HLG Gives: The Dream Center
Harris gives each employee a full eight-hour day to complete volunteer work of their choosing. Harris Local Government (HLG) kicked off our summer of giving by sharing stories and photos of how we spent our volunteer hours. Maria Bocker, director of R&D/support services, led a volunteer group from HLG’s Easley, South Carolina, office to The Dream Center for painting, cleaning and landscaping. Read on to learn more:
The Dream Center offers emergency assistance to those in crisis. It includes “Opportunity Village,” a village of 23 tiny homes and 10 transitional houses that shelter homeless women and children. Throughout the year, residents work on an individualized success plan for themselves and each of their children, with help from their case manager, financial coach and care team that propel them toward achieving their goals of stability and independence. Upon graduation from the program, residents are working, have reliable transportation, savings and are offered the opportunity to enter the Bridge program. Bridge residents live in transitional housing for another year while working and maintaining a connection with the Opportunity Village team.
Our volunteer group got to work both inside and out. Our outside team helped beautify the property with landscaping maintenance, such as trimming bushes, de-weeding, planting flowers, etc. Our inside team got their hands dirty scrubbing toilets, rolling paint on walls and attending to detailed trim work.
“Our volunteer day at the Dream Center was such an eye-opening and rewarding experience. From the moment we walked in the door until the end of the day, the staff and residents seemed to serve us. It was shocking to learn how many people in our community, especially children, do not have their basic needs met. It was a long and exhausting day, but oh so rewarding. Our group left with happy hearts and smiles on our faces!” said Maria Bocker.
Another set of HLG volunteers worked at the Dream Center’s “Santa Shoppe,” a referral-based program that allows qualifying parents in need to earn Christmas gifts for their children, instead of depending on organizations that provide gifts through one-way giving. Families needing Christmas assistance are referred by their child’s school. Parents are then required to attend free classes to earn a shopping voucher. Class topics include budgeting, parenting, Bible study, resume writing, health & wellness, healthy relationships & self-esteem. The Dream Center also provides Santa Shoppe credit for attendance at pre-approved school family literacy nights, parent nights or parenting classes offered by Title One schools. Upon completion of required classes, parents make an appointment to shop in the beautiful Christmas store stocked with popular new toys and gifts complete with a gift wrapping area.
Stay tuned for more volunteer stories!