A new place to play for Cainhoy kids in need
Children in Huger received a new playground just in time for the holidays! The Baldwin Carson Community Outreach Center, a satellite facility of non-profit East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO), was the beneficiary of the special gift completed last month by local volunteers.
Rotary Club of Daniel Island member Bill Stevens was one of the participants who helped plan and build the play structure.
“When Baldwin Carson opened last year, a few of us got together and thought, wouldn’t it be nice to give the kids a place to play while the adults are getting the training or help they need at the center?” remembers Stevens.
“We asked some of the residents served by ECCO to pick the design, while Chris Hamil of the DIPOA came up with a plan to put down a border and woodchips for safety.”
The funding for the project came in equal parts from the Daniel Island Rotary Club and Daniel Island Community Fund. Daniel Island resident Ed Heavey served as the general foreman of the project while Rotary Club members Tom and Pat Richards help manage the details.
The Huger area had remained isolated from local support agencies, with Moncks Corner and Mount Pleasant both 20 miles away, until the construction of the Baldwin Carson Center in 2015.
After ECCO found that almost 20 percent of its clients lived in the Cainhoy/Wando/Huger area, the organization realized the great need for medical and dental care, home repair, education classes, and job assistance in this rural community.
In 2014, ECCO partnered with local and community sponsors, including the Daniel Island Community Fund, Christ Our King Catholic Church, Benefitfocus, Nucor Steel, Google, BP, and the Wando-Huger Community Fund of Coastal Community Foundation of SC, to build the center and fund its first few years of operation.
The Baldwin Carson building hosts ECCO’s medical, dental and health education programs, as well as skills training and human services. The center offers Huger residents access to prescription assistance, medical health information and medical and dental screenings, with medical referrals via a nurse practitioner from MUSC’s College of Nursing. Local IT and business professionals assist with computer and home budgeting classes while staffing the job resource center. Complimentary Internet access is provided to all center visitors.
ECCO’s mission is to provide safety net services to our low-income neighbors, while empowering them to create better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. The organization strives to eliminate poverty in the East Cooper region, and focuses on three main program areas: basic needs, health services, and empowerment and education. More than 4,500 households annually receive assistance for food, clothing, household goods, and financial aid, along with access to dental and medical care, treatment for chronic diseases, prescription assistance, health education, counseling, financial literacy classes, savings programs, job readiness training, and a range of specialized employment services.
For more information about the centers or to volunteer, please visit www.ECCOcharleston.org.