The city of Loris’ longest running civic organization, the Loris Civitan Club, has always been a hospitable group, and its June 28 regular meeting was no exception.
The club, closing in on its 78th year of service to the Loris community, meet at Backyard BBQ at 5107 Main St. every second and fourth Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. The club hosted Myrtle Beach Civitan members and guest speaker Kathy Jenkins, Executive Director of New Directions of Myrtle Beach.
Civitan president Billy Jordan welcomed everyone and introduced officers and members of the Myrtle Beach Civitan Club and the guest speaker. Following the reciting of the Civitan Creed, the group enjoyed a meal and fellowship followed by Jenkins’ informative message about what New Directions is all about and whom they serve.
Jenkins explained that New Directions operates four shelters under one umbrella: New Directions for Men (formerly Street Reach); New Directions for Women (formerly Life Line); New Directions for Families (formerly Myrtle Beach Haven); and New Directions Transition for Women and Children (formerly The Center for Women and Children).
The core of the program provides recovery classes, job readiness classes, permanent housing assistance and long-term case management, which supports the reduction of homelessness rather than survival within the circumstances.
“We teach anything from classes on self-confidence to anger management,” Jenkins said. “We teach them how to write a résumé, how to apply for jobs online and how to write letters. We even provide a letter of recommendation once they graduate from the class.”
“We’re not giving handouts. We’re helping people regain their financial footing, regain their self-confidence and become self-sufficient by giving them the tools and resources that they need.”
New Directions has provided shelter for 997 men, women, and children and served 53,007 meals during the past two years.
But Jenkins said those numbers aren’t the real yardsticks of success. According to the organization’s website, http://helpnewdirections.org, more than 900 people have enrolled in the Back to Work/Back to Life Program; 504 people have found jobs; 182 people have graduated from Job Readiness classes; and 353 people have moved into permanent housing.
Another 245 who were not direct clients have moved into permanent housing through New Directions’ partnership with the Myrtle Beach Housing Authority; 53 families have been saved from eviction and homelessness and145 people, including four children, have been reunited with families or a support system outside of Myrtle Beach.
Life Line is another former shelter now under New Directions’ wing, serving women who are in crisis. In most cases, these are women who are homeless due to domestic violence, other abuse or crime.
In 2014 and 2015, Life Line served 135 women and 105 children and continues to be a place where women can get help.
Myrtle Beach Haven is the newest shelter under New Directions’ leadership. It serves homeless families in the community, serving single men and women, children in domestic violence situations, victims of other crimes, transitional families and homeless teenagers.
All women with children are now served at this shelter. “We’re expanding the realm of who we’re able to serve, to encompass everybody until we’re at capacity,” said Jenkins. “We want to be the central agency where, no matter what your homeless situation is, no matter who you are or what your circumstance is, that there’s one place you can call, and we can get you shelter.”
One of the keys to the agency’s successes is Street Reach Enterprises, a temporary labor agency that began in 2012. It has maintenance contracts with the City of Myrtle Beach and other businesses to help get people back to work.
Jobs include landscaping, laundry services, and other short-term labor opportunities with the several local hotels and restaurants. For more information on New Directions, contact Kathy Jenkins at 843-945-4902. New Directions and its shelters are United Way organizations.
Myrtle Beach Civitan President Kirby Hood said, “We really enjoy coming out to Loris and meeting with other Civitan groups and we appreciate the invitation and the great meal.”
Hood invited everyone to Civitan Night at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Ballpark on July 26.
The Loris Civitans are always looking out for new, young men and women to join the historic club who were again busy in the early morning last weekend placing American flags in downtown Loris.
To join up with the active group contact president Billy Jordan at 843-756-2408, president-elect Tommy Waddell, secretary Laverne Ward, or treasurer Larry Dawsey. Also Clyde Richardson, Charles Webster at 843-756-4300, Jimmy Powell and Paul Prince would be glad to assist anyone desiring to become a Civitan member.
Original Article by Lacy Hardee on myhorrynews.com