Jasmine Road – The Power of Love to Change a Life

    Jasmine Road – The Power of Love to Change a Life

    “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!

    Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Department

    Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Department

    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.

    2023 MLK Day Events

    2023 MLK Day Events

    Greenville County


    “MLK Dream” Poetry Slam: Social Justice Poetry
    Janurary 11th, 7pm-9pm

    Coffee Underground
    1 East Coffee Street Greenville, SC 29601

    Event Website


    Poets perform and offer an OPEN MIC where members of the audience can share their ideas about issues facing our nation and world.


    MLK Community Breakfast
    Janurary 13th, 8am-10am

    Furman University Melvin and Dollie Younts Conference Center

    Event Website


    Community Breakfast with Dr. Eddie R. Cole


    MLK Jr. Celebration Luncheon
    Janurary 16th, 11:30am

    Greer City Hall

    Event Website


    Community Breakfast with Dr. Eddie R. Cole


    MLK Day of Service
    Janurary 16th, 9am-12pm

    Greer City Hall

    Event Website

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023

    In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service, United Way is
    partnering with the City of Greenville, Greenville County’s Litter Ends Here and PalmettoPride to
    organize neighborhood cleanups across our community. (Volunteer)


    REEMGVL’s King Day Forum on Economic Justice
    Janurary 16th, 6pm

    Phillis Wheatley Community Center
    40 John McCarroll Way Greenville, SC 29607

    Event Website


    Join the Greenville Racial Equity & Economic Mobility (REEM)
    Commission for a special community event focusing on income and wealth.


    Spartanburg County


    Unity Walk and 5K Run
    Janurary 18th, 9am

    Spartanburg Community College’s Downtown Campus

    Event Website


    5K run celebrates and renews the community’s shared sense of belonging


    Day of Service
    Janurary 20th
    Event Website


    The City and United Way of the Piedmont partner to help further Dr. King’s legacy by
    celebrating Jan. 20 as it was intended — not as a day “off,” but rather a day “on,” and a day
    committed to community volunteer service.


    MLK Jazz Celebration
    Janurary 6th, 7pm

    Cleveland Park
    141 North Cleveland Park Drive Spartanburg, SC 29303

    Event Website


    Come celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with this Jazz Celebration!


    Press Conference
    Janurary 9th, 5pm

    Front steps of City Hall
    145 W. Broad Street

    Event Website



    Art Reception
    Janurary 13th, 6pm

    Mayfair Art Studios
    1885 Hayne Street

    Event Website



    Walk As One
    Janurary 14th, 9am

    Spartanburg County Admin Building
    366 N Church Street

    Event Website



    United Way Day of Service
    Janurary 16th
    Event Website

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023


    MLK Unity Celebration
    Janurary 20th, 6:30pm

    Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

    Event Website


    The celebration includes keynote speaker Dr. Adolf Brown III, music from the Sounds of
    Diversity Choir & Orchestra, the MLK Awards for Humanitarian Excellence and announcement
    of the poster and photo contest winners held throughout all Spartanburg County Schools.


    Anderson County


    Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
    Janurary 16th, 5pm

    Anderson Sports & Entertainment Center
    3027 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Anderson, SC 29625

    Event Website

    Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

    Community MLK Birthday Celebration hosted by Anderson County Ministers Organization with keynote speaker Darrin Henson.


    MLK Day Chapel
    Janurary 17th, 11am

    Reardon Auditorium

    Event Website

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

    Community comes together to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Using this time to renew commitment to the ongoing work of social justice and racial equity.



    RIZE Prevention

    RIZE Prevention

    Saving Teens in the Upstate from the Rising Tide of Addiction!

    Did you know that teens in our community report that 3 out of 10 of their middle school friends are vaping or experimenting with substances?

    Did you know this number grows to approximately 8 out of 10 among high school students?

    Teen substance use has become our country’s #1 public health crisis.

    While working at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office 5 years ago, our founder and CEO, Martine Helou-Allen, had a vision that every teen- and their family- live free from drug use and addiction. After years of passion and research, she created RIZE Prevention in June 2021.RIZE Prevention offers innovative, evidence-based prevention and early intervention programs as a solution to the rising tide of addiction that is compromising the quality of life of our youth and their families today. Our mission is to empower teens to resist drug use and make healthy lifestyle choices.

    Our future, and that of our communities, depends on today’s prevention efforts. Substance dependency is a chronic problem, therefore why not prevent it from ever happening in the first place? RIZE’s programs have been developed in partnership with federal government agencies, in addition to the SC State Department of Education, using the latest prevention science research and recommendations. Our programs “go upstream” and reach teens before they experiment with or initiate drug use. RIZE approaches teens with respect and encouragement. We seek to empower them by giving them knowledge about drug use and active resistance skills, but also enlightening them to why they may be seeking substances to solve their emotional issues, and how this “self-medicating” can lead them to a life of addiction.

    iRIZE in Schools

    RIZE Prevention’s iRIZE Program in middle schools changes kids’ mindsets about substance use. We teach them that drug use shouldn’t be considered a “rite of passage”, a means to gain autonomy, or a risk-free way to address their emotional needs. The iRIZE Program is designed to support a young teen’s journey of development by engaging their power of choice and providing them with support and skills to resist drugs and live positive lives.

    Components of the iRIZE program include:

    • Motivational presentations
    • Mentorship
    • Important life skills guidance
    • Parent resources
    • Mental/behavioral health resources and financial assistance
    • iRIZE Club

    This 2022-2023 School year iRIZE is at the following middle schools in the Upstate:

    • Hillcrest Middle School
    • Berea Middle School
    • Greer Middle School
    • Woodmont Middle School
    • Laurens Middle School
    • Gray Court-Owings Middle School
    • Hickory Tavern Middle School
    • Sanders Middle School


    Support RIZE Prevention: Help reach more teens in the Upstate!

     Visit our website at rizemovement.org and join our email list to find out more information and get news about events, volunteer opportunities, or corporate sponsorships. Or you can donate online and help save the lives of teens facing the battle against drug use and addiction in the upstate of South Carolina. Your donation will go towards being able to provide more middle schools in the upstate with the iRIZE Program.

    Check out our website rizeprevention.org and follow us on social media!

    The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Spartanburg

    The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Spartanburg

    The Children’s Museum of the Upstate (TCMU) began as the dream of a group of mothers who were committed to creating a world-class, play-based learning space for young children in the Upstate region of South Carolina. That dream became a reality when the Greenville location opened in 2009.

    Today, TCMU offers two locations, one in Greenville and Spartanburg, that together provide exceptional educational experiences to over 200,000 visitors annually. Guided by a mission of igniting a community of compassionate problem solvers through intentional and inclusive play, TCMU was also the first children’s museum to be recognized as a Smithsonian Affiliate.

    In 2017, community leaders in Spartanburg, SC felt the community needed an intentional space designed to support early childhood development and Kindergarten readiness. With significant community support, TCMU-Spartanburg opened in May 2018. This museum location houses 6,000 square feet of exhibit and learning space designed to support children ages 0-6.

    For those who have never visited TCMU-Spartanburg, when you enter the white brick building on Magnolia Street, you immediately enter a space full of color, unique play structures and a profound sense of joy and wonder. Most young children make a beeline for Duke Energy’s Treehouse, an exhibit that allows children to climb into a tall tree and learn about the ecosystem of South Carolina. They might then head to the Spartanburg Regional Health Center and play ‘doctor’ with the life-size operation table. Imaginative play is encouraged throughout all of TCMU-Spartanburg’s immersive exhibits–as children imagine themselves as medical professionals or pretend to check out groceries at the nearby Farm to Table Fun market. This type of play builds important social and developmental skills, in an exciting way for young learners.

    As you make your way to the museum’s lower level, you will hear water splashing at the Spartanburg Water tables. Children can fill up buckets, spray water and tinker with boats at this hands-on exhibit. It is certainly a family favorite! For families with children under 1, spaces on both floors provide soft cushions for crawling and playing with toys. These areas provide prompts that display the Palmetto Basics–practical skills such as “Talk, Sing & Point” or “Explore through Movement & Play”. These are key ways for parents to help encourage brain growth–of which 80% occurs before the age of 3–and help foster school readiness.

    Families can also participate in free programming through Open Art, Story Time & More and the museum’s think-tank lab, steamWORKS Jr. These offerings are designed to excite young minds through deeper engagement and intentional learning opportunities. Every week, TCMU staff centers programming around a theme–with some favorites of the past year being, Scientific Senses and Whimsical Weather.

    New this year, TCMU-Spartanburg launched Pop-Up Classrooms. These classes were structured to teach rising Kindergarteners (3K-5K) important skills for the classroom, such as raising their hand, or using their inside voice. Each session focused on a different skill and provided engaging activities in a classroom-style setting. Through a generous grant from South Carolina First Steps, young learners also took home free books every week during the 10-week program.

    TCMU-Spartanburg also welcomed over 1,300 guests to four family events in 2022. Countdown to Kindergarten was hosted on August 5, in conjunction with a statewide celebration. This is a free annual event that celebrates the start of Kindergarten. The event invited local partners to provide resources for families about early childhood education, back-to-school habits and a variety of other information. Children participated in activities geared at building fine motor skills–such as how to carry a lunch tray and how to get on a school bus!

    Additionally, TCMU-Spartanburg hosted three seasonal events – BunnyBurg on April 16, Trick-or-Treat on October 29 and World WONDERLand on December 10. These events offered a special moment to celebrate each season and engage in creative and festive crafts and activities in a unique space.

    Beyond the museum’s walls, TCMU-Spartanburg widely extended its efforts into the greater Spartanburg and Upstate community. With support from the Foundation for the Carolina’s Longleaf Fund, TCMU-Spartanburg’s On-the-Go program brought its educational programming to various community events, schools and libraries–meeting families where they live, work and play. Specific outreach efforts in 2022 included the BMW Charity Pro-AM, The Spartanburg Soaring! International Kite Festival and Dickens of a Christmas. TCMU-Spartanburg has served over 2,500 individuals through these efforts and is excited to extend this reach even farther in 2023, with the help of a newly awarded grant from the Mary Black Foundation.

    At the onset of 2022, TCMU rallied behind the mantra “Big Plans, Bright Futures.” We set out to open new exhibits, provide exceptional experiences through programming and events, encourage Kindergarten readiness and expand our offerings to communities in need. Because of the support of incredible community partners, returning member families, new visitors, and a team of dedicated board and staff members, 2022 has been a big year of many bright highlights for TCMU-Spartanburg.

    As we look towards 2023, our work continues in creating bright futures for children across the Upstate. We know that the intentional encouragement of young minds can positively impact the future of our community, and TCMU seeks to provide these meaningful learning opportunities. Together, we can help foster the dreams of our community’s future thinkers, creatives, leaders & change-makers.

    USC Upstate

    USC Upstate

    If post-high school education opens doors of opportunity and advancement, shouldn’t we make sure it’s accessible to everyone? This belief is the driving force behind the USC Upstate Greenville Campus, located at the University Center of Greenville.

    And if we are going to make education accessible, we have to meet students where they are. Twenty percent of adults in the Upstate have some college experience but no degree. For whatever reason—work, finances, family, health, COVID—they halted their education.

    A team of USC Upstate faculty and staff was formed with the purpose of understanding the reasons so many students “stopped out.” They identified the major barriers to higher education for adults and created programs at the Greenville Campus to address them.

    1. Adults have work and family obligations. Greenville programs are hybrid or fully online so you can keep working while you study. Students who come in with an associates degree can enter USC Upstate Greenville as a junior, but any student with any level of credits can benefit from degree completion programs.
    2. Career advancement is a hurdle if you don’t have a credential. At the end of the day, the employee with a degree or certificate is going to win out over the one who doesn’t. Because you also need to keep working to keep your career on track, Greenville’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees are hybrid and online. USC Upstate faculty are also building certificate and training programs to fit the demands of local industry.
    3. It can be challenging/intimidating/confusing (insert whatever word you’re feeling here) to go back to school as an adult. With that in mind, the Greenville campus includes all the one-on-one advising and academic support you’ll need, with a team experienced in working with adults. You won’t feel out of place.
    4. Education is expensive. Financial aid and scholarships aren’t just for teens coming out of high school, and USC Upstate tuition rates are extremely competitive. Online programs also include condensed semesters, so you earn your degree quicker. Less time toward a degree equals less cost.

    While one of the driving forces of the Greenville Campus is reengaging students who have stopped out of school, adults who have earned an associates degrees and want to grow their careers can also benefit by entering into a bachelor’s degree program as a junior.

    And Greenville staff want to partner with Upstate businesses. Partnerships could include easy pathways for employees to use tuition credits, on-site college advising for employees, the creation of certificates and trainings to fit organizational needs, and even academic cohorts if there are enough employees who want to have an in-person class together.

    Education should be accessible to everyone. USC Upstate is listening to what community members need and finding solutions. Economic mobility and workforce readiness are hot topics for everyone right now. We can—and will—address both issues with more equitable access to education.