Installing a security system is a high priority for a fledgling Rock Hill community center aimed at helping York County's most down-and-out residents.
But despite two burglaries in the past two months, the leaders of Renew Our Community - known as "The ROC" - have other pressing goals.
One is to tap the community for temporary jobs that can provide immediate money and "dignity of work" for those who need it, said Dale Dove, a Rock Hill adoption attorney and the impetus behind The ROC.
Dove is looking for people in the community - businesses, individuals or churches - who have work to offer those in need, who would report to work on supervised teams. Those jobs could include yard work, window washing or cleaning.
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Dove is looking for businesses willing to contract out work, from bagging mulch or assembling products, jobs that could help workers who are difficult to employ gain valuable experience.
His goals also include finding groups of people who already come together regularly - for work, for example - and transform them into "hope teams" willing to help guide people toward success in their lives. While the team helps the person in need, the team members, who invest in the person's success, "start seeing people that they haven't seen before."
His vision is a holistic approach to "renewing York County," he said.
The center, which quietly opened around Thanksgiving, has been actively recruiting volunteers.
On Monday, 17 "guests" came to the center where Internet access and volunteers were available to help them research job opportunities or find other community assistance. A drug and alcohol counselor holds regular office hours.
Providing transportation for people in need has been a big focus too, and one that's coming along, Dove said, adding that the center gave 70 rides last month. He's also in discussions for a bicycle drive that would provide transportation to clients who earn the bicycles through work.
The basics of transportation and finding a job can be difficult obstacles, especially for people who have criminal backgrounds, Dove said.
The ROC is located in the former Good Kia building at the corner of Dave Lyle Boulevard and White Street. It was burglarized last month and then again Saturday.
Security cameras and an alarm system would make good additions, said Dove, standing next to the twice-shattered glass door. A cage now secures the air-conditioning unit, which has been vandalized twice for copper, he said.
"It's just part of what you do," Dove said.
Sometime between Saturday and Sunday, someone broke in and attempted to steal a television and moved some computers, but nothing was actually stolen, Rock Hill Police records show.
The burglars were probably "looking for something to use to get money," he said.
The burglaries at The ROC are examples of why The ROC exists, Dove said, adding that drug addiction, job loss and other difficulties can lead people into depression and toward making the wrong choices.
Dove said whoever did it is exactly who's welcome at the center.
"It's not what you want, but you know it's desperate times," he said. "You want to keep a positive tone. Thankfully, nothing was messed up and nobody was hurt."
Dove tells everyone about his ideas and is looking for a few "champions" to bring their own big ideas into the fold, he said.
Some of those ideas might be difficult or risky, he said, but that's OK.
"It's important enough to just take a chance on it."
Want to help?
Contact The ROC at 803-328-0003 or email Dale Dove at ddove@RenewOC.org
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily