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ECFN NETWORK News…

Fix It! has been working with families in need for nearly 7 years and each year we add more and more to our ‘completed job list’.  In the last few months, we have worked on many different homes and have provided volunteer work on Ramp Repair or Builds, fixing plumbing and electrical, window repair and many others.

The one type of work that has been beyond ours and many other nonprofits scope is fixing roofs.  This is a dilemma as many times we cannot fix the interior until the roof has been fixed.  One of our partners, Operation Home, does work on roofs but the ‘to-do’ list is long and finding roofers in this robust building economy is a challenge.

ECFN is working this issue as well and developed a new initiative called the Roofing Project.  Led by Bob Dunn, a member of ECFN’s board and President of Hill Construction, Fix It! will build 2 complete roofs this year and work on a methodology to duplicate the program and make more efficient so that we can do many, many more.  A community solution to a community problem.

Also, Fix It! purchased a portable ramp (wheelchair or access ramp) to serve people who have access needs on a short term basis.  The idea is that we can use the portable ramp and re-use if/when the ramp is no longer needed.  Ramps continue to be one of our most popular Fix It! projects.  Many thanks to Leonard Lindstrom and Tim Mellichamp for leading Fix It! Ramp Build Teams!

I-Beam completed its 7th year and the program continues to show value in helping young at risk children with reading and school.  We are also partnering with the Charleston County School District (CCSD) to dig deeper on metrics to see how we are affecting children and to see where we may need improve the program.  This is a big step in partnering more with each school and the CCSD.

The new Carolina Park Elementary School is also opening in the fall and the principal there wants I-Beam to start right away as he has seen the positive effects I-Beam has on the children we serve.  We have never let a child go without a mentor since the program started and don’t intend to this fall either so we hope to increase our mentor volunteer roster for the fall.  Charles Pinckney and St. James Santee will be in their 4th year which means all I-Beam grades (grades 2-5) will be served.  This will bring 7 schools with I-Beam in each grade that we offer.

As summer approaches, so does summer learning loss.  Camp I-Beam will start its 3rd year at the Miriam Brown Center in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village.  Camp I-Beam will continue to focus on keeping children engaged in reading and thought to help lessen summer learning loss so that they are better prepared for the fall.  The program has gone so well, we will continue with our expansion plan and include not only the children at the Miriam Brown Center, but will also include children who attend both Remley’s Point Community Center and Greenhill Community Centers.


  1. I-Beam. We are looking for a faith group to ‘sponsor’ 2 schools;  Belle Hall Elementary School and the new Carolina Park Elementary School.  This basically means that the church will be the ‘official’ sponsor of the school and appoint a person to spearhead recruitment and be the general liaison between I-Beam and the school.  Contact Sharon Barnett for more information.
  2. Camp I-Beam. If anyone is looking for that one on one work with a child, then Camp I-Beam could use you.  We are looking for adults and older teens(aged 16 and up) to be volunteers to offer one on one support for the program during the month of June –  Tuesdays thru Thursdays between 12:00 and 4:00 pm – at the Miriam Brown Center in the old village.
  3. Fix It!. As always, more bodies means less work.   Funding is also very important—even though it is volunteers that do the work, costs for material remains high.  Please think of us if you have groups that may be interested in contributing.

The East Cooper Faith Network (ECFN) is a collaborative NETWORK of faith, charitable, and governmental organizations East of the Cooper.  Our belief is that we can DO MORE and DO BETTER if we work in harmony to serve our collective community.  Through collaborations we serve the community more comprehensively with coordinated resources and focused communication — all the while decreasing redundant efforts.


If you have any questions or would like to know more about the East Cooper Faith Network, 

please contact Thom Gault via email or phone at 843-972-7566.

 

 

 

ECFN’s Fix It! hosting a collaborative of Nonprofits to help with Affordable Housing

 You might think that solving affordable housing is an insurmountable task.  Well, it may be to a degree.  But making a dent with this big issue in the East Cooper is possible if you think – thrifty.  Much of the discussion with affordable housing focuses on making housing more affordable to incomes less than the medium income of residents in Mt. Pleasant.  That is Great!  But what about those who are already living in a home that is unsafe or unhealthy and in dire need of repair, such as a new roof, but cannot afford it?  These housing issues are just as important.

The East Cooper Faith Network (ECFN) hosted several area nonprofits and Mount Pleasant officials and committee members recently to discuss development of a ‘small plan’ to help with this issue.  That is, be thrifty by making current homes that may be unsafe due to poor roofing or other issues, safe again by fixing and repairing them to a state that is livable.

These nonprofits; ECCO, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, St. Vincent DePaul, Operation Home, United Methodist Church’s ET (Elderly Transportable Housing) and members of the Town of Mt. Pleasant Affordable Housing Task Force met, and with the help of David McNair of McNair and Associates (a facilitator), created a clear objective; To collectively work together to help provide safe and healthy living conditions in our community where substandard situations exist.  By doing this, community members can work together to find a community solution to a community problem.

“We are so very fortunate and blessed to have the volunteer members of the East Cooper Faith Network (ECFN) in our community working collaboratively with other groups to enhance the quality of lives for members of our community that need a little extra help in repairing and maintaining a safe livable home. This is one of the many reasons that make Mt Pleasant the place that we call home and love.” – Mark Smith, Mt Pleasant Town Councilman.

Once the objective was identified, the group worked together to form some ideas for action.  Those include creating a public awareness campaign, enrolling community commercial construction and developers for support to work with local nonprofits, and working with local and national representatives to work on regulatory and planning.  Working together, we can find solutions to any problem and this one is not any different.  By putting our hearts and our minds together, there is little we cannot achieve.

Picture:  Mark Smith, Town of Mt. Pleasant Councilman

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can’t do what we do without Volunteers Like YOU

Meet Leonard!

If you met Leonard, you would walk away feeling that you just met a really nice guy.  Like many people in Mt. Pleasant or the East Cooper, he isn’t a native but calls Mt. Pleasant his home now.  Leonard and his wife moved from West Virginia in 2004 on a work move and have enjoyed living here and working for Ingevity ever since.

Leonard and his wife are charter members of the Palmetto Presbyterian Church (at Carolina Park), and he has been active there for many years.  Since their children are now grown, being active in supporting the community and his church came natural.  From being on the church session, to missions and ushering, you can say serving is in his blood.   Shortly after Fix It! was founded, he heard of the mission that Fix It! was on and thought his talents could be used there.  An engineer by trade, this made for a good fit as many of the projects need that sort of vision in either design or execution.

Leonard felt that access ramps would be a great way to give back to his community as ramps so often are life changing (see page 4 article ‘Access gives a Lift’).    He and his team from Palmetto Presbyterian became a ‘go to’ squad when a ramp needed building and you could say they have mastered the art of giving access to those in need.  Ramps gives so much more than access; it gives those who need it a better way of life!

Thank you to Leonard, his team and all the Fix It! members who are making a positive impact in the lives of people here in the East Cooper!