Project HOPE Children's Play featured in Index Journal

A little more than a year ago, Jill Ginn’s son, Luke, was unable to speak or eat solid foods.

Luke, 4, falls on the autism spectrum, and learning and interacting with others can be a challenge.

On Wednesday, Jill watched as Luke took the stage and spoke in front of a crowd of people during a play put on by Project Hope — something she said would have been hard to imagine not long ago.

“Since he’s been here, they potty trained him within one day,” Jill said. “It’s been amazing. He speaks in full sentences. He doesn’t read, but he memorizes the pages every three days so they have to change his books every three days. It’s just amazing. I don’t know what we would have done without them.”

As part of the production, Luke and 13 other children on the autism spectrum, sang, danced and spoke to the crowd of loved ones who gathered at Project Hope.

Project Hope, a nonprofit that specializes in helping children with autism, opened its Greenwood location in September 2016 at the former Merrywood Elementary School site.

Jill said since it came to Greenwood, the organization has been a godsend for her and her family.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about them here,” she said. “It’s been a complete blessing. I’m thankful.”

Niki Porter, the Greenwood clinic coordinator, said the play gave the children a chance to showcase their progress to their loved ones.

“I think what sometimes happens is, with these kids in other situations when people don’t know how to get them through stuff like this, they don’t really get to participate,” Porter said. “That’s something we try to avoid. So we try to showcase everyone’s individual talents. Even if they’re just sitting up there and smiling, that’s an improvement for a lot of our kids. They wouldn’t have been able to be in this room because of all the stimulation a year ago.”

The children began rehearsing the play about a week and a half ago, Porter said, starting with listening to the music and gradually learning the motions and lines as they progressed.

Porter said she was impressed with their performance Monday and happy they had the opportunity to demonstrate their progress to their families and friends.

“Today’s performance was the best they’ve ever done, and that’s something you can’t prepare for, especially when you have parents around, because you never know what they’re going to do,” she said. “But all of the kids were rock stars.”

Amber Kneece, whose 4-year-old son Coby also participated in the play, said watching the performance was an emotional experience.

“It’s a joy just being able to see him sit on stage and say some words,” Amber said. “When he started at Project Hope, he was completely nonverbal, so it’s been such a blessing.”

Porter said she hopes to make the play an annual event.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it again next year,” she said. “And then we’ll see some of the kids who had smaller parts this year will have bigger parts next year or who were speaking less this year may speak more next year or whatever it may be. We’re just trying to grow on our progress every single year, because for every child, a milestone for them is going to be different.”

Scrooges and Angels list for 2017

The SC Sec. of State Mark Hammond announced the list Scrooges and Angels list of charitable organizations and professional fundraisers for 2017.

An Angel is recognized for spending a high percentage of their expenditures to charitable giving.

The Sec. of State’s Office says a Scrooge is designated by failure to spend a high percentage of expenditures to charitable giving for organizations. For professional fundraisers, it is a failure to remit a significant amount of gross receipts to the charity for which it solicits.

ANGELS (Alphabetical Order)

  • Chapin We Care Center, Chapin, SC – 93.4%
  • Christmas Is For Kids, Gaffney, SC – 99.7%
  • Friends of the Animal Shelter, Inc., Aiken, SC – 83.9%
  • Golden Corner Food Pantry, Seneca, SC – 91.3%
  • Help 4 Kids Florence, Florence, SC – 97.4%
  • JumpStart South Carolina, Spartanburg, SC – 91.0%
  • Meals on Wheels of Horry County, Inc., Surfside Beach, SC – 97.7%
  • Operation Sight, Mount Pleasant, SC – 87.5%
  • Project Hope Foundation, Inc., Greenville, SC – 95.4%
  • Samaritan’s Purse, Boone, NC – 87.8%
  • The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island, SC – 93.4%

SCOURGES (Alphabetical Order)

Charitable Organizations

  • American Association of State Troopers, Inc., Tallahassee, FL – 15.5%
  • American Veterans Foundation, Sarasota, FL – 8.3%
  • Childhood Leukemia Foundation, Inc., Brick, NJ – 19.6%
  • Firefighters Support Foundation Inc., Greenfield, MA – 6.8%
  • Honor Bound Foundation, Inc., Darien, CT – 29.7%
  • Melanoma International Foundation, Glenmoore, PA – 33.9%
  • Project Cure, Inc., Bradenton, FL – 24.6%
  • United Cancer Support Foundation, Knoxville, TN – 3.7%

Professional Fundraisers

  • Hal. E. Erwin, Bingo Promoter d/b/a Paradise Amusements, LLC, Chapin, SC 3.2%
  • Truck, Trailer & Equipment Sales, Inc., Summerville, SC 6.1%

“The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and has recognized Scrooges and Angels for the past 22 years,” said Secretary Hammond. “As the holidays approach, people are reminded to open their hearts and help those in need. Recognizing Scrooges and Angels not only promotes accountability and transparency to charitable donors, but also acknowledges and extends gratitude to the charities that uplift our communities. I encourage all South Carolinians to continue to give generously, but to always research charities and professional fundraisers before they give.”

Project HOPE FeatureD in Town Carolina

Hearing a child say, “Hello!” or witnessing them hug a sibling are not typically moments worthy of celebration. But these small yet profound actions motivate Susan Sachs and Lisa Lane, co-founders and executive directors of Project HOPE Foundation, to work tirelessly to support families with children on the autism spectrum.

“We have the privilege of being reminded every single day that ordinary moments can be absolutely extraordinary,” says Lane. “We see children enter our doors with no ability to connect with the world and we watch them transform into part of a classroom family. We see desperate, lost parents recover hope for the future.”

This labor of love originally began out of personal need. After doctors diagnosed their sons with autism, the two friends could not find a program in the Upstate that allowed the boys to practice skills they were learning at home in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.

Read entire article here.

Project HOPE Celebrates 20 Years

Project HOPE Foundation's 20th anniversary celebration was held August 19, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza.  The night was filled with music provided by Synergy Violins, signature drinks and great fellowship.  Project HOPE Foundation's mission is to serve individuals living with autism by helping families, opening minds, promoting inclusion and expanding potential.

Photo gallery can be found here.

Twenty Years after founding of Project HOPE Foundation, the mission continues

Lisa Lane and Susan Sachs hadn’t planned on starting a nonprofit organization and a school two decades ago, but they couldn’t find the programs needed by their young sons, newly diagnosed with autism, anywhere else.

“There’s nobody as determined as a mom with a child in need,” Sachs said. “You’ll do anything.”

So they started the Project Hope Foundation and a small preschool where children with autism and neurotypical kids attended classes side-by-side.

“It was supposed to be a temporary thing,” Sachs said.

Today, the school and its offshoot, the HOPE Foundation, serve about 300 people in the Upstate a day and are raising money to construct a permanent home in Greenville.

“It’s a mission now,” Sachs said.

Lives turned upside down

Read more here.

Murals Brighten Greenwood Campus

mural.jpg

When artist Rebecca Salter Harrison first walked into the Greenwood Project Hope campus building, she noticed a lot of empty, white walls.

Harrison came to the campus at 133 Merrywood Drive, site of the former Merrywood Elementary School, to do a commissioned art project – to create colorful murals on some of the walls.

Project Hope Foundation serves people coping with autism spectrum disorder. Established in 1996, there are now several campuses, including the one in Greenwood. 

In 2016, Project HOPE Foundation entered into a collaboration with Greenwood Genetic Center – Helix & Hope – combining science and services, and began offering center-based applied behavior analysis therapy to clients in a multi-county area.

Read entire article here.

2017 Hope Gala

Autism can sometimes be devastatingly dark ... but we are determined to bring light through our range of services. To fund these services, we rely on generous people like the 530 who attended our Evening of Hope gala on Saturday. Want to see what these dollars are important?  Take a look: