James Nelson shared updates and information on initiatives that focus on litter removal, and “Keeping Spartanburg Beautiful”. To learn more about Spartanburg County’s Environmental Enforcement Department, click the link above.
“I feel like Rooted in Love isn’t just a fake catchphrase here. You can really feel it,” said one Jasmine Road resident, smiling broadly from her chosen spot on the living room couch. “I can’t explain it, it’s just the love, the love.”
We truly believe in the transformative power of love; and time and time again, the women of Jasmine Road tell us that love really makes the difference for them — and this difference can mean life or death for the women we serve.
Love is truly at the heart of everything we do at Jasmine Road. The women here are offered unconditional love and the opportunity to flourish, and many, for the first time in their lives. Our program provides women with a sanctuary where they can start to heal, hope, and dream again, surrounded by a lifelong support network that is Rooted in Love.
Our most recent survivor-made candle that was launched last year is focused on that same love. In naming the candle, the women wrote these words about their experience at Jasmine Road and what love means to them:
“When I walked into this community, their arms were open and their hearts were free and there was no cost and no judgment. They are always like ‘let me love you until you see how to love yourself’. The women in this community have never given up on me and God never gave up on me, so I have no reason to give up on me.”
Jasmine Road is South Carolina’s first long-term program designed specifically for adult women survivors of sex trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Our mission is to heal and employ women survivors, one life at a time. We do that by offering two years of safe housing, basic needs, mental and physical healthcare, therapy, time and space to heal, life and job skills training, and meaningful employment. More than 50 community partners join us in this work by providing much-needed trauma informed services to support each survivor’s comprehensive and individualized care plan.
Our unique social enterprise component gives women a safe, nurturing environment to learn sustainable job skills and find independence and economic mobility. Since launching our program in 2018, residents and graduates have booked more than 15,000 hours working at Jasmine Road and Jasmine Kitchen, our social enterprise lunch cafe, and in our jewelry and candle businesses.
To date, 100% of Jasmine Road graduates are in long-term sobriety, are safely housed, and are employed full-time. Many of the graduates are working in the Jasmine Road residential program and in the social enterprises, and several are employed by other organizations in the community.
One recent 2022 graduate worked full-time for Jasmine Road’s social enterprise lunch cafe Jasmine Kitchen, after completing culinary school at Truist Culinary & Hospitality Innovation Center, and recently accepted another position in the community. After graduation from Jasmine Road, she took on the parenting of her teenage daughter who lives with her full-time in housing as part of Homes of Hope’s affordable housing program. With more than two years of sobriety under her belt, she says at 50 years old she’s never going back to the life she led before. During her time at Jasmine Road, she participated in a workforce development program with Goodwill Industries and United Ministries, where she also took financial wellness classes and took advantage of a savings match program through Jasmine Road social enterprises. With her savings, she was able to purchase a car after getting her driver’s license reinstated. Her time at Jasmine Road also provided her with free trauma-informed therapy and medical care including a mammogram and colonoscopy, as well as extensive dental work, which ultimately helped her become an advocate for her own healthcare. The network of support at Jasmine Road and Jasmine Kitchen along with her addiction recovery community has been a foundation for her success and accomplishments.
By supporting our mission, you are helping us provide more women in our community with the opportunity for healing and real life change. The need is great for our program as we have received more than 300 applications for residency since Jasmine Road opened the doors of its first safe home in 2018.
We invite you to join us – visit our website at jasmineroad.org to learn more and be our guest for lunch at Jasmine Kitchen (503 Augusta Street, Greenville, SC 29605). All of our social enterprise products are made by the residents and graduates of Jasmine Road with love and the hope that more women in our community will find their way home, are available online at jasminekitchen.org. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
History/Creation of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Department
The Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Department was formed in 2000.
At that time, Animal Control and Litter Control were brought together for the purpose of being good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars while also utilizing all available resources. Then, in 2006, four Property Maintenance Inspectors were moved from the Building Codes Division to our team. In 2018, the Keep OneSpartanburg Beautiful Coordinator position was created, and, in 2020, a County employee Roadside Litter Crew was added.
Our department strives every day to meet and accomplish the goals and the vision set by our County Council. Our staff has always had an unpublished mission statement of “Where do you need us to go, what do you need us to do?” This department has served as a model throughout the state for other counties to emulate and adjust to their needs.
Property Maintenance Division
Our Property Maintenance Division consists of one Senior Officer and five field officers. The current major focus of this division is a joint effort to remove blighted areas—mainly structures and blighted properties, while also focusing on cleaning up our county’s gateways.
Spartanburg County’s leaders and elected officials understand that, to have growth, there must be reason for growth to happen. Areas with blight generally do not grow. Our leaders have never ignored the fact that we have blight in our county and removing that blight has always been at the forefront of their minds. In fact, removing blight has become a key part of our County’s most recent Strategic Vision Plan. In an effort to support this vision, we recently removed two large abandoned and nuisance commercial properties and are currently working to remove many other unsafe structures.
Litter Control Division
Our Litter Control Division consists of one frozen Senior Officer position and five field officers. Early on, our leaders understood the need to have resources addressing the crime of littering. These officers use many different tactics to address issues, such as field surveillance cameras, special details, community awareness programs, etc.
The newest program is a joint effort with the City of Spartanburg, United Way of the Piedmont, SC Works, Hope Ministries, PalmettoPride and various private groups. It is called our “Litter Heroes” program. This is a 90-day program which currently employs up to four individuals, who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability, to work in a litter crew as employees. These individuals will earn a wage of approximately $12 an hour and will work approximately 25 hours a week with their assigned agency. While going through the program, these individuals also receive case management and life skills training. The program has graduated nine individuals, with three of those individuals becoming officially employed with Spartanburg County.
Animal Control Division
Our Animal Control Division consists of one Senior Officer, a newly created Animal Cruelty Investigator position, and six field officers. Of all of our divisions, this division receives the most calls for service, on a daily average.
Spartanburg County is currently in the process of building a Pet Resource Center. This would be the first of its kind in our County, as Spartanburg County has always contracted out the animal sheltering portion. Currently, we are partnered with Greenville County Animal Care and have been working with them for the past 11 years. The Greenville County staff has been and continues to be very helpful in this process. Greenville County helped us establish our feral cat program, in which we partner with Animal Allies, a low cost spay/neutering facility. This program is nearing 10,000 surgeries on outdoor community felines.
As part of the planned Pet Resource Center’s team, Spartanburg County recently created our first Animal Cruelty Investigator to tackle the in-depth animal cruelty cases we face. We are also looking to hire a Director of Animal Welfare Services to head our Pet Resource Center. Our next steps will be to secure a site for the Center and begin putting safety net programs into place.
Keep OneSpartanburg Beautiful Division
The Keep OneSpartanburg Beautiful (KOSB) Division is new to our team and consists of the Coordinator position. In 2022, we hosted 45 events and collected 14,997 pounds of litter and 14,200 pounds of recycling from Spartanburg County. In 2023, we’re looking to double our hosted events.
This year, we hope to expand our focus on educational projects and workshops. During the last week of January, we finished our Recycling into Art Mosaic Project with Woodland Heights Elementary School. KOSB and Spartanburg Soil and Water Conservation District will seek design concepts from Spartanburg County artists to enhance selected storm drains along the Butterfly Creek Greenway on the Northside of Spartanburg, SC. Selected artists will turn their concepts into reality in the form of small-scale, semi-permanent, outdoor murals that will adorn Spartanburg County storm drains, raising awareness, and educating the public about the effects of stormwater runoff on water quality.
Another exciting event that we will need everyone’s participation in is the Team-up to Clean-up Litter Competition. The Keep SC Beautiful affiliates in seven counties in the Upstate have organized the Team-up to Clean-up Litter Competition from April 1st – 22nd.
Ten at the Top (TATT) is pleased to announce the addition of Anna-Elyse Lewis Abrams to the position of Communications Coordinator. Her role centers around TATT’s mission to increase collaborative capacity across the 10 counties of the upstate by highlighting the efforts and initiatives of the organization, as well as those of its partners and sponsors. Additionally, she will serve as the primary point of contact for media inquiries, coordinate outreach efforts, draft in-house publications, and devise strategic marketing campaigns that amplify and elevate TATT’s messaging.
A graduate of USC Upstate, Anna-Elyse brings with her a background of communications and marketing in local government and community development, having served as the Communications Specialist for the City of Spartanburg. She is a lifelong resident of Spartanburg, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and performing with local community theatres.
“We are pleased to have Anna-Elyse join the Ten at the Top team,” said TATT Executive Director Dean Hybl. “Her background in communications and familiarity with the region will be very valuable as we continue to build connections and the collective capacity of the Upstate.” “Ten at the Top is doing such great work to connect and strengthen the Upstate.” said Lewis Abrams, “I am so excited to join those efforts, and amplify the message of this organization’s inspiring mission alongside an incredible team.”
About Ten at the Top: Comprised of public, private, and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top connects and encourages regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular gatherings of leaders and residents to address key regional issues. TATT works with local partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning that enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents today and as the region continues to grow.