Enough is Enough


by Tina M. Cameron


Enough is enough is the hashtag I use almost everyday on different social media sites. It has to do with the articles I read about the numerous, daily, senseless, heartbreaking murders of our country’s Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). They run into danger, and they risk their lives every single day that they go to work. They are husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, moms, and dads. Some are even the furry kind. LEOs are overworked, underpaid, and even disrespected by some until those people need help.

I don’t even watch the news anymore because it is too depressing. What our world has come to? Unfortunately, it is a daily occurrence for gang violence, mass shootings, and police deaths. Police are dying either at the hand of criminals or by their own gun.

Families both blood and blue are being devastated by these tragedies. Children are losing a parent. Wives are becoming widows. Enough is enough. These brave people signed up to serve and protect, and they are being targeted. My heart breaks when I read about their stories. I’ve been told, “stop reading about it,” but it is nearly impossible to not hear about. I am a very sensitive person with a big heart, so I care about people including those who I don’t even know. I feel the family’s pain. I am also a huge dog lover, so when I hear of a K9 officer being injured or killed, my heart also breaks for them.



My brother retired last December from law enforcement, and I am so thankful he did and that in his career he was fortunate enough to make it home to his family. I have many friends in law enforcement, have dated officers, and just recently in December, I got to spend several hours with the K9 unit from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. It was amazing.

In January 2019, we already lost four police officers by gunfire, and another four officers were shot and injured recently in Houston. Two K9 officers have also been killed. This is unacceptable. Enough is enough.

I wrote about this because it weighs on my heart. If you see an officer, thank them for protecting our streets and tell them to be careful—I do both every time I meet an officer. They deserve nothing but respect from everyone for running towards danger as most would run away. They are heroes without capes.




Hooked on Giving

By Chaunte McClure

The nightly news stories on deaths, threats, thefts, kidnappings and assaults lead some to wonder: are any good people left in the world?

Of course, there are and I learned of a group of them in Columbia who are hooked on giving and they are taking their craft to Main Street.

They are the Yarnbombers of Columbia and other generous knitters and crocheters in the area who are hanging handmade hats, and scarves for the homeless and less fortunate on the “giving tree.”

Earlier this month winter accessories adorned the giving tree, but last night when I drove by, the tree was bare.

You can change that because anyone can give and anyone in need can take a free, colorful, knitted find to keep warm.

Yarnbombers 1

The “giving tree” is in front of Mast General Store on Main Street. Hang a hat, wrap a scarf, warm a heart during this season of giving.

While you’re downtown, visit the State House Christmas tree. It’s a perfect spot to pose for a Christmas card photo. The official tree lighting ceremony is November 27.

Selfishly Selfless

By: Stacy Thompson

volunteer hands

Volunteering your time, expertise and efforts benefits not only the person, animal or cause you choose, but YOU as well! I stay pretty busy with work, family time and football (see my prior blog post as I welcomed in the football season!) and sometimes it seems there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, I’ve found that my work outside of work provides so much joy and satisfaction, not to mention value beyond a paycheck, that missing it would be missing out.

  • Volunteer to meet other people – As a volunteer member of the Junior League of Columbia, I regularly have opportunities to meet other volunteers while giving back to our communities – some work outside of the home, some inside, some are Gen-X, Gen-Y and Millennials – but we all have one common focus on improving the health and well-being of children and families in the Midlands. The work we do also brings us closer to other non-profits with shared missions and opportunities to learn more about these amazing organizations that have broadened my outlook as well.
  • Volunteer to expand your skills – I volunteer monthly (and sometimes more than monthly) through the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program. At times I may counsel individuals at Transitions or assist callers in the Ask-A-Lawyer program. In the past year I’ve volunteered with the Wills Clinic, drafting wills for senior citizens – not within my area of practice, but a good way to learn a new skill while helping someone in the process.
  • Volunteer to gain purpose and perspective – Too often I get bogged down on how my day went or the stress I have in work. Volunteering takes my mind off my relatively minor troubles and gives me renewed energy to continue helping where I can and when I can. In addition, the health benefits of volunteering are widespread (not my conclusion, but certainly can be found in a number of articles, including a few on the Corporation for National and Community Service website.)
  • Volunteer to gain pride in your community – It’s easy to complain, and even easier to sit and do nothing about it. Instead, become involved in change for the better, even if it simply means taking a meal to a friend or supporting a fundraiser at a local school. Find the cause or the organization that you feel may improve our community, city, state or nation and pledge to donate your time and efforts, even if it is simply talking about their mission to a friend (or ten) or helping to organize a fundraising event. Every little bit helps and every little bit matters.

Volunteering is the ultimate selfishly selfless act – you give a lot, gain a lot and learn a lot about yourself and others.

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Happy Pre-Thanksgiving

By: Chaunte McClure

In less than a week, airports will be packed, grocery stores will be super busy, and families will be preparing a heaping helping of turkey, dressing, ham, green beans, pumpkin pies, velvety mashed potatoes and other traditional delicacies to enjoy together at the dining room table on Thanksgiving Day. Well, that’ll be the routine for most families…

There are those who are less fortunate and won’t have the privilege to prepare a meal, have dinner at someone’s home or perhaps even have a meal. The kind people of Keepin’ It Real Ministries recognized this sad reality and did something about it. Last Sunday, the organization, with the help of volunteers, served a pre-Thanksgiving dinner to more than 400 homeless men and women, and a few children, at Columbia’s Finlay Park.

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

Seeing the homeless kids really tugged at my heart and I couldn’t help myself but to get down to their level to strike a conversation. Although they had little say, it was obvious that what they had just received meant a lot to them. Their faces lit up like a child’s does on Christmas morning when he or she opens gifts, and all it took was a plate of warm food, a backpack and people willing to make it happen. That’s ministry. God wants us to be among those who are suffering so we can be ministers for Jesus Christ.

The more than two hours spent in the cold organizing, plating food and distributing backpacks were worth the smiles I saw and the expressions of gratitude I heard.

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

Whenever I participate in this type of mission, I always have to thank God. Lord, thank You for the roof I have over my head. Thank You for the food I can eat daily. To be in the presence of so many people who don’t have a place to stay really helps me appreciate the state I’m in, even if I think it’s not the best.

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

Keepin’ It Real Ministries

As we enter the holiday season, I hope you will find opportunities in your community to serve. Keepin’ It Real Ministries will serve dinner to the homeless again on Christmas Day and the ministry is in need of volunteers. Will you help? The Christmas meal will be served at the Sumter Street Transit Station on the corner of Sumter and Laurel Streets at 4 p.m. If you’re interested, give Oscar Gadsden a call at (803) 406-0724 and let him know you want to help.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Be A Couch Volunteer!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney YarbroughVolunteering is very important to me. The act of selflessly doing something to help an organization in need reaps so many rewards!  Many think that volunteering takes up a lot of time and energy, or that they’re too busy to fit it into their schedule, but there are so many ways to volunteer and help people in need, even from your own home! Here are some easy ways that you can use your time to make a difference for a non-profit or cause that you support:

  1. Share their posts on Facebook. I don’t mean just “like” the post. I mean click SHARE, write a message to your followers, and encourage them to support your cause, too! Of course, not all of them will catch on immediately, but at least you’re helping to get the word out!
  2. Find Small Organizations to Support. There are plenty of non-profits that you see regularly in the media and on the news. Many hold events, galas, fundraisers, etc… The truth is, not every non-profit can afford to do these things. Many fund their causes from their own pockets, making an event nearly impossible for their budgets. I encourage you to find a lesser-known non-profit and follow their page on Facebook. Retweet them. Interact with them on your computer at least once every few days.
  3. Donate Your “Clutter.” When you’re doing spring cleaning, instead of putting everything in the trash, separate usable items into a bin and take it directly to a non-profit. Many animal rescues need items like blankets (or old clothes that could be used for blankets), detergent, cleaning supplies, etc. Coupons are a great thing to donate, too! Many assume that donating automatically means writing a check, but not always. Gift cards are also a big help.
  4. Reach Out. Wondering what the best way is for you to help? Pick a cause you’re curious about and send them an email or a Facebook message to see what they are currently most in need of. Ask if they have an Amazon wishlist that you could view and send them a gift, or if they need help hosting an information booth in the future. 

I like to encourage everyone to support smaller non-profits and rescues. Even if that just means “Like”ing their Facebook page. Every little act makes a difference and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your couch!

SC Mission 2013

 By: Katie Austin

This August, at the State Fairgrounds, there will be a great opportunity to give back to the community. No, the fair isn’t back in town. This is something even better. Yes, even better than fair food and rides. The SC Mission 2013 is back and you won’t want to miss this volunteering opportunity!

SC Mission

The SC Mission first came to Columbia back in the summer of 2011. The event, which is sponsored by the United Way, brings together doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and many non-clinical volunteers for two days to provide medical, dental, eye and mammogram services to the public for FREE. Yes, you read correctly – FREE!  If you are reading this and need these services for yourself or family, you need to plan to be there!

Why do I keep coming back each year to volunteer?  Because the easiest thing we can donate is our time and to do so while making a difference is priceless.  This event needs volunteers (clinical and non-clinical) to bring these needed services to the public. When I volunteered back in 2011, I had no idea that my life would be forever changed. You can read about my experience here.

I hope that after reading my blog post that you want to get involved, too!  Okay, so who’s with me to volunteer for SC Mission 2013?!  (Insert loud cheering and many voices saying “I am!”)  There is still time to volunteer. I have provided registration links below, as well as a link to the SC Mission page to learn more about this event. If you go to register and there are no spots available, keep checking back as plans change and volunteers have to give their spot back.

Remember – it’s not what we have in life that makes a difference. It’s how we make a difference in life 🙂

If you have questions or want to share your past SC Mission experience, post it here.  After you participate, come back and share your story with us. We would love to hear all about it!

God bless each of you and wishing you a wonderful day!


Clinical volunteer registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6427477759/zvents

Non-clinical volunteer registration: http://scmission2013-es2.eventbrite.com/?rank=2#

SC Mission page: http://uway.org/our-work/health/sc-mission-2013

The Latest Craze: Rockin’ It For Great Causes

By: Shannon Shull

I think we can all agree that we love the opportunity to support a good cause. Bake sales, raffles, dinners and auctions are all great money-raising activities that folks can utilize to support a charity, person in need, or specific cause.  Not many things beat the feeling of knowing you contributed to helping others and helped to make a difference!

Zumbathon logo

The latest money-raising craze is the rockin’ fitness dance party known as the Zumbathon. Whether or not you even know what Zumba is, chances are you’ve heard of or seen the word “Zumbathon.”  They are all over the place these days!  Practically everywhere you go, you see or hear of another Zumbathon.  So what exactly is a Zumbathon?

A Zumbathon charity event is a Zumba Fitness-Party that is open to the public and raises funds and awareness for a selected charity (an organization, individual or community in need). These events can only be hosted by licensed Zumba Instructors who have been granted approval by Zumba Fitness, LLC.

So why are Zumbathons so popular? Well, who doesn’t like the combination of contributing to their health and supporting a good cause? And who doesn’t love a rockin’ dance party?! There’s a reason why Zumba Fitness has become such an international fitness hit… because IT’S FUN! So the idea of having a dance party to raise money is a genius move, if you ask me. Every element of a Zumbathon is doing good for the people involved – raising money, promoting awareness, increasing heart rates for good health, decreasing pounds and inches, and creating smiles by bringing people together. What’s not to love!?

MDA Zumbathon

As a licensed Zumba Instructor, it is a great honor to be a part of something so all-around positive. I recently enjoyed hosting my first Zumbathon and it was a truly amazing experience. After getting approval from Zumba Fitness, LLC, I teamed up with our fabulous sponsor, Gold’s Gym, and we raised money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. 100% of the proceeds went to the MDA. With support and planning help from Tammy Wallace with the MDA, David Spence with Gold’s Gym and my wonderful aunt, Susan McPherson, with the Greater Columbia Chamber, we were able to host the Midlands’ first Zumbathon to offer both Aqua and Land Zumba! That’s right, not only did we dance in the studio, we danced in the pool! Our Zumba dance party created smiles, worked muscles, and, best of all, raised money for an awesome charity.

My Mom & Aunt ready for the Zumbathon Dance Party!

So if you love to dance, love a rockin’ party and love to do good for people and your community, a Zumbathon is the way to go!

Shannon & David Making a Muscle for the MDA at our Zumbathon

Making a muscle with the Gold's Gym Team for the MDA Zumbathon