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United Way, local businesses team up for renovation

Posted: August 4, 2015 4:02 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Tenell Felder/C-I

Volunteers take a break from working for a group photo at the Lil’ Angels Child Development Center. The group consisted of volunteers from Evangelistic Community Center, United Way of Kershaw County, Target Distribution Center, Habitat for Humanity KC and Lowes.

Friday, volunteers from the United Way of Kershaw County and various businesses joined forces to help renovate Lil’ Angels Child Development off of McRae Road in east Camden. The center is affiliated with 4K First Steps South Carolina and focuses on early childcare education.

“This is a part of our vision with the Lil’ Angels Development Center,” Evangelistic Community Center Pastor Vivian Dow Norwood said.

Norwood said she has seen firsthand how students benefit from Lil’ Angels, which is a part of the community center. Lil’ Angels Director Katie Dow said the purpose of the center is to prepare children to succeed in grade school and beyond.

“We’ve been here since 1999 (and) we are focusing on literacy for the children. Our main goal is to make sure that the children have a great foundation … so that when they enter public school or private school, they will be prepared, they won’t be behind in their education and they will be able to soar and become whatever they strive to be without having to struggle,” Dow said. “This is our first year starting our 4-year-old kindergarten program, so we are so excited about getting ready.”

In order to get the center ready, various businesses stepped in and partnered with the United Way to donate labor, tools and materials, according to United Way of Kershaw County Communications Director Pam Spivey.

“Lowes donated $500 worth of our material which really covered the majority of everything. Newman Furniture is putting carpet in the two large rooms and then Sherwin Williams has donated paint. Bob Gulledge, our board chair gave us that paint after he heard about what we were doing. We are really excited that the community partners with us and loves to give back as well,” Spivey said.

During the United Way’s recent Industrial Luncheon, Target Distribution Center representative Matt Sutokskiy spoke to Kershaw County industrial sites about his company’s previous work with Lil’ Angels.

Sutokskiy and his team helped renovate the kitchen, donated a new stove, repainted and secured cabinets, replaced door knobs, took up old flooring and installed new playground sets.

“We were lucky enough to get this project lined up by United Way. Pam contacted me as we were getting ready to get into our United Way Day of Caring season. She mentioned that there was this facility that was in need of help and asked me and the team to come out here to see what we could do -- as soon as we came out here we knew this was a need,” Sutokskiy said.

Friday morning, United Way volunteers along with Evangelistic Community Center members and Target team members returned to the center to help with painting, carpet installation and other projects. Among them were building a privacy fence for the center’s outdoor classroom and painting murals on the walls. Target team members installed a sidewalk for students and their parents to use.

All of the work will go into making sure students have a good learning environment.

“When they leave here, we want to make sure that they are able to read, do math and to problem solve. We work with them in the capacity of being able to work things out without having to have a teacher do everything for them,” Dow said. “We are open, we love children we are excited about what we do here. We just want to make sure they are nurtured … and that they always have someone who they can go to and get a big hug.” 

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