Vector Foundation

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The VECTOR Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help develop and fund innovative programs at the SC Department of Juvenile Justice.  The Foundation provides quality, consistent volunteer services to meet an abundance of needs.  Our ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the rate at which young people return to DJJ after leaving the Juvenile Justice System.

Working closely with DJJ Administrators and staff to achieve common goals, VECTOR Members strive to provide quality training, rehabilitation and educational opportunities to these children from all over South Carolina who are in great need of assistance in bettering themselves.  Each year VECTOR funds and staffs programs that have seen many young lives changed for the better.

As passionate as we are about its purpose, it is not possible for those of us involved in VECTOR to fund all of this work.  We need help from volunteers and from donors – including donors of supplies - to achieve all that VECTOR aims to accomplish in lives of these troubled young people.  We each have a lot on our plate – but so do these youths.  Each of them is at-risk for remaining part of the Juvenile Justice system if we are not able to find the means to change their lives. 

For example, the Young Craftsman/Young Craftswoman program reaches about 100 young offenders each year.  With the guidance of their volunteer mentors, these youths improve their reading and math skills while building Adirondack chairs, the sale of which contributes to restitution funds.  These young people are both learning to cooperate with others and to take pride in their personal achievements.  While they build chairs they are also developing up skills that will be invaluable to them after they leave DJJ.

Programs supported by VECTOR improve lives in a variety of ways: they learn sewing skills while producing items useful on the Broad River Road Campus and they learn to refurbish computers provided to children in foster care while gaining skills that are useful in the work world. VECTOR provides numerous opportunities for therapy to troubled teens, including sponsoring the first-of-its-kind Scouting troop “behind the fence”.  Finally, from the beginning we have provided scholarships for youths who complete their time at DJJ and want to continue their education by attending colleges or universities in the state.

VECTOR’s efforts are targeted to addressing the four discouragements common to young people who wind up in DJJ care:

·        The Discouragement of Alienation – We recruit mentors who replace the gangs and false friends used to fill the void left by inconsistent or missing family ties.

·        The Discouragement of Failure – We provide chances for these children to become involved in new activities, gain new skills and become successful.

·        The Discouragement of Irresponsibility – Our volunteers create a base of on-going interaction that allows these young people to develop a sense of secure autonomy and a personal responsibility we hope will follow them once they return home.

·        The Discouragement of Selfishness – VECTOR mentors and volunteers nourish the natural desire of children to help and care for others so that they develop a sense of their own value to their communities.

Our efforts extend beyond the direct support of these children to the adults who work with these children behind the fence and in their home communities.  In 2005 VECTOR began by offering a scholarship for a DJJ Corrections Officer going back to school to learn more about their profession.  This year we added a couple of scholarships which opens the support to include DJJ staff in communities around the state.

I hope that you will be able to support our efforts and this wonderful organization.  Please contact us for more information about VECTOR programs and the children they benefit.  You may send contributions to VECTOR Foundation at the address below. 

We thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting our work.



Programs Supported by VECTOR Foundation and its Volunteers



Young Craftsmen and Young Craftswomen

These programs reach about 100 young offenders each year.  With the guidance of volunteer mentors, participating youths can improve their reading and math skills while building Adirondack chairs.  The chairs are then sold to provide restitution funds and funds to replenish supplies for more chairs.  Young Craftsmen/Craftswomen are learning both to cooperate with others and to take pride in their personal achievements.  While they build chairs they are also developing up skills that will be invaluable to them after they leave DJJ.

Computer Buddies

This VECTOR-sponsored program refurbishes donated computers which are provided free to children in the foster-care system, to former DJJ youth who are college bound and to create computer labs within the DJJ system.  Participation in the Computer Buddies program is by application and interview only and participants are treated as they will likely be treated within any employment situation they may face in the future.  They are taught useable computer-related and business skills, are given real and meaningful projects to complete and are held accountable for attendance and behavior.

Sewing Program

VECTOR provided two commercial-grade sewing machines for use at DJJ.  Girls and boys alike learn practical skills that allow them to create items useful to everyone at DJJ (gym bags, totes, curtains and clothing) while gaining personally useful skills (reading patterns, attention to detail, planning and patience) for the future.

Tile Program

A new program has been introduced to the DJJ population: tile-making.  A talented tile artist is leading a group of young people through the tile making process from which come decorative and useful tiles.  The independence and achievement experienced by program participants carries over into their behavior and school work.

Equine Program

VECTOR Foundation funding helps DJJ bring therapeutic horses and riding instructors to the Broad River Road Campus. For young people facing emotional or mental challenges, the discipline, companionship, and routine of the partnership between horse and rider helps promote self-esteem, patience, and confidence. Virtually all participants, with or without special challenges, find that horseback riding fosters independence, and provides mental, physical, and emotional rewards.

 Reintegration Support for Young Offenders

SC DJJ received a grant from the US department of Justice to develop a program that creates a reintegration team consisting of staff from state agencies who have traditionally provided services independently from each other and community volunteers who are trained to provide youth and family mentoring.  This team is created to plan for aftercare from the moment a young person is placed into the DJJ system and works to ensure that both the child and the family are cared for.  VECTOR volunteers are members of the reintegration team and the Foundation helps provide furnishings and fixtures when housing has been acquired so that young people in need have the ability to successfully live independently.

Support for Students going to Higher Education

The Foundation has traditionally offered scholarship support to young people leaving the DJJ community and pursuing their post-secondary education.  VECTOR has also provided funds for books and supplies.

Scholarships for Advanced Studies for DJJ Staff

In 2005 VECTOR offered its first scholarship for Juvenile Corrections Officers at DJJ pursuing four-year degrees and advanced degrees in counseling and youth-related social services.  In 2006 VECTOR expanded the program to include social workers and community staff within DJJ.  The Foundation offers up to three competitive scholarships that will reimburse recipients for education expenses of $1,000.




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Last modified: 04/09/07