July 16, 2014
Grand Opening in Aiken!
Today was the day, and we had a great turnout at Midlands Fatherhood Coalition's new office in Aiken.
Above, you see Katie Morgan of DSS, our own Pat Littlejohn, Aiken City Councilwoman Gail Diggs and Angela McDuffie of Midlands Fatherhood working together to cut the ribbon, to the applause of the assembled crowd.
Among those attending the event were a couple of our fathers in the local program, most of the Midlands and Center staffs, various local officials and community leaders, and a reporter from The Aiken Standard.
The new office, located at 1476 Columbia Highway North in Aiken, has been operating in the community since April, and currently has 24 participants in its programs. Its operating hours are 8:30-5 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 11-7:30 on Thursdays.
The Coalition is expanding into Aiken in response to local agencies and officials who saw the need for its services in the community.
Program Specialist Mike Croft, who runs the office along with Employment Opportunity Developer Darrell Payne, said there has been "a lot of interest" in the new office's services. "Obviously, there is a need in Aiken" for the kinds of fatherhood services the Coalition provides. He said the community has been "very accommodating" in helping the fatherhood program get up and running.
This expansion of the Coalition's services has been made possible by the support of a number of partners, including the South Carolina Department of Social Services, the Aiken County School District's Adult Education department, Family Court, SC Works of Lower Savannah, the Salvation Army, and Aiken city and county governments.
"Strengthening fathers and families is key to ensuring the well-being of children," said Amber Gillum, Acting State Director of DSS. "Children do better when both parents are involved in their lives, providing both financial and emotional support as they are growing into the adults they will become."
Below are some more images from the celebration.