Organization aims to help community

PICKENS — Arise From The Ashes – Community Development Corporation (AFTA-CDC) was founded a year ago by a group of people invested in Pickens and people within it.

The vision of AFTA-CDC is a holistic approach to supporting and empowering the whole person and family. This approach believes that any part of a person’s whole being that is ignored creates a weakness that can lead to failure.

AFTA-CDC is to be a bridge from dependence to independence for the individual and family. This program is a partnership of support with the participants versus another program that enables, foster’s dependence or becomes a lifelong crutch. The ultimate goal is to ignite hope, inspire dreams and assist them in walking with clear steps and a support system that will hold them accountable. This program will support those that dare to break the dysfunctional family or personal cycles that have proven to be less than productive in their lives.

AFTA-CDC’s mission is “To provide partnership, guidance and support services to families and individuals within the community by removing barriers that hinder their ability to move from dependence to independence and to revitalize a community by igniting hope, structuring goals and nurturing dreams.”

Many programs are planned to be launched to support the current successful organizations and programs that operate within Pickens County under limitations and restrictions. The gaps that the programs of AFTA-CDC will fill will decrease the recidivism rate within the community and county as a whole, decrease the ever increasing rate of public assistance programs, build businesses within this community, decrease the failure and dropout rates in schools, create programs that keep kids off the streets, strengthen families, and so much more.

AFTA-CDC launched its “Hands On Youth” Volunteer Program last summer, with great success motivating 12 to 15 youth ages 8 to 16 to pay it forward. They volunteered three hours a day, three days a week to three different causes — Palmetto Assisted Living Facility, Meals on Wheels and Pickens Community. AFTA-CDC partnered with the Young Democrats Organization to host a voters drive prior to the local elections.

The programs that AFTA-CDC are scheduled to launch in 2016 are a variety of Support Groups including a women’s, men’s and youth group along with a three-tier mentoring program, educational programs that include free tutoring, free information speaker sessions, affordable After School Programs that are interest based and an affordable Summer Program that includes Reading, Activities, Volunteering and Sport Camps. The organization has many upcoming free community events, including a Youth Praise Explosion on Jan. 9, Community Block Party on Jan. 30, Theatre Play “The Devil’s Trial” on Feb. 28 and Taking Back Our Street Rally in March against drugs, crime and violence.