School is out for summer, but activity is just heating up for one local group aimed at giving students a different kind of break.
Into its third year, Lake Wylie/Clover Mayday Project is looking to expand and include the York School District as well as Clover. The group is working with Winthrop University and York Technical College to provide opportunities for students post graduation. They’re getting results that surprise even them. And, they feel, that may surprise a good many people in Lake Wylie.
“There’s a lot of people that still, even though we’re going into our third year, they say what is Mayday?” said board member Jay Moore. “That’s our biggest challenge now.”
Mayday began when several friends heard about, at the time, 42 homeless children in the Clover School District. By the time they could put a benefit together eight months later, there were 74.
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“We’re just a bunch of people who got together and saw there was a problem,” said board member R.J. Phillips.
Almost the entire group is its five board members. There’s no office. They meet monthly at Bagel Boat. The group’s lone annual fundraiser is a golf tournament at River Hills Country Club, but it’s a sizable one. Last fall it netted $23,000.
To date the group has provided gas cards to transport children, gift cards for school supplies and clothes, food through the district’s Pack the Back program and fieldtrip tours of Winthrop and York Tech. Three of the students enrolled at one of those schools after graduating from Clover High School.
“They’re smart, they just don’t have the opportunities,” Moore said.
Partnerships already are in place with the York County Children’s Attention Home, York Place, Tender Hearts, Shoes of Hope and Early Learning Partnership of York County. Work is just beginning to aid the summer remedial program in York, a partnership group members hope will grow into something like what they’ve been doing in Clover.
“We primarily focus on homeless kids,” Phillips said. “We started at Clover High School and we’ve branched out to York. That is our mindset, to help the kids get to where they can support themselves and be an asset to the community.”
All while planning for the lone income source the group has, the fall tournament. Sponsor recruitment and retention is underway, and there’s a call out for golfers. Members hope the club and sponsors will help get the word out and sell out the event for the third straight year.
When asked how to help, the group uses the latest figure for homeless students – 96 this school year, per the Clover district – and help finds its way to them
“The number always comes up front,” Moore said.