the area of youth counseling. For that and other factors, the news of the Project has been well-received in the community.

Like any startup, particularly a nonprofit, Nectar Project begins its work at absolute zero. That said, the first priority was to secure a space for the Project. Using social media, McHugh alerted the Newberry area of that physical need and in less than 48 hours, the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation offered its facilities.

McHugh will begin the Project with the help of an intern and plans to grow from that starting point. She plans to structure her services slightly differently from more established counseling. In most of those situations, the sessions last 30 minutes, are conducted every other week and have a lifespan of 12 total sessions. 

Nectar Project’s sessions will last from 45 minutes to an hour and will have no clear-cut expiration date.

McHugh is now in the process of reaching out to the community for financial support, which may come from institutions, individuals, corporations, and grants.

Picture are Optimist Club President Mike Myers, Jill McHugh, and speaker host Jim Turner, who presented the speaker with a copy of the Optimist Creed.